The Region 19 Odyssey of the Mind tournament was scheduled to take place on Saturday, March 14 at Allegany-Limestone Middle/High School. The ISS Student Programs team, along with 30 teams across the region, were packed and ready. On March 12, the announcement was made to cancel the tournament. For many of us, this was the first indicator that our lives were about to change dramatically.
The five remaining regional tournaments across New York state also canceled, as did the NY State Tournament. However, there are some worthwhile points to remember:
It is cathartic to reminisce, and it is also exciting to look ahead to next year. The 2020-2021 Problem Synopses have been released at https://www.odysseyofthemind.com/2021ltproblems/.
There is no doubt that the teams, coaches, and the Student Programs team will be ready to think creatively, solve problems, and adjust to new challenges that will be on the horizon. After all, that is what Odyssey of the Mind is all about.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs
Q: What do you get when you connect over 80 students, 23 teachers and administrators, 24 CABOCES ISS staff members, who are miles apart, each safely in their own homes, across 2 counties?
A: The first ever regional Virtual Scholastic Challenge
On May 1st, twenty teams from twelve area school districts got together, virtually, using Zoom.
42 matches took place over the course of the day, with nearly 1000 questions read aloud. Teams, made up of 3-4 students each, mastered using an online buzzer system that created fast paced and exciting matches. The students combined an impressive display of intelligence and good sportsmanship as the match facilitators measured their ability to recall facts from a wide variety of topics. There was an exciting energy throughout the day, as summed up by ISS Digital Resources & Technology Coordinator, Alex Freer, one of the match readers, who said, “What a joy to be a part of today!”
Shannon Wood, Franklinville Central School’s coach added, “Please extend our thanks to all of the BOCES staff that participated in pulling off the VSC! It was really a great change of pace for the kids! They look forward to this and you accomplished the new format very smoothly! Thank you for all of your hard work!”
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.
Thank you to the 12 school districts that participated:
CABOCES applauds all the students and coaches who were willing and enthusiastic to try something unknown. Everyone learned together, overcame challenges, enjoyed the camaraderie, while having fun. Students, coaches, and match facilitators practiced and prepared for the new format and rules by participating in virtual scrimmages for 3 weeks prior to the May 1st competition.
As Tim Cox, Assistant Superintendent for ISS said, “It’s events like this that really bring our region together…especially now.”
Jean Oliverio, ISS Student Programs
Cuba, New York – Wednesday, January 15, 2020 – Twenty-seven VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties attended the 2nd annual VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, January 15, 2020. Students competed with and against teams from Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Franklinville, Genesee Valley, Hinsdale, Pioneer, Portville, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville. The middle and high school students executed the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover, which is played by placing different colored cubes in towers and goal zones during a 2-minute match.
Congratulations go out to 4 teams from Cuba-Rushford and Franklinville. Specifically, 2 Cuba-Rushford teams (Rebel Robotics and Yellow Team), who formed an alliance and went on to become Tournament Champions. The Franklinville (Wasted Potential) team earned the Excellence Award and the Franklinville (The Ratz) team earned the Design Award. These four teams qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship to be held in Syracuse on February 29.
Additionally, the Judges Award was presented to the Wellsville team (Big Cat Robotics) to acknowledge their outstanding Engineering Notebook.
The Volunteer of the Year Award was given to Alex Palowitch from iDesign Solutions.
To prepare for the tournament, students worked together to design, build and program a semiautonomous robot that could quickly and efficiently solve the specific challenges of the 2019-2020 VEX Robotics Competition game, Tower Takeover. Teams studied electronics, programming, mechanical systems, animation, 3D CAD, computer aided machining, web design, and materials fabrication. An equally important set of skills is learned through competition: communication, negotiation, project management, time management and teamwork.
The tournament was possible because of a tremendous collaborative effort between Cuba-Rushford school and CABOCES. The CABOCES Tech Support team, along with ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs) worked together to make the tournament a success. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Alex Palowitch from iDESIGN Solutions.
The Cuba-Rushford Qualifying Tournament is one of a series of VEX Robotics Competitions taking place internationally throughout the year. VEX Competitions are the largest and fastest growing competitive robotics programs for elementary schools, middle schools, high schools and college aged students around the world. VEX Competitions represent over 24,000 teams from 61 countries that participate in more than 1,650 VEX Competition events worldwide. The competition season culminates each spring, with VEX Robotics World Championship, a highly anticipated event that unites top qualifying teams from local, state, regional and international VEX Robotics Competitions to crown World Champions. More information about the VEX Robotics Competition is available at RoboticsEducation.org, RobotEvents.com and VEXRobotics.com. To find out how to become involved in VEX Robotics in the CABOCES region, email email@example.com or call 716-376-8323.
About the REC Foundation
The Robotics Education & Competition Foundation manages the VEX Robotics Competition, which thousands of schools participate in around the world each year. REC states that one million students are reached worldwide through all the VEX robotics programs, classrooms, and competitions.
