In September, several members of the CA BOCES ISS team had the opportunity to attend the Staff/Curriculum Development Network conference with Larry Ainsworth, educational expert on standards and formative assessment. It was an intensive day of exploring curriculum development through prioritizing standards. Members of the team worked with other Curriculum Coordinators from across the state in Math, Science, ELA, and Social Studies to examine the standards, learning how to prioritize, and the implications such work has on curriculum and assessment.
Because each discipline has dozens of standards, Larry Ainsworth argues that to develop curriculum, prioritizing the standards is a critical step in the process. Throughout the work we did, Larry made sure to say that just because some standards are prioritized, it does not mean the other standards do not matter. We worked with an analogy of a fence, seeing prioritized standards as posts and supporting standards as rails. Seeing standards in this light can help teachers determine what to elevate in instruction, and what standards are foundational to building other skills.
In his book, Rigorous Curriculum Design, criteria is established for looking at each standard to determine whether it should be prioritized. There are four lenses to examine each standard through: Readiness, Endurance, Leverage, and External Exams. Readiness represents how the standard prepares students for next level learning. Endurance of a standard determines whether it’s a concept or skill that lasts over time. Leverage of a standard means that it has interdisciplinary connections. Finally, standards should be looked at through how they are assessed on external exams.
Due to the size of the group and the multiple different disciplines we were working with, we examined the standards through for readiness, endurance, and leverage. In small groups, teams reviewed standards at a particular grade level through the lenses, trying to establish a list of standards that should be prioritized. The conversations were fantastic and allowed for in-depth discussion on not only the standard, but the implementation of the standard in the classroom.
Because of the depth of analysis of the standards, Brendan Keiser and Sarah Wittmeyer facilitated the prioritization process with the Middle School/High School English Language Arts CLC in October. Teachers were divided by grade level bands, and in small groups looked at the standards through the first three lenses.
After the standards were reviewed through those lenses, we added in the data from the 6-8 ELA State Tests and the English Regents Exam regarding the most frequently assessed standards. This allowed for another layer and added in-depth discussion on what standards should be prioritized.
The purpose of the activity with the CLC was not to give teachers a list of standards to prioritize in their curriculum, but rather to give teachers a protocol by which to examine the standards. The process included discussions on unpacking the language, understanding what the standard looks like in the classroom, and the importance of the standard at the particular grade level. Teachers walked away with the ability to replicate the process in district, but also a more comprehensive understanding of the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards.
By: Sarah Wittmeyer, CA BOCES Professional Development
K-12 English teachers from the Cattaraugus-Allegany region came together in grade banded Collaborative Learning Communities this October. The Middle and High School ELA CLC has seen many years of successful collaboration and we’re excited that we now have two additional CLCs to support our K-2 and 3-5 teachers. Our K-2 and 3-5 CLC offerings are split into a Math/Science focus and an ELA/SS focus for two sessions apiece this year.
During the first day of the Middle School and High School ELA CLC, facilitated by Brendan Keiser and Sarah Wittmeyer, teachers were able to do a crosswalk between the old Common Core State Standards and the new Next Generation English Language Arts Standards. For a few hours, teachers poured over the changes that have been made to the standards as well as delved into conversations about how to implement them in their classrooms. The day continued with learning and sharing new technology tools to use for instruction and vocabulary strategies to implement with students.
The Elementary CLCs, K-2 facilitated by Tessa Levitt and Marguerite Andrews and 3-5 facilitated by Tessa Levitt and Sarah Wittmeyer, provided teachers with an opportunity for focused professional development in ELA and Social Studies. During the first of two ELA/SS sessions, the K-2 and 3-5 CLCs delved into the Introduction to the Next Generation English Language Arts Standards and discussed the changes in the standards. The rest of each day was spent analyzing regional and district data trends and collaborating with colleagues to learn about and share strategies to support priority standards.
We look forward to future sessions of our CLCs. It is wonderful to see teachers from around the region in one room learning with and from each other.
By: Sarah Wittmeyer, CABOCES Professional Development
It was “that time of year again”, for our 6-8 Middle School Math CLCs to meet as a collaborative learning community. It’s a great opportunity for teacher in the C-A region to come to learn, discuss, and collaborate ideas for classroom implementation. On October 4th, teachers came to The Barn Training Room to attend the second of three meetings. The day started off with some learning focused around the mathematical practices, and how teachers can implement them in their planning and preparation for the classroom. The next part of the day focused around the review of the newly adopted, Next Generation Math Standards. Teachers were given an overview of the changes from kindergarten through high school, and how the changes would look in each grade level. Teachers had rich and thoughtful discussions surrounding the implementation of the new standards by the school year 2020-2021. Another portion of the day was used to look at the activities the PD team brought back from Albany, including learning through Algebra Tiles. The day was rounded out by digging deep into NYS test data for the 6-8 math assessments, as well as looking at released test questions, and planning instruction for units with colleagues at the CLC.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development; Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources; and Ryan McGinnis, CA BOCES Professional Development
Teachers from across the Cattaraugus-Allegany region participated in Day #2 of our 6-8 Math CLC. Karen Insley and I walked our participants though several hands-on, cooperative, and challenging activities. The activities included looking at PBL (Project Based Learning), structures for teachers to use with their students, including cooperative grouping activities, being sure to stress the importance of student to student collaboration with mathematical content.
