What a Cool Location to Host the Middle-School/High-School ELA CLC: CA BOCES Learning Resources, St. Bonaventure Campus Annex
Our host was Alex Freer, Digital Resources & Technology Coordinator. Not only did Alex provide meaningful, relevant digital-resource professional development, she was an amazing tour guide. Regional MS and HS ELA teachers enjoyed touring the Learning Resources Warehouse.
The supplies, the kits, the tools, and the books: everyone could have explored for hours. Alex also encouraged teachers to reach out with creative ideas for kits to support curriculum and instruction development as well as engage students.
Another highlight was the LR Professional Library; there are so many great books to support teachers’ professional growth, including texts that teachers can borrow as they pursue their advanced degrees.
In addition to the hands-on experience, Alex provided an in-depth, ELA teacher-focused tour of all the digital resources that are available. I know firsthand that teachers always want more time to explore because there are so many great resources that connect to NYS Learning Standards. The presentation included time. Teachers explored and planned, connecting digital resources to content. They were amazed by all that’s available and grateful for the gift of time AND for Rachelle Evans, Digital Resources Support Specialist, who made sure everyone had accounts and could access all the tools.
Jenna Tost and I would like to encourage teachers to visit CA BOCES Learning Resources, St. Bonaventure Campus Annex: they’ll likely be surprised and definitely amazed by all that’s there to support them as well as their students.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Wellspring resilence with gerry daly
On October 20th and October 24th, Gerald Daly visited us at CABOCES to teach us the Wellspring Resilience Technique.
The Wellspring Resilience Technique (WRT) is an innovative method for increasing long-term resilience (defined as the ability to bounce back from setbacks) for teachers and social workers who are working in high stress environments.
The heart of the WRT learning is to focus on: a) Helping participants to develop an appetite for resilience in their lives; b) Helping participants to identify the specific habits that they are prepared to commit to and incorporate into their day-to-day lives.
Gerald Daly has been a personal resilience facilitator for international humanitarian staff from 2012. At our workshop we met social workers, principals, counselors, and CABOCES staff developers coming together to learn and support each other through this resilience workshop. Each participant left the 2-day workshop with a “buddy” in which phone numbers were exchanged and 21-day check-ins were scheduled with each other. Everyone left feeling empowered and supported during this resilience training. Conversations have continued about another workshop soon to check-in with the current participants as well as inviting new educators looking to build their resilience during these more difficult times.
By: Kelli Spink, CA BOCES Professional Development
Tech integration in Ellicottville
I have just discovered that my favorite phrase to hear in a classroom is, “I did it!” I heard that a lot while working with students in Ellicottville. As of November 2022, I am back at CABOCES as a tech integrator and one of the first schools to have me come in was Ellicottville. The first day I was scheduled to come in got snowed out, so I went in on for my first visit on December 1st. December 1st in Ellicottville was challenging. I had Shawne Hunt, Director of Technology, push out the app Pyonkee to all the student iPads I would be working with. Pyonkee is built from Scratch 1.4, a free program from MIT (scratch.mit.edu). Pyonkee works on iPads and is a whole lot more like regular Scratch than Scratch Junior.
I learned the hard way that Pyonkee was too hard for first and second graders. So, the next time I was in on December 7th, I asked Shawne to push out LightBot Hour, which is an app for students who are emerging readers and is one of the free “hour of code” apps. This was much more successful. First and second graders could work on their own and at their own pace. The teacher and I had to help with some basic reading, but the “learning game” was played independently. Eventually, what seems to happen in every classroom is a student saying, “I am on lesson 2-1.” Then another student says, "I am on lesson 1-7”. I always state to students in plain language that learning is not a race, and that we all learn at different rates of speed.
With the older students, third and fourth graders, we used Pyonkee successfully. Students experienced right angles (90 degrees was not familiar to students). Students programmed the iPad to draw a square and then learned to modify their code to draw a square using a repeat. Repeats are possible in all coding languages, so for third and fourth graders to learn this concept is important when moving forward with technology. Students were given the learning adventure of creating a hexagon, an octagon, a heptagon, a decagon, and a dodecagon (12 equal sides). Students were not given the “turn degrees” to these shapes and had to use trial and error to figure them out. As they did this, I said, “You are being computer scientist because using trial and error is what scientists use all the time.” I saw some students doing math on post-it-notes to try to figure out the angles.
Students and teachers had fun and learned a lot. Currently, we are building skills to help with math. After these foundational skills, I will be teaching students and teachers how to make their own video games. Don’t tell anyone, but there may be more math involved! If you are interested in having me come to your school or classroom to do some coding, or other ed tech things, please email me at email@example.com.
By: Rick Weinburg, CA BOCES Model Schools
Common Cloud Conundrum
Many people think that clouds form due to the process of the water cycle phase, evaporation. It is true that without evaporation, clouds would not exist. Evaporation is the process of liquid water turning into gaseous water, or water vapor. Without evaporation as a part of the water cycle, water would only cycle from liquid to solid, and would never make it off the ground.
Liquid water is relatively “sticky”, the molecules when water is in a liquid state are attracted to each other creating a lattice of water molecules. Think about how water can “stick” to the sides of a glass, your mirror during a shower, or itself when you’ve poured a glass of it too high, and it domes up above the edge of the glass (try it!).
