Conversations centered on healing from the Covid-19 pandemic have taken center stage in many educator circles. All learners have had to figure out how to come back together after a lengthy separation. Learning spaces look very different as social distancing measures are practiced. Even though spaces look different, students and teachers are finding ways to create classroom community and bring healing to families through learning.
Finding healing through learning develops resilience and healthy communities. Research shows that humans learn best through times of engagement and times of rest. This holds true for adults and children. This rhythm is also vital for creativity and curiosity. Combining creativity and curiosity through engagement allows children to chase after their dreams of becoming literate. Literate children flourish and create healthy communities.
One example of this can be seen at Friendship Central School. Students, faculty, staff, parents, and community workers engaged in a community reading of the book The One and Only Ivan, by Katherine Applegate, throughout the month of March 2021. Partnering with Read to Them, the school participated in the One School, One Book program. Children and families created several projects that showed their understanding of the book. Staff frequently participated by reading aloud to students. Middle school students completed project showcases while high school students competed in a door-decorating contest. The excitement throughout the building and the community lifted spirits and opened spaces for unity among the Friendship Community.
By: Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
Continuing our push to create more relevant and timely resources, we are putting many more kits on the booking system. The kits we created in January have been flying out of the warehouse and we are doing our best to keep up with the demand. We have several areas of need on which we are focusing, including play-based learning, social emotional learning, movement and balance, and fairy tales.
For play-based learning, we’ve added Magna-Tiles (teaching spatial relationships, math, logic, and problem-solving through creative building), foam “wooden” lumber pieces, multi-cultural block play family sets, and friends with diverse abilities posable play sets.
Social Emotional Learning kits are working their way onto our warehouse shelves. We’ve started by adding Grab and Write SEL Prompts for Grades K-2, and 3-5. Great for daily writing or group conversations, the cards cover topics such as friendship & teamwork, self-control and more.
For movement and balance, River Stones are now available. They are designed to improve coordination and balance. Jumping or stepping from stone to stone develops a child's confidence in their ability to judge distances and are a great sensory and gross motor activity. We also now have scarves and ribbons movement sets.
Creating a bridge between STEM and ELA, Fairy Tales Problem Solving Kits are available to book, including Rapunzel, The Gingerbread Man, and Little Red Riding Hood. In addition, we have the Happy Architect Fairy Tales kit, wherein creative play and storytelling are all rolled into a beautiful set of wooden toys.
LET’S BOOK SOME KITS!!!! Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we add more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
The current school year can be considered anything but traditional and causes some to look forward to a time when things can go back to ‘normal’. Others see the current situation and departure from ‘normal’ as a way to continue personal growth and development regardless of the situation and demonstrate the ability to be innovative and responsive to any situation. One such individual is Andover High School Social Studies teacher Harold Brown. Having lived what some would consider a non-traditional life, Mr. Brown is well prepared to face challenges head on and accomplish the mission of educating his students regardless of the time, place, setting, or circumstances.
The ability to both recognize and respond to present situations is a hallmark of being able to succeed, and Mr. Brown possesses this ability in abundance. Maybe the awareness to positively respond and be dedicated to improvement is the result of the experiences he has had during his life. Growing up in a military family and contributing twenty years of his own life to military service, combined with almost two decades of teaching in both parochial and public schools, have enabled Mr. Brown to understand what it takes to adapt to situations and continue to push towards a clear objective. Regardless of where his experiences have come from, they have equipped him to be prepared for the current state of education today. His continual desire for personal learning and his attendance of multiple professional development opportunities are indicative of the growth mindset and the thirst for knowledge that Mr. Brown possesses and works each day to instill in his students. His teaching style is a true manifestation of his personal belief that one should go into education to enjoy the subject matter and his passion for history is easily recognized and displayed throughout his classroom. His willingness to learn things has been evident this year as he has worked to adapt his instruction in many ways, whether it be incorporating the use of Breakout rooms or using communication and chat platforms to keep his students learning and engaged. No matter the application or format he is, always seeking ways to help his students develop their skills while connecting to the content.
While this year has been anything but typical and has been subjected to so much change and expression of opposing viewpoints on multiple topics, the focus Mr. Brown has on preparing students for achievement and increasing their learning has not changed and remains a constant regardless of instructional model or format. This year may be viewed as a blessing since it has provided so much material and sources that can be examined for reliability, bias, and propaganda and given Mr. Brown the opportunity to be innovative and utilize various technologies to showcase to students the many aspects of the world in which they live. For a social studies teacher there is no better situation and circumstances than those which polarize our society providing opportunities to present students with the chance to learn the most desirable and pursued objective of Mr. Brown, for students to think for themselves!
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Do you teach 4th-12th graders that struggle to meet the reading and writing demands in your classroom?