The REC Foundation seeks to increase student interest and involvement in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) by engaging students in hands-on, sustainable and affordable curriculum-based robotics engineering programs across the U.S. and internationally. Its goal is to provide these programs with services, solutions, and a community that allows them to flourish in a way that fosters the technical and interpersonal skills necessary for students to succeed in the 21st Century. The REC Foundation develops partnerships with K-12 education, higher education, government, industry, and the non-profit community to achieve this work so that one day these programs will become accessible to all students and all schools in all communities. For more information on REC Foundation, visit www.RoboticsEducation.org.
Jean Oliverio, Student Programs, ISS, CABOCES
Districts are gearing up for the holiday season by traveling to the North Pole. You heard that right. Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Pioneer, West Valley, Fillmore, and Salamanca will be traveling Around the World with Santa and spending time with Mrs. Claus this season, right in their classrooms! These are just some of the types of trips available from the Distance Learning Department.
Christmas trips not really your thing? Randolph is participating in the classic Gingerbread Boy Virtual Experience from the Center of Puppetry Arts. We also have classroom collaborations like “Brown Bear” for elementary, or Career Connection Conversations for high school students that are all free to attend. December’s Career Conversation is with Meme Yanetsko of the Olean Area Chamber of Commerce. These free collaborations are brought to you by the New York State Distance Learning Consortium. The NYSDLC offers out a classroom collaboration for elementary and a Career Conversation session monthly for free for being a part of Distance Learning. Is there a topic you want to see in the offering? Let us know! We are always looking for new ideas to benefit our teachers.
We can find a virtual field trip experience for just about any topic that you come up with. We try our best to provide free/low cost opportunities that work with your curriculum. For more information or to schedule a Virtual Field Trip contact Carrie Oliver at firstname.lastname@example.org.
To see upcoming events check out the flyer here: https://www.smore.com/40vj6-upcoming-virtual-field-trips
By: Carrie Oliver, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Teams have been hard at work since the school year began to prepare for the Southern Tier’s largest Lego League tournament ever. The program, sponsored by BOCES, continues to grow by leaps and bounds in the Cattaraugus-Allegany region. On Saturday, November 16th, 27 teams from 14 school districts are participating in this year’s FIRST Lego League robotics tournament series held at Houghton College. Congratulations to Archbishop Walsh, Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Catt-Little Valley, Cuba-Rushford, Ellicottville, Fillmore, Franklinville, Friendship, Genesee Valley, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, and Whitesville for accepting the challenge to explore the fields of architecture and urban engineering.
First Lego League, a world-wide robotics program, was founded in 1989 to inspire young people's interest and participation in Science and Technology. Each year a new challenge is designed to motivate kids to get excited about research, engineering, math and problem solving, while building self-confidence, knowledge and life skills. Learn about this year’s challenge, City Shaper, here: https://firstinspiresst01.blob.core.windows.net/fll/2020/city-shaper-challenge.pdf
The Campus Center at Houghton College is the place to be on Saturday, November 16th to see more than two hundred 9-14 year old students, plus their coaches and families, and over 3 dozen volunteers discover innovative ways to explore robotics while having fun! Spectators are invited to attend to cheer on all the teams who tackled the City Shaper challenge. At the Closing Ceremony, the seven teams who will advance to the Championship Tournament at the University of Rochester on December 8 will be announced.
Southern Tier Lego League Tournament details:
Call or email BOCES Student Programs at 716-376-8323 for more information. We're looking forward to seeing everyone on Saturday, November 16! Thanks for supporting the Southern Tier Lego League teams!
Student Programs CABOCES
The 3rd Southern Tier Annual Film Festival was held at Allegany-Limestone Central School District on May 9th, 2019 under the direction of Suzan Snyder and was another amazing success. Teachers, parents, administrators, and students gathered together, watched student films, and awarded the trophy to the winning district, Cuba Rushford Central School. Participating districts included Alfred-Almond (@AlfredAlmondCS), Allegany-Limestone(@ALCSGator), Cuba-Rushford (@CR_REBELS), Fillmore (@FillmoreEagles), Olean (@OleanHighSchool), and Whitesville (@wcsbluejays).
As a teacher who loves to see the creativity of my students, to witness the brilliance of a new generation, to be part of collaborative communities, I look forward every year to the professional development that spearheaded the film festival. It is an ongoing experience that continues to bring teachers together–those that were there first and new faces that join each year.
Three years ago, a group of teachers gathered together for professional development offered by CA BOCES (@CABOCESit), bringing Dr. David Bruce from University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan from Houghton College to guide us in our efforts to learn to use digital media in our classrooms. We left that experience armed with new ideas for our classroom, exciting project-based assessments, our own creative pieces, and with a vague idea that we wanted to come together at the end of the school year and showcase our students’ efforts. We met periodically and fleshed out an idea for a film festival—a good spirited, but competitive event that would allow students to try to win a trophy for their school, and provide recognition among their peers and throughout their communities. We also wanted our students to create the artwork to advertise the festival so they could own this event alongside their teachers.