When liquid water molecules have enough energy, some of them break away from the liquid water lattice. A single water molecule is less dense than our typical air molecules (nitrogen and oxygen) so it rises up through the air. That’s usually where water vapor hangs out, amid our air molecules. But we don’t see it.
Water molecules floating around alone are far too small to see. Even so, a common misconception exists that evaporation, liquid water becoming water vapor, creates clouds. But we can see clouds! And we can see liquid water. So at some point, the water vapor must turn back to liquid water, otherwise known as the process of condensation.
Remember that it takes water molecules with energy to break away to form water vapor, so the opposite needs to happen to water vapor molecules to slow down enough to allow their natural attraction to take hold. The temperatures further from the surface of Earth are colder due to less pressure (“thinner” air), so as water vapor rises in the air, it cools, or the molecules lose energy and slow down. In addition to sticking to each other, water molecules tend to need a surface to form onto. Our atmosphere is full of microscopic dust which provides a perfect surface for microscopic water molecules to cling to as they lose energy. The lattice formed between the clinging water and dust is our cloud!
So in a typical graphic that appears in many student textbooks, we can see the cause and effect that creates this cycle of cloud formation:
In a recent workshop, fifth grade teachers from Franklinville, Randolph Academy, West Valley, and Genesee Valley practiced an activity they do with their students in the Models of the Earth Advancing STEM Kit.
This activity helps students understand the conditions needed for a cloud to form. There are different scenarios represented by four combinations of water and air: (1) cold water/cold air; (2) cold water/warm air; (3) warm water/cold air; and (4) warm water/warm air. You can see in the picture that water droplets have formed on the top of one of the cups enclosing the land. What do you think is the combination that created this “cloud”? This activity goes along great with one of the third grade NYS Required Science Investigations: Cloud in a Bottle.
Another great activity to do with kids or by yourself is Cloud BINGO. This fun activity can help develop keen observation skills and practice prediction. Record the date and time when you see a type of cloud and record the weather going on at the time you see this cloud. You can make this a competition if you set a time frame, say three weeks, and whoever has seen the most clouds, wins!
Follow-up questions to a few weeks of cloud observations might be: What type of weather would you expect with thin, wispy clouds? What type of weather would you expect with thick, fluffy clouds? What type of weather would you expect with dark clouds? What did you find were the most common types of clouds? The least common? Are there any clouds that indicate bad weather or good weather is on the way? Are there any clouds that signify a storm is now over? Did you discover any other types of patterns?
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Did you know that our CABOCES communities of students have hundreds of elective course opportunities?? Electives that provide life skills, career descriptions, solidify interests, and build knowledge in areas of interest. Although there are many courses available, each year the providers that partner through CABOCES continue to build and supply new courses. Keep reading to check out a few of the new courses available through our partnered provider eDynamic.
3D Modeling 1a: Introduction
Heart valves, cars, cartoons, and buildings may not seem to have much in common, but they all share one spectacular attribute: all originated as a 3D model. 3D modeling has changed the way the world makes things, and in this course, you’ll learn the basics to begin creating in 3D! You’ll learn how different 3D models are built and how to practice using a variety of modeling methods. By the end of the course, you’ll walk away with a portfolio of your ingenious modeling ideas. 3D modeling is an essential part of the modern world and soon, you’ll be able to contribute yourself!
3D Modeling 1b: Set the Scene
Many buildings that are rendered in the real world first are constructed in a digital 3D world that depicts the aesthetics, environment, and conditions of what will come to be. In this course, you will be introduced to the tools and techniques needed to create works of 3D art. You will bring your objects to life with color, textures, lighting, and shadow all while simulating the movement of world around. Are you ready to bring beautiful objects to life in a 3D world? Let’s get started today!
Animation 1a: Introduction / Animation 1b: Animating. Your Creativity
Have you ever watched a cartoon or played a video game where the animation of characters captivated you so much you wanted to create your own? If so, it’s time to immerse yourself in the world of animation. Meet the industry players such as directors, animators, and 3D modelers. Develop your story by exploring design, the 12 principles of animation, creating a storyboard, and leveraging the tools of the trade. Let’s bring your story to life with animation!
It’s time to start animating like the pros! In this hands-on course, you’ll immediately start exploring the software Blender, your gateway to 3D modeling, computer animation, and postproduction procedures used in the film industry. Discover 3D modeling and animation of characters. Explore the basics of human anatomy and form to apply rigging, joints, and texture. Examine rendering and lighting effects and how to apply sound. And discover careers so you can start using your new skills right away.
Pathophysiology 1a: Introduction
It takes the mind of a detective to uncover the cause of disease, and this is where your investigative brain and desire to heal people comes in! In this course, you’ll build foundational knowledge needed to understand disease in all forms along with signs, symptoms, and prevention. You’ll learn how medical professionals arrive at the right diagnosis that leads to proper treatment and a successful outcome. You’ll also sharpen your sleuthing skills learning how to collect and work with data, develop, and test hypotheses, and design a study, and you’ll even research potential STEM careers! Grab your detective hat and get ready to explore the tiny world of pathogens.
Part 1b in the works!!