“Adolescent literacy encompasses the skills that must be taught to all students so they can meet increasingly challenging reading and writing demands as they move through the upper grades (i.e., comprehension, vocabulary, writing skills), as well as what needs to be done for those students who fall behind who may need intervention instruction in foundational literacy skills (i.e., decoding and fluency).” https://keystoliteracy.com/blog/adolescent-literacy/
Click on the links below to find strategies that can be used across content areas:
● Build Background Knowledge-○ http://www.adlit.org/article/19865/
“Background knowledge is essential to the comprehension of more difficult text, and reading easy nonfiction that explains the critical concepts is an ideal way to expose all students to the essential background knowledge they need to understand their textbooks.” http://www.adlit.org/article/19865/
● Explicit Vocabulary Instruction-
“...researchers argue that the most common approach to teaching vocabulary — providing students with a word list on Monday then quizzing them on Friday — doesn't work. Kids don't really learn and remember words unless they see them many times in print, use them many times in their classroom discussions and written texts, and continue to see, hear, and use them subsequently.” http://www.adlit.org/adlit_101/improving_literacy_instruction_in_your_school/vocabulary/
● Discussion Protocols-
“Research demonstrates that oral communication in the classroom is an important precursor to both reading fluency and comprehension, yet it is often neglected in secondary schools (Horowitz, 2007). According to classroom observational studies, students are often silent in class (Nystrand&Duffy,2003). http://www.adlit.org/adlit_101/improving_literacy_instruction_in_your_school/vocabulary/
● Choral Reading-
“Some research has begun to show that fluency building—and by extension lessons and strategies for prosody, including choral reading—are also effective with high school students (e.g., Kuhn & Schwanenflugel, 2019; Paige et al., 2012; Rasinski et al., 2005).”https://www.timrasinski.com/presentations/Choral_Reading_Prosody_Secondary_Classroom.pdf
For additional strategies or questions, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org
By: Jessica Rose, CA BOCES Professional Development
At the sudden onset of school closures, in March of 2020, as fundamental changes in our education systems were taking place, partnerships with families, parents and caregivers shifted into unprecedented territory. Parents and caregivers, quickly stepped into the role of teacher, counselor, mediator, coach, to name a few, however, above all else, they stepped into the role of an essential partner with their child’s school district. Engaging parents became a top priority for schools across the nation, and around the world.
For the first time, parents had a front row seat in their child(ren)’s classroom. Establishing and engaging relationships with parents, was no longer an option, it was a necessity. Parents were feeling vulnerable, teachers were feeling vulnerable, many, were uncomfortable in their new and necessary partnership. The discomfort, uncertainty and vulnerability proved to be the perfect recipe for new opportunities. One of the opportunities, included a new regional model of parent/caregiver support and education, now known as “Parent University.”
Parent University was intentionally designed with stakeholders across the region to align the needs of parents and caregivers, as well as those of our regional school districts. Collaborative leadership has been a guiding force throughout the process of drafting developing, revising and implementing Parent University. The Community Schools Advisory Committee spent months creating and revising a model that would provide a resource for school districts to offer to the parents and caregivers within their respective communities. In addition, many regional educators, community partners and local universities have come forward as partners in leading and facilitating monthly sessions.
The model is set up as a series of monthly, 1-hour sessions in the evening, via zoom. Sessions began in January of 2021, and will run through June, as the school year comes to an end. To date, there have been three sessions, with each passing month the participant registration and participation has steadily grown. Participants have included regional educators & administrators, parents, grandparents, foster parents and community partners.
If your district is interested in sharing this resource with their community or looking to expand on their own family engagement initiatives, please feel free to reach out the Community Schools Coordinator, Katie Mendell, at email@example.com for more information.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
In my October 2020 blog post I shared in detail about the Question Formulation Technique (QFT), a process that can greatly improve your student's ability to ask more, high quality questions. The QFT is simply one way to help engage students more deeply and tap into their natural, intrinsic curiosity. A stunning fact about students and asking questions is that the average preschooler can ask 400-500 questions per day while the average high school student asks only 1-2. This begs the questions, what happens to a student's curiosity as they go through school? Shouldn’t school be highly engaging and spark a student's interest resulting in them becoming more curious about the world around them? Why then do students ask significantly fewer questions, a sign of curiosity, as they age?
Every student possesses an intrinsic curiosity that fuels their desire to learn. As educators, it is our job to help tap into that curiosity in order to give our students the most meaningful educational experience possible. When students in our class seem uninterested, unmotivated, or fail to complete work because they just don’t feel like it, that is our cue that whatever we are currently doing instructionally is not working for these students. Instead of casting blame on the student and labeling them as lazy, we should aim to design more meaningful instruction, one that aims to engage students more.
For students to be engaged in our classrooms on a cognitive level, students must first be engaged on an emotional (sometimes referred to as “affective”) and behavioral level. In other words, students must feel as if their needs outside of the classroom have been met before they are capable of fully engaging in their academics. Building relationships and trust with our students is as critical in classroom instruction as is developing and consistently maintaining our classroom rules and procedures.
A bonus of the relationship building process is getting to know about our students interests and how they can be applied in our classroom instruction. Incorporating student interests in our daily instruction is a proven way of increasing student engagement levels in the classroom. For instance, when we know our students participate in certain sports, we can incorporate statistics from these sports into a math or science lesson. Or if a student participates in some civic engagement club or afterschool activity, we can incorporate their experiences into a writing task. These sorts of tasks also provide opportunities to give students a more “real-world” experience. When students feel as if the lesson has been catered to their interests, they’re more likely to participate.
Don’t fear taking the necessary time to develop and maintain relationships with your students. Due to the demands of state assessments and the sheer volume of content expected, some find it difficult to devote the appropriate amount of time to this task. Rest assured, building relationships with your students can only get more instructional time back as the year progresses as when these relationships are prioritized, less classroom interruptions will occur. When relationships are not firmly established, you can expect more interruptions, leading to a loss in precious instructional time.