That vague idea became a fully developed festival. Now, each year towards the culmination of the school year, students enter their best work from throughout the year to a film committee. The committee picks thirty of the best films to showcase, selects winners based on specific criteria, and creates a flight sheet for one final award to be chosen by the audience at the end of the event. This year we had a wonderful artist, Jazlynn Sullivan of Olean High School, create the image for the posters to advertise the event and the programs.
As an English teacher, I am constantly amazed at the writing that comes out of these projects. Teachers ask students to tell a story, to shed light on an issue or a poem, to be a magician with images, to create a parody or satire, and they deliver at the film festival with glowing outcomes and to genuine applause. When we ask our students to put themselves in the spotlight, we are asking them to be vulnerable, to be real, to be exceptional. And they do not fail. Students create comedies and tragedies, extrapolate meaning from a poem through image and sound or investigate the way color is used in writing. Sometimes they look at what it means to be a teenager, magnifying difficult issues like bullying, violence, and trying to find their identity. Students are investigating the deep issues of their lives and sharing it with their teachers and then a wider audience so that we can search for answers or laugh or be afraid along with them.
Sometimes our students bring tears to our eyes. Sometimes the adults in the room go back in time, spend three minutes as the adolescents that we once were. That is what happens every year at this film festival. Every year another group of students radiates their authentic selves and ask the adults and companions in their lives to go with them on that journey.
This small film festival is growing every year. This year there were over 110 attendees. The students propelled the hard work of a small group of teachers into something great. For all the future festivals, we hope more teachers throughout the region will attend the five-day summer professional development opportunity and begin making digital projects and films in their classrooms with their students. We can’t wait to see the work of the students next year. Maybe it will be your students that win your district the trophy.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
In September 2018, school librarians attending the Collaborative Learning Community (CLC) were asked to set goals for the new school year. Some chose to look at their school’s student achievement goals while others focused on developing relationships with students and increasing collaboration with faculty. Meeting as a CLC throughout the year provided school librarians the opportunity to revisit goals and share success stories. Following are just a few highlights:
Amber Cheladyn, high school librarian at Allegany-Limestone, focused on building relationships with students. What started out as one teacher bringing special education students to the library has developed into a domino effect. More teachers have visited the library with their students where Amber has guided them through the process of borrowing OverDrive’s audiobooks and ebooks. Students are thrilled with being able to listen to popular fiction as well as those required for the curriculum.
Jody Thiel, PreK-12 librarian at West Valley Central School, focused on the long-term goal of increasing student achievement on the Regents and state assessment tests for ELA and Math. Increasing collaboration with teachers was her first step and has resulted in more projects this year. Jody has provided expertise to teachers on how to access CABOCES’ Insignia for borrowing items from CA BOCES and using the library’s online catalog for accessing databases and resources from the school’s library.
Elizabeth Brisky is the PreK-12 librarian at Franklinville. This year her school has been staircasing major subject areas and the specific writing and reading strands for each grade level. Elizabeth has participated in grade level meetings and programmed library instruction that builds on students’ areas of weakness. When she learned that genre was a difficult concept for students, Elizabeth created an entire unit on center-based activities that used genres, categorization of books, and writing activities for increasing student success.
In March, Dani Newman, PreK-12 librarian at Fillmore, recruited 30 students in grades 3-6 to participate in the IU9 Interscholastic Reading Competition in Bradford PA. When Dani shared her experience and her students’ excitement, other school librarians expressed an interest in recruiting their students to join in for next year’s event. Each team reads a total of forty pre-selected books and are responsible for knowing answers to questions asked during the competition. Librarians have received a list of titles for November’s competition which can also be used for summer reading.
Carli Wright is the new librarian at Randolph High School this year. Her goal of fostering relationships with students and getting them into the library led to many creative endeavors. Inspired by Dani’s success with the reading competition, Carli has connected with the Randolph Public Library to make sure her newly formed middle school team has what they need to read over the summer.
The Librarian’s CLC provides important networking for school librarians and has consistently seen high participation levels. Thank you, school administrators, for recognizing the unique professional development needs of school librarians!
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Last year, Mark Beckwith and Sarah Wittmeyer collaborated on a project to create an online database of every test question that has been assessed on the 3-8 ELA and Math state assessments in the last few years. This database, the NYS Assessment Item Notebook, allows teachers to easily click a standard that has been assessed, which in turn generates a list of every released question that is connected to that standard. The Notebook is tremendously helpful because it contains all of this public information in one place, rather than having to open a myriad of PDFs.
Districts in our region have been using this tool in numerous ways. At Cuba-Rushford, middle school ELA teachers have been analyzing the question stems to notice patterns in how standards are being assessed. For example, teachers noted that many questions reference specific paragraphs, such as “How do paragraphs 3 and 4 contribute to the story?” By mirroring their own questions to students in this format, students will be more familiar with the structure of the state exam. Additionally, analyzing question stems can uncover vocabulary that students may need to help them succeed. For example, if students don’t understand what is meant by “contribute”, they may struggle right at the beginning of attempting to answer the question.