These courses are just a few of the many that are available. The courses available consist of a vast variety of contents and interest areas. Please allow us to provide you with any information, answer any questions or search for a specific type of course. Contact any of us in Distance Learning, we look forward to assisting through the process.
Here are the links to look through some of the available courses:
By: Lisa Scott, CA BOCES Learning Resources
School Libraries: Improving student mental and emotional health one book at a time
School libraries, like public libraries, provide a collection of up-to-date resources that inform and entertain. Many school libraries are benefitting from renewed spaces that welcome students by providing seating that is relaxing and grouped for conversing, while offering individual spaces for pondering and completing homework.
The American Library Association (2022) defines libraries as a “venue for exploring questions that arise out of individual curiosity and personal interest”. Ask any reader why books are engaging and the answer will be related to that individual’s ability to find a connection with the characters or content (Allyn, 2015). I remember when a 10th grader, who didn’t read much, came to the library just to get out of study-hall. After talking about his interests, of which one was fishing, he happily left with a non-fiction book on trout fishing with high-quality photographs of tips and tricks. The library and its collection should be a place where all students, faculty and staff are welcomed and affirmed, thus supporting mental and emotional health.
In studying college students’ psychological distress, Levine et al. (2022) found that “recreational reading was associated with reduced psychological distress” and “seemed to buffer against the frustration of one’s basic psychological needs which led to improved mental health”. Another study found that recreational reading can “support readers to deal with the daily emotional challenges they experience affecting their psychological well-being” (Yulia et al., 2021). And it doesn’t take much time! Taking just 6 minutes a day to read can “reduce stress levels by up to 60% by reducing your heartbeat and muscle tension and changing your state of mind” and can be more effective than listening to music (“Making Reading”, 2022).
School recognizing the relationship between stress and mental health are making efforts to create stress-free and welcoming environments via the school library (“Relationship Between”, 2022). Below are some pictures of several districts who have changed up their libraries with color, comfortable seating, new flooring, and new shelving.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Allyn, P. (2015, March-April). For the love of reading: five methods to instill a lifetime of good habits. Reading Today, 32(5), 26+
American Library Association. (2022, June 27). Definition of a library. Retrieved November 28, 2022, from https://libguides.ala.org/library-definition.
Make reading a habit for better mental & emotional health. (2022, October 6). Business World, NA
Relationship between stress and emotional self-efficacy. (2022, August 10). Business World, NA.
S. L. Levine, S. Cherrier, A. C. Holding & R. Koestner. (2022). For the love of reading: Recreational reading reduces psychological distress in college students and autonomous motivation is the key, Journal of American College Health, 70:1, 158-164.
Yulia, A., Joshi, R. M., & Husin, N. A. (2021). Assessing the effects of books on psychological wellbeing in Malaysia. Learning Disabilities: A Contemporary Journal, 19(1), 87+.
I’m fresh off the heels of attending this conference in Green Bay, Wisconsin, and have so many ideas floating around in my brain. Even though it is a relatively small conference, the information presented was so applicable to our schools and communities. I’m going to share just a brief window into my learning in hopes that it will trigger interest and, perhaps, an urge to learning more about the NREA (National Rural Education Association) and this conference in particular.
To be sure, some of the ideas floated are some that we are working on here at CA BOCES and in our communities. One is the concept of Place-Based Learning. Place-based learning engages students in their community, including their physical environment, local culture, history, or people. With place-based learning, students get to see the results of their work in their community. They build communication and inquiry skills, learn how to interact with any environment, and gain a better understanding of themselves, as well as their place in the world. Our Student Programs CoSer delves into this when they work with Exploratory Enrichment and Arts in Education. We also work with the Dream It, Do It program, connecting STEM and career opportunities in our region. But in many workshops we offer on our registration system, I can see that connection as well.
Another high-profile topic during the conference centered around teachers in rural districts. What are some strategies we can use to address rural teacher workforce challenges? What are the assets and challenges that exist in small communities and how would a rural responsive teacher education program better prepare teachers? How can school districts cultivate rural teacher resilience to prevent burnout?
These issues and more were the hot topics at this conference. All 50 states were represented, and the focus was squarely on rural schools and how services can be shared. And this focus warmed my BOCES heart! So many schools struggle to give teachers and students the tools and services needed to support learning and growth.
Our CA BOCES schools are not perfect. Each has its own challenges and battles. But just know that our Professional Development Team and our Learning Resources Team is here as an educational partner to equip and provide instruction and resources to mitigate that need.
This conference was educational in many ways. However, it only bolstered my belief that your CA BOCES is an Essential Partner!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Math teachers across the region have been exploring Visible Learning for Mathematics: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning written by John Hattie, Douglas Fisher, and Nancy Frey. This year’s K-5 Math CLC has focused on the benefits of using effect size research to identify best practices for optimizing student achievement in the classroom. Identifying the right approach at the right time can help design more intentional classroom experiences that hit the surface, deep, and transfer phases of learning.
We began this learning journey in June with Joseph Assof, a high school and community college mathematics teacher and the math department chair at Health Sciences High and Middle College in San Diego, CA. He is a member of the San Diego County Math Leaders Task Force, whose mission is to support every student in meeting the rigorous expectations of the Common Core. Joseph co-authored Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, High School, Teaching Mathematics in the Visible Learning Classroom, Grades 6-8, and The Teacher Clarity Playbook, and his classroom is featured in a number of Visible Learning for Mathematics, Grades K-12 videos.