Teachers were given a task (project) and were asked to work on the beginning stages of it. They saw how this type of learning could be incorporated into their lesson planning, and how PBL could look in a mathematics classroom. Teachers saw the structures modeled, and then discussed how they could use the structures in their own classrooms. Many ideas were shared, including ideas for extension for advanced students, as well as modification for students who may need more scaffolding.
Teachers were given time to create lessons, and materials they could use in their classrooms immediately, as well as in the future. They walked away with over five different structures to use with their students. The day was successful, and teachers could collaborate and learn from each other as well as from the facilitators! Our next 6-8 Math CLC is on March 14, 2017.
By Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
The First Day of the Rest of Your Life: CABOCES Teacher Academy Supports New Teachers in Today’s Ever-Evolving Classroom
The bell rings on the first day of school, and the students come rushing through the halls, waiting for the ever-important moment they get to meet their new teacher. Throughout the Cattaraugus-Allegany region, we welcome many new teachers who, for some, are gearing up to their first classroom experiences, and in many cases, are just as eager as those students to get the school year underway. In an effort to assist new teachers, CA BOCES has continued to offer a collaborative-learning community for new teachers. Teacher Academy has opened its doors to those educators looking for a place to ask questions, share ideas, and collaborate with people experiencing many of the same successes and challenges as themselves.
Just as on the first day, new teachers were placed in a novel situation with colleagues, engaging in conversation, and reflecting on those first days of school: what went well? What didn’t? What would we change in the future? What are we looking forward to? As new teachers have found time and time again, it is vital that there be reflection on the instructional approaches implemented in the classroom. Many participants were able to share their personal experiences in an open forum and hear the thoughts and insights of others as to the ups and downs of their own first days.
One major element of new teacher experiences is the mentorship program that their school has set into play. Teachers seek out insight and advice from a mentor in their school building. As a part of this year’s academy, teachers are exploring the work of Meenoo Rami and her book Thrive: 5 Ways to (Re)Invigorate Your Teaching. Rami advises new teachers to not get caught in the rut of seeking out the insights of one, but rather finding professional advice in a multitude of places, be it online networks, regional training experiences, or in their school building. Rami holds that one mentor is simply not enough, and so, new teachers were tasked with the challenge of finding an additional mentor to guide them in their professional experiences of year one.
As the initial session came to a close, this year’s participants were asked to set professional goals to support their growth as practitioners over the course of their first years. The goals, which ranged from organizational improvement, to classroom management strategy implementation, were established as a means to set a target for those teachers new to the schools in the CA-region. Often times, a first-year teacher has to grapple with many challenges, from lesson planning to time management, to learning the curriculum. In setting professional goals, the teachers in the program have an aim to work towards, and in turn, can also be reflective practitioners that consider what has worked for them, and what has not.
The Teacher Academy CLC has, and will continue to strive to support new teachers as they work through their first experiences in the classroom. In engaging in professional conversation, reflecting on personal practices, and setting goals, today’s new teachers will be outfitted with the tools to make this school year, and those for years to come, a true success.
For more information regarding the New Teacher Academy Collaborative Learning Community, please reach out toLauren Stuff at firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Lauren Stuff, CA BOCES Professional Development
This August area High School Math teachers gave up some of their time to come together to work on preparing for the upcoming school year. With the transition to the Common Core over the last two years most have grown accustom to the format of the NYSED Modules on EngageNY. However, even though some Algebra I teachers have had two years under their belt (and Geometry completing their first year of using the Common Core standards) they came together to share ideas of what they’ll look to tweak for this school year. Those teaching Algebra II also worked on adapting the modules for this first year of implementation of Common Core Algebra II. Throughout the two sets of 2-day offerings in August teachers were able to share ideas with others and have time to plan to hit the ground running next month.
As things continue to change for this trainsition to the new Common Core Algebra II exam you can find any and all of the approved High School Regents changes and/or resources at EngageNY: https://www.engageny.org/resource/regents-exams-mathematics
Resources shared for area teachers are also posted in our CABOCES HS Moodle course at: http://moodle.caboces.org/demo/course/view.php?id=471
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By: Mark Carls, CA BOCES and Hinsdale Central School
With the new High School Geometry standards and first installment of the Geometry Regents this June, area teachers have met to start collaborating on the best path to address this new assessment. During the summer and then again in early October in face-to-face sessions high school math teachers . These sessions will continue with online collaborations through Adobe Connect after New York State Education Network Team dates. Through these sessions teachers shared ideas to best address these new standards from different textbooks to utilizing technology like Geogebra and pacing out material for the year.
Through the generosity of a PEP Grant awarded to the Portville and Cattaraugus-Little Valley Central School Districts, physical educators from across the region have been gathering over the last year as a Collaborative Learning Community.
With meetings alternating between Houghton College and the Olean Main Center, teachers have had time to explore best practices and strategies both inside and outside of the physical education classroom setting. PE teachers have heard presentations on DASA/bullying, law issues in sports and athletics, SLO’s and APPR, and the academic benefits of physical education. In the gym, they’ve shared lesson and warmup ideas, including ways to integrate technology in education, and have headed outside to explore Houghton’s Ropes Course.
Together, they have established a Weebly to share information online and have been given access to a Physical Educators email list-serve. Our hope is that they are able to establish collegial relationships that extend outside of our workshops and improve their practice on a regular basis.
The next Active PE Forum is scheduled for Friday, May 30th at Houghton College. To register, please contact Laurie Sledge at 376-8357 or email@example.com.
Looking at the Year Ahead: Teacher Academy Works to Support Teachers in Today’s Ever-Evolving Classroom