In Fillmore, middle school ELA teachers have created a mid-year benchmark assessment using the Assessment Item Notebook. Teachers reviewed their data to determine standards that are commonly assessed. Then they selected two passages and ten multiple choice questions to assess students with in January. The benefit to using these questions is that it will give them an indication of how students will perform against the rigor of the state assessment. Also, because they know which questions are connected to which standards, data analysis is easier and can offer areas for them to focus on before the state assessments.
If your district would like support in using the NYS Assessment Items Notebook to guide data analysis and instruction, please reach out to our team!
By: Brendan Keiser, CA BOCES Professional Development
The second Southern Tier Annual Film Festival (S.T.A.F.F.) was held at the Cuba-Rushford Central School District auditorium on Friday, May 18. Participating schools included Allegany-Limestone, Belfast, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Cuba Rushford, Fillmore, Olean, and Whitesville.
Administrators, teachers, parents, and students gathered together to watch and vote on student productions to see which district would take home the trophy.
Leading up to the event, Courtney Brisky, a student at Olean High school, created the artwork for posters to be distributed throughout districts across Allegany and Cattaraugus counties to advertise and promote the festival. Student submissions for the festival were due in mid-April and the finalists for the event were decided by graduate students at the University at Buffalo.
Audience members watched forty-three films, voting in a mere six films as finalists.
Finally, the moment came for the audience to choose the winning film and they selected a parody of the popular television sitcom, “The Office.” Students DeAndre Ahrens, Gabby Dutton, Hannah Erwin, Cody Findlay, Dana Hatch, Colston Saulter, Jonah Williamson, and Trenon Zeager took home the trophy for Cuba-Rushford. The trophy was previously housed at Fillmore Central School District and will now spend the year at Cuba-Rushford until next year’s festival.
Teachers have been preparing for this festival throughout the year by attending ongoing professional development offered by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES and presented by Dr. David Bruce at the University at Buffalo and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan at Houghton College. At the ongoing events, teachers hone their skills, brainstorm, and develop curriculum for teaching students to craft narratives, investigate the correlation between images and narrative, develop writing and media skills, and tap into creativity.
The first film festival developed out of a week-long summer professional development opportunity offered to English teachers through the region through a partnership by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, Houghton College, and the University at Buffalo. This opportunity culminated with the creation of the Southern Tier Annual Film Festival by teachers because they wanted to offer their students the same kind of enriching experience in the classroom and give students the chance to present their work to a live audience.
“Writing with Video: Rural Voices” is going to be offered this coming year to teachers in every discipline to hone their skills, collaborate, and plan future film festivals. If you have interest in bringing this unique opportunity to your students, look out for the upcoming summer institute as well as for future film festivals.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Congratulations to all teams that participated in this year's Odyssey of the Mind Region 19 Tournament!
The largest ever Scholastic Challenge Competition was held on Saturday, February 3 at Portville Central School. This annual event hosted a record breaking 44 teams who competed in a Junior Division and Senior Division, for grades 6-12.
Scholastic Challenge is a fast-paced contest that tests knowledge of academic trivia and current events. Teams of four students measure their ability to recall details from a wide variety of topics.
Congratulations to all the teams and to the first and second place teams in each division. Thank you to 50+ volunteers that made the event possible.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programming
The ROBOTC for VEX training at Pioneer High School was led by Jesse Flot, a Research Programmer & Senior Software Engineer for the Robotics Academy at Carnegie Mellon University (CMU), and Josh Jarvis, the lead developer for CMUs CS-STEM Network. In attendance were nearly thirty participants from various districts across the region (Allegany-Limestone CSC, Andover CSD, Belfast CSD, Bolivar-Richburg CSD, CA-BOCES Belmont CTE, CA-BOCES ISS, CA-BOCES ISS, Cattaraugus-Little Valley CSD, Cuba-Rushford CSD, Ellicottville CSD, Franklinville CSD, Fillmore CSD, Genesee Valley CSD, Hinsdale CSD, Pioneer CSD, Salamanca City SD, Scio CSD, and Whitesville CSD).
What is a robot, and what can we can we teach with it? These were the first two questions that Jesse Flot used to open the ROBOTC for VEX training. The first question is fairly direct: what is a robot? Perhaps you define a robot as something like Wall-E, or maybe to you a robot is Arnold Schwarzenegger from the Terminator. The definition is as simple as SPA: a robot is a device that has the ability to sense, plan, and act. What can we teach with a robot? This second question is more difficult to answer unless we first reflect on how we teach rather than the content of our teaching.