As we continued our learning journey into October 2022, we focused on chapters 1 and 2 from the Visible Learning for Mathematics: What Works Best to Optimize Student Learning text. This allowed participants to explore the role of clear learning intentions and success criteria as well as the kinds of rich mathematical tasks and mathematical discourse central to each phase of learning. Participants had an opportunity to practice writing learning intentions directly aligned to NYS Next Generation Math Learning Standards.
As we continue our K-5 Math Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) this year we will be shifting our focus from surface level learning to deep learning in December. We will focus on students making generalizations and connections between mathematical ideas and concepts. Participants will walk through different approaches and participate in exercises that promote deeper learning. In March, we will focus on transfer learning where we will discuss formative assessment, feedback, interventions, and how to support students in becoming observers and owners of their own learning.
It’s not too late to join us this year! Our next meetings are scheduled for Thursday, December 8th and Thursday, March 2nd. This is a great opportunity for teachers in the C-A region to learn, discuss and collaborate!
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development
New Teacher Academy
New Teacher Academy is a CABOCES workshop and seminars to support and assist teachers who are either new to the profession or new to a district to become familiar with many of the various aspects of the profession. CA BOCES welcomed new teachers from around the region to the 2022-2023 New Teacher Academy. This year over thirty teachers will be participating in one of two different cohorts with sessions held throughout the year in both the Olean CTE center and the Belmont CTE center. The first session for the Catt. county cohort was held on September 21st, 2022 with eighteen teachers in attendance, and the Allegany county cohort was held September 22nd, 2022 with over twenty teachers in attendance.
The day was filled with meaningful activities to help teachers build a better understanding of what it means to be a new teacher, as well as helpful resources and ways to make connections with fellow colleagues. Collaboration, engagement, reflection on teaching standards, and exposure to various strategies and protocols to implement right away in the classroom were the focus of this first day.
There will be multiple more opportunities for these educators to not only continue to develop their teaching skill in the profession, but also to become aware of the various resources and support that CABOCES can provide to them and their districts. The next sessions will be held November 1st and 8th, and will focus on classroom management, lesson development & planning, and digital resources offered through CABOCES Learning Resources program.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
On August 24, 2022, PreK and Kindergarten teachers came together across the region to participate in a workshop centered around CRSE, Play-Based Learning using the Media Kits, and Family Engagement/Involvement.
During this workshop, teachers began to understand the work around the Culturally Responsive Sustaining Education Framework in which a cultural view of learning and human development in which multiple expressions of diversity (e.g. race, social class, gender, language, sexual orientation, nationality, religion, ability, etc.) are recognized and regarded as assets for teaching and learning. Teachers shared the many ways they already acknowledge culture in their classrooms and began exploring new ideas and ways to build on that culture in their classroom and with other stakeholders in their districts.
Teachers also had the opportunity to explore the vast number of Media Kits that are available from CABOCES including SEL Kits, Fairy Tales, Dinosaurs, block building, Legos, community helpers, etc. Collaborative time between teachers and school districts allowed for sharing of ideas, lesson planning conversations, theme and holiday schedules, classroom management tips, and academic success strategies.
Finally, teachers participated in engaging discussions about family involvement and engagement in student education and learning. Participants shared goals for the upcoming school year which will be revisited when we meet again on November 8, 2022.
By: Kelli Spink, CA BOCES Professional Development
Information Literacy Skills
The International Federation of Library Associations (IFLA) recently released its 2021 Trend Report which highlights the future of the library field as it relates to political, economic, social, cultural and technological trends. One trend is the Impatient User.
Schools are utilizing ClassLink and other SSOs so students can avoid multiple log-ins. This convenience supports quick and easy access to a variety of tools, however, does not easily transfer when searching for reliable information. If students cannot quickly locate what they need, it’s expected they will try a new search in which fast results typically provide less reliable sources and information. . Another trend is data domination through artificial intelligence.
Artificial intelligence shapes what a user sees when they access services through a wi-fi connected device. Advertisements are targeted based on user interests and search history and creates a limited perspective. School librarians are poised to help fellow educators and students navigate these two trends with resources offered through Project Look Sharp.
Ithaca College’s Project Look Sharp offers free lessons on how to decode media messages. Media includes journal and news articles, news programs, and advertisements. Helpful charts guide students through questions that not only help analyze media that has been created, but also when students (and educators) are creating media for sharing. These charts can be accessed at https://www.projectlooksharp.org and can be used effectively when helping students navigate bullying and building resiliency.
Some categories for inquiry and reflection include:
- What do they want me to do, think or feel?
- Who is the target audience?