Take the time to work on student-teacher relationships, you’ll gain more instructional time, learn important information about them to include in your instruction, and you’ll increase their overall engagement.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
If you were to look back and reflect upon the last two school years, then I think you would likely fall into the vast majority of people who say, “this is not what I thought being an educator would look like.” I think this is especially true for teachers and aides and all others who have entered the world of publication for the first time these last two school years.
Things are different. Some things better, some worse, and some remain the same. Regardless of the circumstance, we have found ourselves in a position to reevaluate what we are doing in public education and why it should (or shouldn’t) be so.
Consider the original approach to the onset of the pandemic in the United States. Regional educators as well as the professional learning networks (PLNs) on Twitter immediately took to making connections and practical applications to real-time COVID-19 data for instructional purposes. In social studies courses, these conversations focused on how pandemics have impacted governments, economies, or cultures throughout history. In mathematics courses, these discussions included analyzing infection rates to determine the best function to model the data.
It didn’t take long, however, for educators to realize that the data they were using to guide instruction was not producing the desired results. New data led to new conversations and new questions.
Sentiments that were already increasing in nature such as “students don’t work as hard as they used to” and “students don’t care about grades like they used to” were compounded with the stressors of a pandemic, but were they factual? And how could we know?
When asking for help on analyzing data, a regional administrator shared some thoughts regarding the 2021-2022 school year:
For the past few months, I have not been able to stop thinking about the start of next school year. It does not matter whether a teacher has been teaching for 20, 10, 5, or even 1 school year, I just do not see how we can start next school year the same way we have any other year. The teaching and learning that has taken place has been so different that we need to reexamine what that looks like in terms of what and how we instruct students starting the new school year.
The nuts and bolts of the data project are this: we are reviewing skills-based report card data for the past several years as a means of identifying trends wherever possible. While I cannot share the details for most of that data, I would like you to consider the example in the graphic below.
The data graphed is collected over the last five school years (2016-2017, 2017-2018, 2018-2019, 2019-2020, and 2020-2021) for all students at one grade level for a district using the four quarterly reports on a 4-point scale (1-below grade level, 2-below grade level and making progress, 3-at grade level/proficient, and 4-above grade level expectations).
There are many things that we can learn from this one graphic. We can see that scores for the 2019-2020 school year were not reported for quarters 3 and 4 in the same manner as had been done previously (due to the pandemic). We can see that the yearly trend for effort at this particular grade level trends slightly positively while remaining consistent at or about grade level expectations. We also see that during the 2020-2021 school year, a school year that opened dramatically different than any other school year for the current generation, this grade level of students has demonstrated notably greater effort than the recent years prior.
While I know there may be questions about the reliability of this particular perceptual data, the intent of this graphic is not to convince you to trust the data presented here. Rather, the purpose is for you to reconsider what it is that you think you know regarding pandemic teaching and learning. Making data-informed decisions is a practical way to do just that.
What data do you have available? What is it actually demonstrating? Why does that appear to be so? What implications does that yield as you move forward?
I would echo the sentiments from the regional administrator shared above. I cannot imagine the best pursuit for education would be to start the 2021-2022 school year as we would any normal year (however you would define a normal year), but don’t take my word for it. See what the data is showing you, and move forward from there.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
A number talk is a daily routine in ALL grade levels, that requires students to demonstrate flexibility in working with numbers and solving basic problems without using paper and pencil to find the solution. Consider how number talk routines can be used to help your students think more flexibly about whole numbers and operations with fractions and decimals.
Number talks require students to be flexible in their thinking about numbers and operations. In addition, students increase their ability to articulate their thinking, develop their mathematical vocabulary and refine their mathematical communication skills through the use of number talks.
How to Get Started with Number Talks
Like many other math routines, creating norms for the community and helping students feel like they are working in a safe space is crucial. In order for number talks to be successful, students must understand how to actively listen and hold a respectful exchange of ideas. Before implementing number talks in the classroom, brainstorm a list of classroom norms for how community members will participate and behave during the routine.
Teacher and Student Roles
During a number talk, it is the teacher’s job to encourage students to share their solution strategies, ask questions to clarify understanding, and direct the learning of the class. Number talks require students to explain their solution strategies, convince others that their strategy works, and listen to and pose questions about the strategies of others.
Extending the Thinking
Because the goal of number talks is to help students communicate their thinking, after a student has shared his/her strategy, there are several questions that can be used to extend and help a student better shape his/her thinking.
Final ThoughtsThe strategies that students use and are able to learn from doing number talks is invaluable! Students can build a mental storehouse of strategic tools through this process. In addition, the rich discussion that occurs between the students and the teacher during number talks is truly amazing! Imagine the possibilities if all of our students had the reasoning, critical thinking, language, and communication skills that result from regular participation in number talks each day for about 12-15 minutes.
· Making Number Talks Matter: Developing Mathematical Practices and Deepening Understanding Grades 4-10 by Cathy Humphreys and Ruth Parker
· Number Talks: Helping Children Build Mental Math and Computation Strategies by Sherry Parrish
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Environmental science is best experienced by picking up physical objects, observing, discussing, sharing...