When teaching Algebra 1, my students would struggle with the concept of completing the square to rewrite quadratic expressions. Rather than using the skill of completing the square as a tool to accomplish a goal, I made the skill the learning goal; ultimately, it was not until I provided students with the necessary tools and shift my focus (using GeoGebra) that they were able to better understand the process of completing the square, how to use it, and when to use it. Similarly, “project-based learning (PBL) involves learning through projects rather than just doing projects,” says John Spencer. In other words, the goal of PBL is to focus on the learning process rather than a culminating project. Jesse explained what can be taught with robotics in the same way; he said, “the Robotics Academy at CMU uses robotics as a tool to teach programming; however, you can use robots to teach many other subjects and skills such as mathematics, physics, communication, teamwork, and time management.”
With these questions answered and an understanding that the VEX robots were a tool used to help teach programming, Jesse and Josh led participants through two days of hands-on training with the programming of ROBOTC as well as the hardware of VEX robots. Participants explored intuitive and basic commands using the block coding features of ROBOTC in conjunction with the physical features of the VEX robot the first day, and on day two, participants made the progression to virtual reality with Robot Virtual World software (RVW) and explored how the text commands of ROBOTC differ from its block coding commands.
In addition to Jesse’s 16 years of experience at CMU (12 of which being in professional development), the Robotics Academy’s research-based practices helped guide the hybrid training model. From anticipating participant questions to providing examples of student questions that participants should anticipate, Jesse and Josh led participants through a highly productive two days of learning. Jesse and Josh will continue this hybrid training online from mid-February through March in which participants will gain additional knowledge of the ROBOTC language, continue to track their progress with CMUs learning management system, and explore additional features of VEX robotics.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
Creative Professional Development turns into Collaborative Life-long Learning, Innovative Curriculum, and a Regional Annual Film Festival
This summer I played, and I learned simultaneously. I had the opportunity to attend the Writing with Video: Rural Voices Summer Institute with Dr. Sunshine Sullivan, associate professor of education at Houghton College, and Dr. David Bruce, associate professor of learning and instruction at the State University of New York at Buffalo (University at Buffalo) Graduate School of Education. Under the guidance of Tim Clarke, Senior Program Manager for Professional Development at Cattaraugus Allegany BOCES, this summer institute was presented to area teachers throughout Cattaraugus and Allegany counties for two consecutive summer sessions.
During the week-long institute, I worked alongside many other English teachers including Lacey Gardner (Whitesville), Michelle Grillo (Cuba-Rushford), Brendan Heaney (Fillmore), Michelle McGraw (Cuba-Rushford), Micah Rust (Fillmore), Suzan Snyder (Allegany-Limestone), Stephen Sorensen (Olean), Louis Ventura (Olean), and Sally Ventura (Olean). We collaborated, learned to use digital media on the fly with guidance from Dr. David Bruce and Dr. Sunshine Sullivan, and then created our own projects including narrative sequences, “Me in Six Words/Images,” video vocab, multi-genre e-publications, and “This I Believe” digital essays. These projects became model projects for our students when we incorporated similar projects into our curriculum. These models would help students use media alongside written reflections and heuristics to present their understanding of content and concepts.
The whole week was one of the most rewarding, challenging, and engaging professional development opportunities that I’ve been fortunate enough to attend – and it was difficult work. As Sally Ventura, a teacher at Olean High School said, "Rural Voices has been such an energizing experience! It has been as fun as it has been challenging. It has been a pleasure working with smart, creative colleagues in the area.”
The days at the institutes were packed and I was always surprised that it was time to go home. The amazing thing was that I didn’t stop learning and thinking when I walked out the door. Instead, I continued ruminating on the drive home. I tinkered with ideas at home. I filmed at home. I reworked difficult pieces. I researched. The entire week, from the moment that I woke up until I went to sleep, was spent planning, collaborating, developing, creating, and reflecting – exactly the kind of experience I want for my students. As Brendan Heaney said, “The work being done at the Institute is revolutionary. Teachers will learn how to truly incorporate technology in a way that enhances student literacy and composition skills. If you buy into this and utilize it in the classroom you will see student engagement go through the roof. You will also see some of the best quality work you’ve ever seen from students.”
Out of this experience, a project was born. Brendan Heaney worked tirelessly to help organize the First Annual Southern Tier Film Festival, an event where students from five districts competed for a prize for the best film. All the teachers involved in Rural Visions collaborated to help plan, develop, and contribute to this amazing event. The film festival was advertised regionally through social media, local newspapers, and radio stations.
On the night of the event, parents came to see their children’s work and creativity. Teachers attended to see their student’s efforts. Administrators attended to see the work of their teachers and their students and to have an opportunity to relax and enjoy some great film. It was truly a community event where students showcased their videography skills, thoughtfulness, and ingenuity to a real audience and competed for a chance to bring their school home a traveling trophy.
The film festival showcased thirty student films over the course of three hours with breaks and refreshments offered between each of the hour sessions. The audience voted for their favorite films with one final vote at the end to determine the school winner.
Out of this amazing grass-roots effort, came a multitude of class projects which culminated in an annual film festival. This year’s Southern Tier Annual Film Festival will be held tentatively at Cuba-Rushford toward the end of the school year.