Helping students navigate the barrage of information requires more than basic information literacy skills. If you wish to know more about Project Look Sharp, please contact me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Judith Hochman and Natalie Wexler, coauthors of The Writing Revolution, have joined together to provide educators with an evidence-based roadmap for teaching writing to all K-12 students. Popularly known as ‘The Hochman Method,’ which begins with teaching the basic building blocks for writing a sentence and progressively teaching students the framework for designing outlines, paragraphs, and compositions. This teaching structure is so empowering to students; if you can write a sentence, you can write anything. This method is transformative in teaching students to write, as students are introduced to each strategy utilizing the ‘I do, we do, you do’ gradual release model for direct explicit instruction. The strategies for this method of writing remain the same for all grades and content areas, as it is the content that drives the rigor of each strategy. This method is designed to equip students with the skills to become better readers, more effective when communicating in both writing and speaking, and to elevate student thinking.
Each strategy in the book begins with ‘the why’ as well as an overview of the benefits of teaching the strategy to students. When introducing the strategy for teaching basic conjunctions (because, but, & so) common language is established so students know what each conjunction word is telling the writer to do (because- explains/tells why something is true, but- shows change of direction, & so- tells us what happens as a result of something/ indicates cause and effect). Students complete each sentence using each conjunction in turn. Rather than regurgitating facts about a topic, students use the sentence stem to think deeply about the content being covered. It is the format that really matters in this method and strategy.
Let’s look at the ‘because, but, & so’ strategy in action. Often, we question students about a topic as follows: Why was Andrew Jackson a popular president? The Writing Revolution flips this question using the ‘because, but, so’ strategy in order to assess what students already know about Andrew Jackson. Using the gradual release model, the teacher would provide students with the sentence stem: ‘Andrew Jackson was a popular president____________.’ Students would see the sentence stem repeated three times using ‘because, but, so’ and using the gradual release model, would write three separate sentences.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president because _________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, but _____________________________________.
Andrew Jackson was a popular president, so ______________________________________.
In teaching this strategy it would be made clear to students that they are creating three separate sentences as the conjunction dictates the end of their response. The sentence stem is repeated three times because we are looking for students to provide three separate sentences about Andrew Jackson. The possibilities for this strategy are endless as they can be easily translated into any content area and/or grade level.
It’s not too late to join us to revolutionize your writing activities! The Writing Revolution CLC Grades 2-8 met once this summer, however we have three more sessions throughout the school year. We will be gathering again via zoom from 3-4:30pm on the following dates: 10/13/22, 12/13/22, and 2/07/23. Please consider joining Sarah Cartmill, Tessa Levitt, and Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith by contacting your district professional development representative to register for our remaining sessions. We can’t wait to connect with you!
By: Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Why Use Osmos in the Classroom?
Once again, we’ve been adding to our warehouse shelves, helping to meet the needs of our students as they navigate the upcoming school years. We already had a few Osmo games on the shelves, but their popularity has prompted adding more.
Why use Osmos in the classroom?
Are your teachers using Osmos? If not, please reach out and we’ll make sure they are using this tool with their students.
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
New CLC Coming soon!
On August 16th, regional World Language teachers came together over Zoom to discuss the NYS WL Standards as well as Unit planning and finding authentic resources in the target language. We shared experiences, lesson ideas and communication resources. Because of the great group discussions, we decided to make it an area Collaborative Learning Community and meet in person in the fall. Stay tuned for a September date at register.caboces.org.
By: Sarah Cartmill, CA BOCES Professional Development
Have you ever tried to change a habit? Was it easy or difficult? Have you ever wanted to become more effective in your professional and personal life with things that matter?
Olean City School District staff members have been participating in the work of Stephen Covey’s 7 Habits of Highly Effective People and have been loving his principles!
Teachers and administrators are invited to explore the work of Stephen Covey through the lens of his most popular work: 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. This one-day introductory course (or six zoom meeting sessions) will cover all 7 Habits in an abbreviated fashion to provide an overview of the effective practices that yield to private and public victories. All are welcome to learn for the first time or refresh yourself in becoming well acquainted with the 7 Habits.
Join us as we explore the work of Stephen Covey’s timeless principles of effectiveness. Please reach out to your district representative to register for one of our next sessions; please note there is a fee to cover the cost of the participant workbook.
One day offerings in-person at the Olean CTE center from 8:30-2:30pm: 10/26/22 and again on 2/8/23
Six zoom sessions from 3-4pm: 9/20, 9/21, 9/27, 9/28, 10/4, and 10/5 (Participants are requested to commit to all six of these 1-hour sessions.)
By: Michelle Rickicki and Jessica Schirrmacher-Smith, CA BOCES Professional Development
On Monday, August 8, Dr. Anita Archer joined the region via Zoom for a day of learning about the importance of vocabulary instruction in ALL grade levels and ALL content areas. She started the morning with this quote; “Words are all we have…for understanding new concepts, building background knowledge, expressing our ideas, and understanding narrative and informational texts.”
Dr. Archer shared the research around the importance of effective vocabulary instruction.
Dr. Archer shared the WHY behind Explicit Vocabulary Instruction. Direct vocabulary instruction has an impressive track record of improving students’ background knowledge and comprehension of academic content. The strategies Dr. Archer shared for improving adolescent literacy and vocabulary instruction are as follows:
By: Tessa Levitt, CA BOCES Professional Development
Students are always excited to see and learn about the sky above us. There is so much mystery and captivating views while witnessing such a spectacle. Students at Delevan elementary had an opportunity to feel this excitement using the digital Starlab Planetarium.
