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
Pixar in a Box Meets Khan Academy
We are storytellers. Notice that I used “we.” Some people prefer sharing stories through writing, others through video, and others through song. Regardless of the medium, we are all storytellers--every one of us.
The question then becomes, “How do we go about telling our stories?” To find the answer, look no further than Pixar’s collaboration with Khan Academy, Pixar in a Box. While the curriculum contains 15 units, The Art of Storytelling is central to story creation and development and is bolstered with six modules to help anyone guide their storytelling much like Pixar has done for over three decades.
The Art of Storytelling
Model Schools Coordinator, Rob Miller, and I first explored The Art of Storytelling curriculum this past March at the South by Southwest EDU (SXSW EDU) conference with Elyse Klaidman, co-leader of the team at Pixar that created, developed, and promoted Pixar in a Box. In her two-hour, hands-on session, Elyse shared her recommendations for utilizing the curriculum on Khan Academy in the middle-high school classroom (disclaimer - I must have been so engrossed in learning that I excluded a piece of the puzzle and numbered incorrectly):
English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community
After returning from SXSW EDU, Rob and I shared our learning with the Professional Development team at CA BOCES. Seeing our enthusiasm and a clear connection to the NYSED ELA learning standards, Sarah Wittmeyer and Brendan Keiser collaborated with us to include The Art of Storytelling in the next Middle School/High School English Language Arts Collaborative Learning Community (MS/HS ELA CLC).
Educators from Allegany-Limestone, Bolivar-Richburg, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Friendship, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, West Valley, and Whitesville school districts followed a process similar to the one I experienced with Elyse by working through the Getting Started with Pixar in a Box: The Art of Storytelling document in conjunction with the available video lessons over the course of approximately two hours. However, The Art of Storytelling could be easily extended to one week, one month, or one marking period (or longer) if desired. This process could even be developed into a course to include not only storytelling, but also design, effects, simulation, animation, character modeling, and more.
Maybe you aren’t convinced that you are a storyteller; perhaps you feel like you don’t have what it takes to write, produce, or create something valuable. If that really is you, I think the Introduction to Storytelling with Pixar in a Box can help. If that isn’t you and you are interested learning more about Pixar, or if you are looking to expand your storytelling strategies, you can start there, too.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
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