Many of the teachers involved in the summer institute went on to present their learning experience using digital video in their own classrooms at the New York State English Council ( NYSEC) Annual Conference in Albany, NY held in October this year. Projects ranged from research thesis statements to video poems, documentaries, film class projects, and six-word memoirs. Dr. Sullivan remarked, “It was a privilege seeing our teachers present what they are doing in their classrooms as a result of our summer institutes and how well received it was by their audience at NYSEC. Our teachers are becoming teacher leaders in the field in writing with video. We are also looking forward to seeing our teachers attending and presenting at NCTE in St. Louis later this month.”
If you have an interest in entering student work in this year’s Southern Tier Annual Film Festival or attending the festival in preparation for next year, please look out for upcoming announcements at your school district or contact Christina McGee at email@example.com or (716) 376-8281.
If you would like to learn more about the Writing with Video: Rural Voices Summer Institute, please contact Tim Clarke at 716-376-8321 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As the new school year approaches, teachers in several districts (Cuba Rushford, Andover, Franklinville, Whitesville, Olean, Fillmore and Cattaraugus – Little Valley) learn the importance of helping students improve a set of thinking skills known as executive function skills. “Human beings have a built in capacity to meet challenges and accomplish goals through the use of high-level cognitive functions called executive skills. These are the skills that help us to decide what activities or tasks we will pay attention to and which ones we’ll choose to do.” (Hart & Jacobs, 1993) These functions are a set of cognitive processes, such as focus, memory and self-control, which enable us to manage information and complete tasks.
CA BOCES provided professional development opportunities for teachers to improve how students learn and develop executive function skills during their K-12 education and beyond. Teachers were informed how to recognize students who struggle with executive weakness, and what strategies can assist students in developing these skills.
Knowing Cognitive Capacities
In order for teachers to target specific executive function skills, they must first be able to identify them. Our teachers researched and developed strategies for the following list of executive function skills:
Teachers reflected on how these skills might exist in the classroom. For example, Students with weak working memory are unable to remember and apply crucial information in order to move to the next step of a task. They often struggle when a task requires them to remember a series of directions, generate ideas in response to the directions and then express their ideas. Information just doesn’t “stick” for them. Once the teacher recognizes a student needs to work on working memory, they can develop a list of strategies to address this learning problem.
Teachers realize it’s important to recognize that the same strategy won’t work for each student. Some students work better with visual cues than verbal cues, for instance. Teachers must differentiate thinking strategies for each student to help them meet full learning potential.
Exercises for Executive Function Skills
There are a number of exercises to help students develop thinking skills. Practices can range from computer games to improve memory skills to physical tasks such as balancing. Here are just a few examples of how teachers in our district have worked with students to improve their executive function skills.
Organization and Planning
Teachers can help students to master these tasks by encouraging students to write down important assignments in a calendar and to allocate time accordingly. Students can be taught how to make lists of homework assignments. Students can be encouraged to use brightly colored folders to take home important papers (like homework and permission slips) to and from school, so those items don’t get lost.
For short-term assignments, encourage students to picture the end result of completing the task and the positive emotion that may be attached to it. Students and teachers can brainstorm ways to make assignments more interesting.
Feeling vocabulary can be taught through books by discussing the feelings the characters had and asking the student to make connections to his own experiences. When the student begins to experience strong emotions, allow them to identify it, validate it and provide a clear direction about what could be done instead of the negative behavior.
When it comes to improving executive function skills during the school day, a step in the right direction is to set up time and programs that are devoted to these strategies. It can take as little as two minutes before class or a full 30-minute session.
The group concluded that students with well-developed executive function skills really hold the foundation to success in school, with their peers, in college and for a career. These skills are what provide individuals with the capacity to meet challenges and accomplish goals! Collaboratively we recognized the responsibility educators have to build these skills in ALL students.
If you are interested in learning more about how to enhance these skills and promoting school and social success for ALL students, please contact CA BOCES (Laurie Sledge at 716-376-8357).
By: Marguerite Andrews and Deanna Wilkinson, CA BOCES Professional Development
What is blended learning? Are we truly blending learning in our region? Yes we are! Below are examples of Michael B. Horn - The Christensen Institute’s blended learning models that are taking place across our region, and quite successfully!
While blended learning began in simple applications to serve students in situations where there was no other alternative, it has grown exponentially over the past ten years in the Cattaraugus Allegany region, where our region is recognized as the leader in online learning in New York State BOCES regions!