Learners ranging from kindergarten to 12th grade were able to enter the “Starlab portal” and immerse themselves into an environment that is like no other. In the planetarium, students can see the Sun moving across the sky, eventually disappearing to allow the darkness to bring out the remarkable views. Here the students can see and identify stars, planets, comets, asteroids, satellites, meteorites and much more. In the Starlab, we can speed up time to allow us to observe the planets movement through space, watch the many stars shoot across the nighttime sky, see what earth looks like from space. The experiences are endless!
This is just one of the many opportunities that the Environmental Science program at 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
Just last week we hosted over a dozen fourth grade teachers for an Advancing STEM training. Now that the Elementary NYS Science Assessment has ended for 4th grade (moving to 5th grade in 2024), these teachers got busy learning about the new science standards (NYSSLS) and the CA BOCES Advancing STEM kits. Our Advancing STEM kits are inquiry-based science units that are aligned with the NYS Science Learning Standards.
Earlier in July, middle school teachers worked on learning the SEPUP Lab-Aids middle school science curriculum. One unique characteristic of this company is their dedication to embedding literacy strategies into the lessons. They make use of a Science Lab Notebook as students reflect, explain their understanding, revise their models and explanations, make predictions, prepare oral arguments, and take notes to guide their reading.
Especially true with the new science standards, students need opportunities to read, write, and talk like scientists do. Knowing how and when to use these skills is scientific literacy. The means to discovery and the acquisition of the knowledge, skills, and nature of science heavily relies on literacy skills like reading, writing, and talking. However, literacy skills should not be the end unto themselves. Students should have a purpose to reading as they learn literacy skills. “Literacy is a domain in search of content” according to Dr. Jacquey Barber, and “Science is a discipline in need of communication”. So literacy needs science and science needs literacy!
There has always been a question about how students best learn science and as literacy has been more and more emphasized over the past couple of decades, disciplines such as science have become progressively marginalized in elementary classrooms. Some educators insist students must be engaged in hands-on open-ended activities, whereas others have their students read about scientific ideas to gain an understanding of science concepts.
Based on a study by Dr. Barber, students who engaged in a combination of doing and talking, and reading and writing gained much more scientific knowledge than students who engaged in a strictly hands-on approach or students who engaged in a strictly reading and writing approach. Students involved in the do-talk-read-write approach were motivated to read as they investigated a scientific phenomenon. They were excited to discuss and write about their discoveries.
The NYSSLS are transformational. They include science literacy practices within the standards: Constructing explanations, engaging in argument from evidence, obtaining, evaluating, and communicating information are integral to the discipline of science. We are not born knowing how to do these skills, and so they must be explicitly taught so students understand how to figure out the phenomenon and communicate about it.
Instead of science being a marginalized subject, what if it provides a storyline for math and literacy? Science lessons should be framed with a scientific purpose where students are using science (literacy) skills to figure something out. This scientific purpose provides a common thread to link literacy skills (and math skills!). Our Advancing STEM kits already provide this storyline.
I’m hoping to work over this coming school year with elementary teachers of our region to integrate more literacy strategies into our kits so students are reading, writing, and talking like scientists as they investigate real-life phenomena. Stay tuned for collaboration opportunities that I would love to have your elementary teachers be a part of!
If you’re a podcast person, this: Summer '22 Rewind: The symbiotic relationship between literacy and science with Jacquey Barber (buzzsprout.com) expands on much of what you’ve read here and offers some other resources that I will be delving into as I work on this project!
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Pioneering Assessment Development
The New York State Education Department not only developed a new framework for Social Studies instruction five years ago but had also developed a new format for both the Global History and Geography Regents exam and the United States History & Government Regents exam.
We have yet to see the initial administration of the US exam, but that has not prevented teachers from preparing students for this new assessment format and structure.
Change can be difficult at any time and in any profession, but in education having multiple changes simultaneously can be extremely overwhelming. However, the combination of changes has brought an opportunity to review and revise social studies curriculum across multiple grade levels. One district that has spent time focusing on these changes and developing assessments that align to the content and the format of the state changes has been the Pioneer Central School District.
This month teachers at Pioneer worked to conduct assessment analysis of state administered assessments and assessments they had used in the past.
They examined ways in which they could both replicate the format and performance expectations though modifying their assessment structure and creating items that were uitl uses the NYS Task Models for assessment.
Utilizing a stimulus source, constructing the language to reflect that of the Task Models from NYS, and modifying the format of assessments, teachers were able to develop questions and tasks that prepared students for what they will eventually see in the form of assessment as they enter High School.
Spending time doing this type of curriculum development and assessment building work not only enhances the professional practice and understanding of the teachers involved but allows them to prepare the students for what they will be asked to accomplish when they are assessed in the future.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
The 2021-2021 school year presented school districts across New York the opportunity to participate in a pilot program that gave students the chance to earn a Seal of Civic Readiness with their school diploma.
Multiple schools from across the state applied to participate in the pilot, including one from our CABOCES region, Salamanca High School. This program was created to offer students a wide variety of choices and opportunities to acquire and use their skills, mindsets and experiences to attain civic readiness. New York State defines civic readiness as the ability to make a positive difference in the public life of our communities through the combination of civic knowledge, civic skill, and civic action. To obtain and receive the Seal students need to earn multiple points based in demonstrating their Civic Knowledge and their Civic Participation. Schools have the flexibility to adjust projects and experiences to student interest and outcomes.