Well, 4th grade students at Cuba-Rushford and 1st grade students at Hinsdale, along with hundreds of other students in the CABOCES region, get to experience these interactive experiences still…but at a distance.
All the programs that the Environmental Science CoSer has to offer, have been transformed to allow students to be immersed in the wonders of learning about the remarkable features of the environment around us, the mysteries of animal behavior, and the natural wonders of how living (and non-living) things interact with each other.
Here students in 4th grade at Cuba-Rushford are learning about animal senses by observing why the Burmese Python can use its tongue to smell or why a Termite will follow a pen line when drawn. Students discovered the many mysteries of how and why animals use their senses to survive.
Pictured below are students in 1st grade at Hinsdale discovering where the concept of Velcro came from or how mimicking shark skin on a swimsuit can help someone swim faster. Realizing that humans use nature to invent incredibly important items in our everyday life is the process called biomimicry. Using this information, students were able to make a connection with other biomimicry examples in their life
These are just a few of the many Environmental Science programs that CA BOCES has to offer! For more information on these programs, please feel free to visit CABOCES Environmental Science or contact Lance Feuchter at (716) 376-8379 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lance Feuchter, CA BOCES Learning Resources
An educator with experience in distance learning shares what he’s learned: Keep it simple, and build in as much content as possible.https://www.edutopia.org/article/4-tips-supporting-learning-home
In 2020, a challenging profession became a bit more challenging overnight. Last March, teachers woke one morning, and their workdays were very different. Some of the challenges teachers faced daily no longer existed, while new challenges took their place. It has been a year since shifting to online teaching in some form, and what a year it has been. Focusing on the positive, there has been growth, there has been perseverance, and there has been dedication among the many positive aspects. As we come into the one-year anniversary, I thought that sharing some tips that may have been overlooked through all those challenges would be appropriate, and possibly could be applied as teachers reflect and plan future lessons in education.
The article written by Kareem Farah is found on the Edutopia website ( www.edutopia.org ). The author shares struggles and provides some solutions to consider as shifting to teaching online. Most teachers are beyond the shifting point, being that we have been shifting, dodging and weaving for the past year, but looking back teachers can hopefully acknowledge the personal growth in learning with technology alone.
Teachers are always creating new lessons, recreating and then start it all over again to incorporate the latest strategies to ensure that they are providing the best learning environment they can. Even with the online shift, the time to recreate or modify has not changed. I am hopeful that somewhere in this article, one of the suggestions will add another component to the amazing lessons that teachers prepare for their students.
Be Kind and Be Well.
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Mr. Arron Wixson’s 7th grade general music class was in for quite a treat after Christmas break. Mr. Wixson worked with Mark Beckwith from CABOCES Professional Development to be one of the first teachers in our area to use the new Ukulele’s that were purchased at CABOCES Learning Resources. The 7th grade students worked with Mr. Wixson for about 6 weeks learning the scales and the chords so that before the February break they’d be able to play a song of their choosing. Everyone had a ball learning the new and unique instrument, and the sounds of ukulele’s filled the Friendship halls daily.
Thank you Learning Resources team and Mark Beckwith for helping make this happen. We can’t wait to use them again next year.
A new month brings exciting new Microsoft Teams technology designed to help your classroom stay organized, save time, and collaborate in the months ahead. A slew of new features and updates are rolling out now and will be available soon to support both students and staff as they move into spring. Look at the included PDF for more info, as well.
As the year continues on, stay tuned as more updates and feature improvements to the Microsoft Teams platform head out to teachers.
By: Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Model Schools
In December, 2020 Learning Resources recorded 148,893 searches in NewsBank. This database is filled with the most recent news collected from 11,706 regional, state, national and international sources. Students and faculty can search for news, blogs, videos, transcripts related to many topics including SEL, STEM, Diversity Equity Inclusion, Sports, and more. NewsBank’s Hot Topics feature makes it easy for 7-12 grade teachers to engage students in current events with ready-made questions related to articles. Those looking to bring perspective into the classroom or research project can search for an article by topic and/or any location in the world. Digitized newspapers from 1690-2000 provide historical perspective as well.
Historic newspapers can be searched by either the timeline or topic search to easily find news and eyewitness accounts and pro/con articles of events. Consider issues and daily life in the colonies or during the Revolutionary War, westward expansion, the Civil War, Reconstruction, industrialization, the Progressive Era, World War I, the Great Depression, Vietnam War, World War II, Civil Rights Movement, Cold War, globalization and other eras. Users can search for illustrations, advertisements, classifieds, birth and marriage announcements, obituaries, stories about historic people and other articles exactly as they appeared in print.
Although February is widely recognized as Black History Month, Black Life in America offers curated articles for easy retrieval and meaningful discourse year-round. Newsbank is offering FREE access to its database, Black Life in America through the month of February 2021. It provides comprehensive coverage of the African American experience from earliest times to today, and articles are curated from 19,000 American and global newspapers from 1704 to the present, including over 400 African American newspapers. Users are provided with full-text searching as well as access to content by Topic, Event, and Eras in African American History. This database is updated daily.
If you would like to know more on how to use this database, please contact Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Student Programs inspires creative problem-solving, teamwork, deep thinking, and resilience. More than ever before, students, teachers, and the ISS team are being challenged to apply these traits to achieve the impossible, virtually.