Michael B Horn’s and Heather Staker’s book, Blended: Using Disruptive Innovation to Improve Schools, lays out the process in a useful level of detail making it a must read for educators that want to take full advantage of tech-enabled learning. Staker shared, "I feel deeply sad when I see how many children do not have equal opportunities to high-quality schools. It's wrong that in a rich country with universal public education, zip code determines quality." But she feels fortunate to be living through the learning revolution where internet connectivity and personalized learning is “decimating old constructs about who gets what and introducing a new paradigm of shared access to the best learning experiences, regardless of geography.” (Education Week article - http://blogs.edweek.org/edweek/on_innovation/2014/09/blended_a_conversation_with_michael _horn_heather_staker.html)
What educational “trend” do you think is helping students? Is there a trend that is getting in the way of learning? Michael B. Horn adds, “Online learning, particularly in blended learning schools, gives students more and more ownership of their learning, this is a big deal as it can allow schools to individualize for each student’s unique learning needs.” (http://dailyedventures.com/index.php/2012/11/08/michael-horn/)
How do these online learning opportunities benefit students? Danielle, from Allegany- Limestone, replied, “I wish that I could have studied this way from the beginning of the year. When I’m in a classroom with people, I get distracted, but using APEX is great. The program is really straightforward. It tells me exactly what I need to know. Some days I let it read to me and sometimes I read myself. I came from Pennsylvania and the work was harder and my Biology class was in a different place and the online class is helping me.”
To learn more about successful blended learning models in schools, join CA BOCES in an Online/Digital Learning Showcase, where you can ask questions and view demos of 7 different online solutions for:
For more information about Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, April 19, 2017, from 8:00 a.m. - 1:30 p.m. at CABOCES Olean Center Conference Rooms, go to: http://dev.caboces.org/iss/calendar/2017-04.
By: Betsy Hardy, CA BOCES Distance Learning
The Scholastic Challenge Competition will be held on Saturday, February 4 at Portville Central School. This annual event, sponsored by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES (Student Programs CoSer #506) will host 36 teams who will compete in a Junior Division and Senior Division, for grades 6-12.
Scholastic Challenge is a fast paced contest that tests knowledge of academic trivia and current events. Teams of four students measure their ability to recall details from a wide variety of topics.
Fourteen school districts will be participating in the double-elimination contest this year. This translates to about 200 students and coaches. Throughout the day, several thousand questions will be read aloud to these ambitious teams. Spectators are encouraged to watch the competitions. It’s exciting to see the students combine an impressive display of intelligence with camaraderie, graciousness and good sportsmanship.
The final matches will be held on stage in the Portville auditorium around 1:15-2:15. The first and second place teams in each division will be presented with plaques to recognize their achievements, as well as an invitation to attend the 2017 National Academic Championship.
This event requires about 40 volunteers to make the day run smoothly. CABOCES Student Programs is grateful to everyone who donates their time and experience to provide a fun and educational day for the students in our area. Scholastic Challenge could not happen without their help!
Congratulations to all the teams participating this year. Thank you to all coaches for mentoring and encouraging your students. The following school districts will be attending on Saturday, February 4:
While building contractors remodeled Fillmore School this summer, Fillmore teachers renovated their traditional classrooms to incorporate blended learning. Fillmore will be implementing 1:1 devices for their K-12 students, and the teachers are readily adapting their classes to incorporate technology into daily instruction.
The CA BOCES Learning Resources and Model Schools teams worked with Fillmore teachers at Tech Camp for three full-day workshops. Teachers were introduced to Nearpod’s mobile interactive presentation software, Socrative’s quick assessment tool, Moodle’s Learning Management System, iPad Apps for Elementary and High School, CA BOCES Library and Media resources, and much more.
Opening discussion each day with the Fillmore teachers included:
Wendy Clark, who built a Moodle course she named Phenomenal Fourth Grade Readers shared, “I can't wait to use all of the fantastic apps that we learned about in my guided reading lessons! When we get our iPads; I’ll be all ready to go thanks to our summer tech training days!”
Cristin Glasner, MS Science Teacher added, “I had an amazing experience this summer. I brought back a huge amount of new knowledge on new technology to use in my science class. I was especially excited to incorporate Nearpod, Moodle, WEO and Edge factor into my classroom. I am so excited about using this technology to engage my students in their STEM lessons, add in Brain breaks, and trying some flipped lessons. This technology helps me make my content more relevant to my students and draws them into the lesson. They have so much fun, ask great questions, and have a better retention of the content.”
Every teacher at Fillmore has developed a Moodle course filled with interactive items for students, including: Math modules to reinforce math concepts, STEM videos, Music exploration videos, Spanish glossaries, Art concepts, Reading surveys, English journals and forums, Quizlet flashcards, Geography maps, News feeds from historical, language, STEM and Arts sites, and much more!
Fillmore’s journey to a 1:1 classroom environment has proven to highlight some great new strategies and tools that teachers are embedding into their day. Placing technology into the hands of every student allows students access to continue learning beyond the typical school day. Shaping the future of blended learning and global citizenship within the newly remodeled walls of Fillmore Central School is on an exciting path to great success.
By: Betsy Hardy, Distance Learning Coordinator, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Tenth graders from Andover, Belfast, Bolivar-Richburg, Cuba-Rushford, Fillmore, Portville, Scio, and Wellsville explored careers at Alfred State College. Over 40 businesses shared about careers in Allegany County. Student spent the day answering the question, "What's my next step?"