The Salamanca pilot was led by Global teacher Justin Hubbard who led his department in creating and adopting the criteria necessary to meet the requirements of the seal and his students in working to demonstrate participation to earn the seal. Students worked in various capacities of research, analysis, and presentation to demonstrate their knowledge and share information pertaining to the topics and projects they worked on. Several students were also able to travel to Washington, D.C. to participate in lobbying sessions with members of Congress.
Congratulations and thank you to the Salamanca SCR Committee and the students for all the work they completed and gaining valuable learning experience participating in this unique opportunity.
By: Rob Griffith, CA BOCES Professional Development
In recent years, educators have been working carefully to meet the ever-growing social and emotional needs of the students they serve. This includes attending professional learning opportunities, exploring new resources and connecting with educators in other districts to hear about how they are approaching SEL within their learning environments. One of the ways that Community Schools has been able to support SEL at the classroom level is by modeling the use of some of the new SEL resources developed by our Learning Resources team, commonly known as ‘SEL Kits’.
As educators within the region started to learn about the new SEL Kits, some had asked for support in how and where to use them within daily instruction. The ‘Be Brave Kit,’ is a great place to start when integrating SEL Kits into the classroom, as the contents of the kit are simple and versatile, yet facilitate some critical learning around neuroscience and emotion, particularly anxiety. The ‘Be Brave Kit,’ contains three books by the author Karen Young, “Hey, Warrior,” “Hey Awesome,” and “But We’re Not Lions.”
Recently, I had the pleasure of joining Kristin Rocco’s life skills classroom at Ellicottville Central School and Danielle Norton’s second grade classroom to model the use of “Hey, Warrior,” and help students understand why anxiety feels the way it does and where the physical symptoms come from. In collaborating with both teachers, we decided best to utilize the circle format to illicit maximum engagement in the lesson, as students are familiar with the process. Each class separately engaged in conversation around “scary” feelings, being worried and what happens in our bodies when we are anxious. We were able to use the book to add to our conversation and share some new learning about what happens in the brain and body when our amygdala switches on and fear and worry drive our actions. Students were able to practice some familiar skills of belly breathing and positive affirmations and make connections into how such skills can empower them in uncertain situations that may provoke feelings of anxiety.
It was an honor to witness such profound learning taking place in each classroom at ECS and we thank both teachers for partnering with Community Schools to explore one of our new SEL Kits. If you are interested in exploring any of the SEL Kits that are available, please visit resources.caboces.org or reach out to Alex_Freer@caboces.org. If your classroom or district is interested in collaborating with Community Schools to facilitate a lesson in SEL, please reach out to Kathryn_mendell@caboces.org.
By: Katie Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
Teachers in all CA BOCES districts have access to many ebooks and audiobooks for personal use. Whether commuting to work or committed to yard work, audiobooks are engaging when multi-tasking. Some titles I have read in OverDrive are: Memoirs of a Geisha (fascinating), Devil in the White City (historical, feats of engineering, and a heavy dose of macabre), The Exiles (soon to be on Netflix) and Think Again (choosing courage over comfort). Content includes historical, biographical, Pulitzer Prize winners, self-help, New York Times Best Sellers, fantasy, horror, and there’s titles to support professional development, too.
Currently, I’m listening to the memoir Finding Me by Viola Davis. Ms. Davis is an accomplished actress having received an Academy Award, a Primetime Emmy Award, and two Tony Awards. She is the only African-American to achieve the Triple Crown of Acting! The audiobook is narrated by the author and as such, delivers raw insight into poverty and being black Her story is one of hardship, resilience, and amazing achievement.
Audiobooks and ebooks help develop and strengthen comprehension, fluency, and vocabulary. This year, over 2000 ebooks have been checked out by students in the region. Cattaraugus-Little Valley takes the lead with the most student check-outs and Franklinville’s Ten Broeck Academy ties with Allegany-Limestone with the most teacher assigned titles.
If you are wondering what the top 10 titles are for students this school year, here they are:
Brian's Hunt: Hatchet Series, Book 5
A Tale of Two Kitties: Dog Man Series, Book 3
We All Fall Down
Wrecking Ball (Diary of a Wimpy Kid Book 14)
The New Jim Crow: Mass Incarceration in the Age of Colorblindness
Grime and Punishment: Dog Man Series, Book 9
Naruto, Volume 1: Uzumaki Naruto
The River: Hatchet Series, Book 2
Diary of a Wimpy Kid: Diary of a Wimpy Kid Series, Book 1
One of Us Is Lying: Series, Book 1
If you want to know more about using Sora personally or with students, reach out to your school librarian or contact me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces.org
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Give a Hoot!
Meet the Meeting Owl Camera, a new tool for video conference engagement!
The Meeting Owl camera has the capability to show an entire room of people or narrow the field of vision to a smaller view. The camera incorporates both a microphone and a speaker so all can be seen and heard. The Meeting Owl has a feature that will focus on the speaker(s) as they participate in the connection. Additionally, the Meeting Owl is platform agnostic making it incredibly versatile.