NEW from CoSer403!
12 months of unlimited use of Dave Ruch’s Engagement Library for your school district
The Engagement Library is a Netflix-like service featuring 49 pre-recorded assembly programs, plus the following:
Portville 4th graders experienced Dave Ruch’s virtual Native Americans program earlier this year. According to Mrs. Threehouse, “The Dave Ruch program was very insightful, especially in the hearing and seeing of the cultural significance of music in the Native American culture. The students enjoyed the musical instruments. He made it fun and had the kids laughing at times.” A 4th grade student added, “I thought it was cool to see a different culture’s music and how they create it is similar to other music performers. They chant about things that are important to them.”
ArtsPower Theatre on Demand (CoSer 403) is also available now through June 30, 2021. APTOD virtually brings core curriculum-based, multiple-lesson courses built around musical theatre productions. Designed to promote learning in the performing arts, language arts, and character education, these courses feature full-length (55 minute) musicals based on popular children’s books, plus the following:
Whether districts intend to incorporate them into their lesson plans and curriculum or use them as virtual ‘end of the year’ field trips, Dave Ruch’s Engagement Library and Arts Power TOD are both ideal resources for classroom teachers, librarians, art, music, and physical education teachers.
In addition, educators can contact Cece Fuoco (Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org) or Cathy Dunkleman (Catherine_Dunkleman@caboces.org) at Learning Resources to check out supplemental books from the professional library or Interlibrary loan.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
We’ve been busy here at Learning Resources the past few months. New items are on the warehouse shelves and are available now on our resources page. We’ve been focused primarily on our younger learners, those in Pre-K, K and 1st grade. Additionally, play-based learning has also been an emphasis.
New additions include foam block builders, with realistic pretend bricks, cinder blocks, and rock wall builders. LEGO DUPLO kits are also now available. We have Wild Animals sets, Large Farm kits, and Build Me Emotions kits. This latter kit allows children to explore emotions and physical characteristics while developing social skills. As children collaborate on a range of character-building experiences, they recognize feelings and identify similarities and differences. Building cards provide support and inspiration so children can continue to build and rebuild characters again and again.
Continuing the theme of play-based learning, we’ve added soft dinosaur sets, pretend and play doctor sets, community workers sets, and North American wildlife sets. And then to round out our new kits are those that focus on small motor skills. Double-sided dexterity boards offer six dexterity functions: button, zipper, snap, buckle, Velcro®, and bow tying. The lace board is an excellent prop in teaching children how to tie their shoes. We also have stack and sort boards that feature colorful counting discs to sort onto stationary pegs. Double-sided, wooden squares have screened numbers 0 through 9 and a corresponding dot count on the opposite side. Rearrangeable, loose parts allow for multiple matching, counting, addition and subtraction activities on or off the board.
Sounds like fun, eh? Go to our resources page here to look at the new kits, older kits, and streaming resources. Keep checking back as we add more items to assist teachers in their craft and students in their learning.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Flipgrid has been a favorite of many teachers both virtually and in person. Recently, Flipgrid launched a series of weekly virtual field trips to help bring experts from around the world into classrooms to engage students. Events take place on Wednesday at 12:00pm CST.
January field trips are focused around the theme of literacy:
February field trips are focused around the theme of Black History Month.
In these sessions, students will get to hear from authors and experts who will inspire them and spark meaningful conversations. Each session also provides teachers with a link to premade activities and Flipgrid conversations to do with students beforehand and spark their thoughts leading into the event!
To register for Flipgrid events, go to THIS LINK where you will find all of the upcoming sessions!
By: Chelsea Lobello, CA BOCES Model Schools
Are you looking for resources for students that explore a variety of careers? Do you want something that is ready to use with an activity and follow up work? Below are some options that may be helpful, and they are free!
If you have any questions about Career related resources, don’t hesitate to contact any of the following members of the Learning Resources team at CA BOCES:
Cece Fuoco Library Media Services Coordinator email@example.com
Alexandra (Alex) Freer Digital Media Coordinator firstname.lastname@example.org
Karen Insley Distance Learning Coordinator email@example.com
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Social Emotional Learning can best be described as teaching ourselves and students to be
aware of our internal environment. Giving ourselves space to identify and recognize our
emotions isn’t necessarily a new idea, however it is powerful to explicitly teach our students how
to recognize what is going on internally. Only when we become aware of our feelings are we
able to help ourselves move through when we are in the grips of intense emotions.
Trauma-Informed Classrooms cultivate a culture of safety and focus on the external
environment for students to thrive. When educators focus on the external environment they
intentionally work on creating space for students to thrive and practice the skills needed for
Resilience is our entry to thriving, not just surviving. Recently I attended an ASCD virtual conference and heard Elena Auguilar share her ‘12 Strategies to Build Resilience in Yourself and Communities’ which we can put into practice immediately.