Does it sound too good to be true? Well, it may get even better...
The Meeting Owl camera can be paired with a Whiteboard Owl camera as well. This additional tool allows the presenter to write on the whiteboard and have the image(s) appear on the board as the presenter continues writing or creating images and presenting. This Whiteboard Owl camera makes the presenter semi-transparent while the writing/images on the whiteboard remain prominent.
The Meeting Owl is coming to your district! Each district in the CA BOCES Distance Learning CoSer will be receiving one Meeting Owl for use in their district. See your Technology Director for an opportunity to explore and use this incredible tool for use in classrooms, professional development, virtual meetings, etc.
If you'd like time to explore the Whiteboard Owl camera, please contact Karen Insley, Distance Learning Coordinator.
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
THE FLOWER MOON
We just finished the month of April, which is sometimes known as Earth Month since Earth Day has been celebrated on April 22nd each year since 1970. Arbor Day is also the last Friday in April, when we are reminded to plant trees. But May is when we really start to reap the benefits of Earth’s springtime! After a relatively cold April (with a couple of warm days to tease us), May is a time we can really start to rub our winter-weary eyes and stretch our legs as we venture outside to see things come alive. May begins with a lime-green undertone to all the brown-grey branches and ends in a full explosion of leaves in our faces! Somewhere in between the tiny buds on the trees burst open to reveal the trees’ means of reproduction – their flowers. There is always a hint scientific truth to weather cliches, such as “April showers bring May flowers!” Many Native American cultures call the full moon of May “the Flower Moon”, very simply because of the obvious occurrences in nature during this time of year.
This year’s May full moon is on May 15th. As a bonus, this Flower Moon will undergo a total eclipse! An eclipse of the moon (lunar eclipse) happens when the Earth blocks the Sun’s light rays from reaching the moon. We can actually watch the shadow of the Earth cross the moon! To see this one, it will need to be a clear night on May 15th. The eclipse begins at 9:30pm that night and reaches totality (when Earth’s shadow completely covers the moon) around 11:30pm. You will know totality has occurred when the moon appears to turn a reddish hue. This is due to the Sun’s light rays refracting through Earth’s atmosphere, essentially bending around Earth’s surface to reach the moon. Let’s hope for a cloudless mid-May!
To get in the spirit of May, a fun activity is to make seed bombs. They are super easy, can become a springtime tradition, and are a fun gift! An added bonus to this Earth-friendly activity is that you can use paper scraps from a past craft activity, that would otherwise be thrown away.
You will need:
To make seed bombs:
You can make this springtime activity into an experiment. For each of the following options, see which variable makes the plants grow best. Keep track of the plant growth over time by measuring and taking observations down on a data table.
CA BOCES Advancing STEM Kits help elementary students understand our natural world. In Kindergarten, Grade 2, and Grade 5 students learn about what it takes for plants to grow, while students in Grade 1 and Grade 5 discover patterns of our moon. For more information about Advancing STEM Kits, check out our website, or contact me anytime!
Notice: The deadline is fast-approaching for an institute for teachers that are determined to implement the new science standards effectively. This is a chance to build NYSSLS-aligned assessments and integrate them into their classroom. There is an associated stipend as well as CTLE. The application process will be competitive and the deadline to apply is May 15th. Please share this opportunity with elementary teachers and secondary science teachers: Building and validating NGSS/NYSSLS Classroom Assessments
By: Kelli Grabowski, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Reading aloud to students leaves an impression for life-long reading and motivation for creative thinking. There are endless opportunities to foster creativity, problem-solving, questioning, and critical thinking skills through reading aloud to students. Interest, creativity, and visionary thinking became the focal points of the school wide read aloud with the book The Wild Robot by Peter Brown.
Throughout the month of March, Friendship Central School engaged students in a district wide reading of the novel, The Wild Robot in search of the answer to the question, “Can a robot learn to survive in the wilderness?” Students listened to the school administrators, Judy May (superintendent), Chris Cornwell (K-12 principal), and Paul Gilbert (assistant principal) as they eloquently demonstrated fluent reading to the district. Teachers, students, staff, cleaning personnel, and assistants participated as well. This experience exposed students to the real-world problems of communication, learning to get along with others, respect, and empathy for all.
Research shows that reading aloud helps students wrestle with complex ideas in a safe environment. Through literature, children begin to see themselves, other cultures, and communities. They explore classic and universal concepts such as relationships with families and friends that help children understand the social fabric of the world in which they live. (Gold, Gibson; nd). Elementary students at Friendship CSD exemplified this learning through projects. Several students, in partnership with their families, analyzed the main character by creating robots from loose parts. Other students understood the story from the perspective of the setting and created replicas of their mental images of the story setting.
Along with the adventure through story, middle school students participated in a career exploration. As a result of reading this novel, students showed an interest in robotics and how robots are changing the world. A representative from Keyence, Christopher Rickicki, presented careers in robotics and answered questions about automation in factories. Several students were inspired to learn more about technology and coding languages through this presentation.
Many conversations, activities, and fun learning experiences happen when we read aloud to students. If you are interested in learning more about engaging in a district-wide read aloud, you can request information at www.readtothem.org
By, Michelle Rickicki, CA BOCES Professional Development
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