1. Right here, right now, everything is ok
2. Feel your body
4. Recognize, name and accept emotions
5. Stay connected to people
6. Take care of yourself
7. Practice perspective taking
8. Be kind to yourself
9. Distract yourself
10. Look for bright spots
11. Practice gratitude
12. Practice “maybe”
When individuals struggle with big emotions we owe it to our students to give them the words and means to move through their emotions and practice resilience. Resilience can be thought of how we weather the storms that life throws at us. Take a moment to remember a time you weather a small challenge and you emerged stronger than you were before. This practice helps to cultivate resilience. There is power in remembering the smaller challenges that you were able to overcome and if you have an opportunity to share your story (and hear another person’s story) it builds resilience in both individuals. When we share our stories it helps to expand our perspective, normalize our experiences, and boosts our oxytocin (which is so healthy and combats our stress hormones!). We all have resilience and we all have the ability to build it. A stress check is a great visual for students to use in order to self evaluate if they are learning ready. This stress check can also be used with a worry box. This graphic has been borrowed from peardeck, as their website has featured some free social-emotional templates. https://www.peardeck.com/studentpaced-demo-resources
A worry box is a great way to have students identify something that may be concerning them
and write them down on a strip of paper and drop into their box. The idea is once the worry is
written down and placed in the box it is captured inside and no longer needs to take up space in
your mind. At the end of the day you can come back to the worry box and see if it still is a worry
or if the worry was resolved throughout the day. If the worry was resolved then it can be thrown
away, if the worry grew the idea is to take it out and place the worry in the teacher’s worry box
so the worry can be problem solved together.
Another idea to cultivate a safe environment and build resilience is to have your students participate in the ‘Hands of Promise’ activity. In this activity the left hand serves as the past and the right hand the future. Students write and/or draw pictures to express their fears on the left hand and what they are expecting and looking forward to on the right hand. This activity can be used to help kids move their thoughts from the past into the present.
It is so encouraging to know that resilience can be cultivated and developed in anyone. We
have the opportunity to continue to practice, model, and develop resiliency skills in ourselves
and others. And, if 2020 has taught us anything it is this…..we are resilient!
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Recently, I joined a "fireside chat" with some brilliant literacy experts; the chat was hosted by the International Reading Association (ILA), and the topic was "What Should Equitable and Comprehensive Early Literacy Instruction Look Like in 2020 and Beyond?"
One of the speakers was Douglas Fisher. Doug is a professor of educational leadership at San Diego State University and a teacher leader at Health Sciences High & Middle College. He is a member of the California Reading Hall of Fame and was honored as an exemplary leader by the Conference on English Leadership.
Doug discussed something that a lot of people are talking about, learning loss. He explained that the learning loss narrative emphasizes the wrong thing, and too much attention on learning loss and remediation can lower expectations for teachers and kids, creating negative mindsets. He cited recent 3-8 NWEA test scores for 4.4 million students in the United States; the organization reported that the students generally started school this fall about where they should be in reading. He shared that what needs to be magnified right now is that children will learn to read because of the great work that teachers are doing.
“Believe in yourself.”
Teachers across the region have been engaged in heroic efforts during the pandemic. If the "loss, gap, deficit" narrative changes, teachers will believe in themselves, their work, and that all kids will learn to read.
Wishing you a very happy, healthy, and safe holiday season.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
In my last article, SharePoint: A Microsoft Teams Alternative, I highlighted a few benefits to creating a SharePoint site and using SharePoint in the classroom. Since then, I have spent a good amount of time exploring some of the features within Microsoft’s Power Platform: Power Automate, Power Apps, Power BI, and Power Virtual Agents, two of which I think are well worth your time.
There are three ways to create a new workflow:
2. from a template; or
3. from a connector.
Take a look at Power Automate and start exploring how you can automate processes to save you time, money, and energy!
Power Apps allows for three types of app creation: Canvas app, Model-driven app, and Portal app. While I don’t yet fully understand the Model-driven app, the Canvas app uses the device screen (whether a tablet, phone, or other screen ratio) as the canvas to construct the app, and the Portal app functions more like a website that is not limited to internal use. [Disclaimer: Portal apps may require additional licensing so communicate with your Microsoft 365 administrator before pursuing this route.] Furthermore, just like the other Microsoft services, Power Apps provides access to guided learning in the Microsoft Education Center, support documentation, and a community forum (hyperlinked in each image below).
To help me (and hopefully you) better understand Power Apps, I worked with Jay Morris, Director of Technology, at Cuba-Rushford Central School District to brainstorm ideas for meaningful apps. For me, the easiest place to start was a Help Desk app similar to services such as QWare or Spiceworks. To make this happen, we needed to create a SharePoint List that would allow us to collect and update each ticket, and then we used a Power Apps Canvas app to connect to that data.
The Help Desk app can be opened by the app’s administrators/owners and general users either online or through the Power Apps mobile app to view, update, or delete existing tickets or create new ones; regardless of the modification, the SharePoint List is updated automatically through the app. Additionally, we could have the Help Desk automatically email the ticket creator as well as the technician to whom the ticket is assigned any time changes occur.
Shown below are four of the seven screens used to make the Help Desk App (Home, Create Ticket, User Tickets, User View/Delete Ticket, Successful Submission, Admin Tickets, and Admin Update Ticket):
Then, on the same SharePoint site where we created the List, we can create a dashboard similar to what you would see using a service like QWare and Spiceworks.
I look forward to exploring Power Apps further to see what processes we can automate and apps we can create. In theory, I am thinking that we could make apps for lunch orders, teacher evaluations, daily check-ins, etc. If you have an idea, send it my way.
If you’re interested in getting a copy of the Help Desk app template and putting it into place, please do not hesitate to reach out (Mark_Beckwith@caboces.org).
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Model Schools
Big Idea Learning blog article written by Sophie Murphy
In 2008, renowned textbook author Dr, Ron Larson founded Big Ideas Learning, https://www.bigideaslearning.com . They are a leading publisher for mathematics curriculum, by providing cohesive, coherent and rigorous mathematics curriculum. They look to empower teachers and support student learning for K-12. Although this may be a wonderful resource, my intention is to share the blog article from this website pertaining to teaching with clarity and purpose as we conquer the distance learning arena.
In her weekly online blog article, the author Sophie Murphy, provides some tips for guidance to better teach with clarity and purpose during distance learning. 13 to be exact, hence the title of the article “13 Tips for Teaching with Clarity and Purpose During Distance Learning”. She has recognized within the article that we are navigating new ways to teach our students while not being in the classroom with them, and that we have been given no time to prepare in these everchanging times. With that being said, I think we can all agree that there have been times of confusion as to what and how we should be implementing our lessons most effectively.
In her article, Sophie touches on some practices that will be helpful in continuing to deliver daily lessons with the same clarity and purpose as in the traditional classroom setting. In reading the blog article you will find a list of the 13 tips she has compiled to share, however I wanted to mention one in particular. It is her 13th tip, “Be kind to yourself. Know that we are here to continue to support you.” As a member of the CABOCES Instructional Support Services, Distance Learning team this caught my attention and prompted me to share this article. “Be kind to yourself”, be sure to take some time to do this. Whatever it may be that makes you feel better, take that time regularly and believe that you deserve it. “Know that we are here to support you”, you can be sure of that statement. We are here, ready, willing and able to assist you.
Just in case you are not aware of all the supports available to assist you, I will share. CABOCES Instructional Support Services (ISS) has many areas for personal and professional growth within Professional Development, and the coordinators are always working to put a specialized training together based on the needs within the districts. However, ISS is not just about the professional development. Within Learning Resources, there are endless online learning opportunities through distance learning for students. The online experience is even supported with two face to face teacher that guides students through the process, and they provide information of students’ progress to the districts with regularly scheduled check ins. Here is the link: https://caboces.org/services/learning-resources/distance-education/online-courses/. There are many elective and course opportunities to be shared that may not be offered within the walls of the districts. It expands the choices and the variety of content the students could be exposed to in their educational journey. And please if you do not see what you are looking for, reach out, we will be glad to search for you. ISS will provide supports for just about every need, and if we do not have it, we will try to find it. Be sure to reach out to any of the ISS staff and take advantage of all the supports we have to offer the participating districts.
Take a few minutes, read the article and hopefully it will give you some information you can use during these everchanging experiences in the education world.
Be Kind and Be Well,
Lisa Scott, CABOCES Learning Resources
A teacher preparing for remote instruction had heard about TeachingBooks from a colleague and called me for more information. Specifically, she planned to read a book to students and was looking for a vocabulary list. Within, TeachingBooks, the teacher located a vocabulary list, three lesson plans, and a pre-recorded author interview. Unlike OverDrive and popular ebook sites, TeachingBooks does not offer ebooks for download.
TeachingBooks is free to all CABOCES’ districts and provides publisher permissions for virtual read-alouds. Educators may browse PreK – 12 titles and author resources, discover virtual teaching ideas, access passages to 35,000+ books, and share resources via email and Google Classroom. Lesson plans and vocabulary lists assist in meeting learning objectives, and author interviews generate excitement about the book. Although this resource is available to teachers, students should know about it too.
K-12 students can visit resources.caboces.org and log in with a generic username and password (see your school librarian) to meet authors and illustrators with exclusive movies and recordings, experience over 12,000 read-along audiobook experiences, hear authors pronounce and tell the stories of their names, and enjoy over 1,500 complete book readings. Students undecided on what to read can find book suggestions through the Reader’s Advisory.
Contact Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org to discover how to use this resource for your remote instruction.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In August 2020, ELA teachers from our region were invited to join Angela Stockman, author of Hacking the Writing Workshop and Make Writing, for a two-day institute on multimodal writing instruction face-to-face and across the distance. Through synchronous and asynchronous learning opportunities, Angela led teachers in designing writing units and lessons that encourage students to use and explore hands-on approaches to writing.
As a continuation of this work, Angela is will be supporting the region in strategy sessions that are targeted towards specific grade bands, with rotating offerings for Elementary, Middle, and High School levels. Each of the strands will have a focus for that particular level with an overarching theme of multimodal instruction in face-to-face and distance learning situations. Teachers will engage in three one-hour sessions during the course of the school year and will have access to a variety of self-paced professional development lessons created specifically by Angela for our teachers.
Kicking off this series was the Middle School Strand that met after school on November 18, 2020. A handful of regional English teachers convened on Zoom with Angela around a focus on “Defining Structure and Form and Seeking Conventionality.” The next Middle School Session will be on January 27, 2021. Between now and then, teachers can access and work with Angela’s asynchronous resources.
An outline of the remainder of the series is as follows:
Multimodal Composition in the K-5 Writing Workshop
In each session, participants will examine explicit curriculum design methods, tangible writing tools, and instructional strategies specific to narrative, research and information, and opinion and argument writing.
December 2nd: Story Making
January 20th: Building Texts that Teach
March 31st: Composing Opinions and Arguments
MIDDLE SCHOOL STRAND
Multimodal Composition in the Middle School Writing Workshop
These sessions will challenge writing teachers to pursue and elevate the complexity of students' creative and academic writing. Each session will leave participants equipped to coach critical thinking, multimodal composition, and an iterative process, in service to more sophisticated thinking, learning, and written work.
November 11th: Defining Structure and Form and Seeking Conventionality
January 27th: Strategies for Coaching Critical and Metaphorical Thinking and Writing
April 14th: Lifting the Quality of Revision and Editing
HIGH SCHOOL STRAND
Multimodal Composition in High School Writing Classrooms
Participants in these sessions will learn how to leverage important constraints and help writers distinguish formulaic writing from coherent, sophisticated, and authentically influential work. All will leave with explicit strategies that move writers past mere replication in order to generate compelling compositions in every content area.
December 9th: Equipping Writers to Assume a Professional Posture
February 3rd: Tinkering with Structure and Using Conventions for Effect
April 21st: Elevating Complexity and Scaffolding with Careful Intention
Any teacher who may be interested in participating in this series can visit register.caboces.org to sign-up.
For more information Angela Stockman, visit http://www.angelastockman.com/.
By: Sarah Wittmeyer, CA BOCES Professional Development
The ISS Student Programs team is thankful to work with the following Scholastic Challenge coaches:
It is easy to agree that the ninety-five 6th through 12th grade students who participated in last week’s Virtual Scholastic Challenge were the bright stars of the day. However, since this is Thanksgiving week, the Student Programs team would like to shine a light on the unseen heroes of the day: the Scholastic Challenge coaches.
Often literally unseen, with videos and microphones turned off, the coaches virtually went from room to room to observe their students’ matches. These coaches were willing to take on extra work, juggle their hectic virtual and in-person teaching responsibilities, support the teams remotely and in-person, and adapt to last-minute changes due to school closures, in order to give students the opportunity to compete in the 2nd Virtual Scholastic Challenge held on Wednesday, November 18th, 2020. Thirty-four matches took place over the course of the day, with nearly 2,600 questions read aloud. This Student Programs CoSer 506 event would not have happened without the coaches listed above.
After the great success of the May 1st Virtual Scholastic Challenge (https://cainnovativeteaching.weebly.com/innovative-teaching/category/scholastic-challenge ) the Student Programs team aimed to make the second event even bigger and better. The November Virtual Scholastic Challenge grew by 1 team, making it an amazing 21 team all-day competition. Some teams were masked and socially distanced at their schools, while some were logged in from their homes.
Scholastic Challenge is an annual event hosted by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES. The regional competition that tests students’ knowledge of academic trivia and current events is typically held as a face-to-face tournament.
The Student Programs team is also grateful for the willing and enthusiastic ISS staff who juggled their schedules to facilitate the match rooms.
Congratulations to the four teams that scored the highest total points after three matches and made it to the Finals.
The Junior (grades 6-9) Finals: Ellicottville Central School (1st place) and Whitesville Central School (2nd place)
The Senior (grades 9-12) Finals: Ellicottville Centra School (1st place) and Fillmore Central School (2nd place)
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
Together, we can do better. All students, school districts, families and communities have equitable access to rich resources to improve student learning, strengthen families and create healthier communities. School and community partnerships are empowered and connected in meaningful ways, problems are solved and resources are used effectively. The bi-annual Community & Schools Together Conference, is one example of how the vision of the Community Schools CoSer has been fulfilled. The conference has enabled school and community partnerships to develop, enhance and align.
On November 16th, Community Schools hosted the second virtual Community & Schools Together Conference, which appropriately, focused on relationships and resilience. Despite the fact that the conference was an all-day, virtual event, over 100 participants attended, and stayed the course of the day. This is a true testament to the quality of regional educational leaders and expert community leaders that presented at the conference. Presentations were intentionally structured in strands, starting with self-reflection and care and moving towards taking care of staff and prioritizing staff wellness and relationships. Next, sessions focused on students, parent and family engagement and finally, community partnerships and organizations. Presenters shared a variety of information, ranging from best practices, models of intervention, program evaluation and personal resilience.
In addition to the professional learning and growth that the day was centered around, personal reflection, connection and overall wellness were of equal importance, in terms of intended outcomes. One participant shared that they appreciated “addressing the 'real' issues with empathy and care, as so many people are suffering in their own ways. Information was presented in a way that really made you want to engage, listen and be active.”
Keynote speaker, Ali Hearn inspired participants by sharing her expertise on self-care. She demonstrated to participants that self-care can be replenishing, draining, or relaxing. Replenishing self-care requires people to truly identify self-care practices that are sustaining such as staying hydrated, exercise, and eating healthy foods. Additionally, Ali connected the importance of self-care practices of staff as a benefit for students stating, “If your staff isn’t OK, then students probably are not OK.” Participants were provided with many strategies for daily check-ins as a support for staff, relationship building between staff members, and connecting with families.
Thank you to all presenters, participants and districts that were represented at the recent event. You will find the “presenter profile” below, that provides a snapshot into the collective expertise represented on November 16th. We look forward to the next Community & Schools Together Conference, which will be held on March 22nd, 2021. Please stay tuned for information about the upcoming event.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools and Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development