The Scholastic Challenge Competition will be held this Saturday, February 6 at Portville Central School. This annual event, sponsored by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, will host a total of 41 teams who will compete in a Junior Division and Senior Division, for grades 6-12.
Scholastic Challenge is a fast paced contest that tests knowledge of academic trivia. Teams of four students will measure their ability to recall details from a wide variety of topics.
Fourteen school districts will be participating in the double-elimination contest this year. This translates to about 250 students and coaches. Throughout the day, several thousand questions will be read aloud to these ambitious teams. Spectators are encouraged to watch the competitions. It’s exciting to see the students combine an impressive display of intelligence with camaraderie, graciousness and good sportsmanship.
The final matches will be held on stage in the Portville auditorium around 2:15-3:15 (these are approximate times). The first and second place teams in each division will be presented with plaques to recognize their achievements.
This event requires about 40 volunteers to make the day run smoothly. CABOCES Student Programs is grateful to everyone who donates their time and experience to provide a fun and educational day for the students in our area. Scholastic Challenge could not happen without their help!
The following school districts will be attending:
Hinsdale Central-2 teams coached by Kate Jedrosko
Cuba-Rushford - 4 teams coached by John Butler
Ellicottville Central - 3 teams coached by Ann Chamberlain
Fillmore Central – 2 teams coached by Deb Woltag & Bill Kelley
Franklinville Central - 3 teams coached by Shannon Wood
Friendship Central - 1 team coached by Wade Pearsall
Genesee Valley - 4 teams coached by Rollie Duttweiler & Sara Donlon
Olean High- 1 teams coached by Carolyn Shields
Pioneer Central -4 teams coached by Sarah Wood
Portville Central - 8 teams coached by Margaret Seib & Gene Rogers
Randolph Central-1 team coached by Jennifer Bieniek
Scio Central - 3 teams coached by Mary Zdrojewski
Wellsville Central - 2 teams coached by Diane Willard
West Valley Central - 3 teams coached by Ryan Keem
Saturday, February 7, 2015 @ Portville Central School
The largest Scholastic Challenge Competition was held on Saturday, February 7 at Portville Central School. This annual event, sponsored by Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES, hosted a record total of 49 teams who competed in a Junior Division and Senior Division, for grades 6-12.
Scholastic Challenge is a fast-paced contest that tests knowledge of academic trivia. Teams of three students measure their ability to recall details from a wide variety of topics.
Thirteen school districts participated in the double-elimination contest this year. This translates to more than 200 students and coaches. Throughout the day, several thousand questions were read aloud to these ambitious teams. All the teams represented their schools well, combining an impressive display of intelligence with camaraderie, graciousness and good sportsmanship that was admirable.
Competitors and coaches represented the following school districts:
Allegany-Limestone-1 team coached by Kathy Schaeper
Hinsdale Central-4 teams coached by Kate Jedrosko
Cuba-Rushford - 6 teams coached by John Butler
Ellicottville Central - 4 teams coached by Ann Chamberlain
Fillmore Central – 2 teams coached by Deb Woltag & Bill Kelley
Friendship Central - 1 team coached by Wade Pearsall
Genesee Valley - 6 teams coached by Rollie Duttweiler & Sara Donlon
Olean High- 2 teams coached by Carolyn Shields
Pioneer Central -5 teams coached by Sarah Wood & Jimmy Wood
Portville Central - 9 teams coached by Margaret Seib & Gene Rogers
Randolph Central- 1 team coached by Jennifer Bieniek
Wellsville Central - 3 teams coached by Diane Willard & Hope Gilfert
West Valley Central - 5 teams coached by Ryan Keem
There were two impressive teams who were undefeated going into the Finals in the auditorium. Congratulations to the Fillmore Green Junior team and the Pioneer Starfleet Academy Senior team!
The final matches were held on stage in the Portville auditorium. As usual, the finalists were challenged to answer questions on current events and local facts. The first and second place teams in each division were presented with plaques to recognize their achievements. All four of the Finalist teams have earned the honor of being invited to the 2015 National Academic Championship.
This event requires about 50 volunteers to make the day run smoothly. CABOCES Student Programs is grateful to everyone who donated their time and experience to provide a fun and educational day for the students in our area. Scholastic Challenge could not happen without their help!
Congratulations to all the teams and their proud coaches on a job well done. We look forward to seeing everyone back next year!
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES
Six local schools were recognized for their role as Emerging STEM School Systems on Thursday, September 11th at a ceremony at the NYS Center of Excellence in Bioinformatics & Life Sciences on the University at Buffalo Campus.
Twenty-nine districts from WNY were included in the inaugural class, and representing Cattaraugus and Allegany counties were Cuba-Rushford Central School, Fillmore Central School, Hinsdale Central School, Pioneer Central School, Portville Central School, and Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES.
Dr. Michelle Kavanaugh, facilitator of the WNY STEM Hub, recognized these districts for their sparks of STEM growth, and urged them to find ways to make that growth systemic. She encouraged enlightened teacher leaders to collaborate with enlightened leaders to allocate resources to teach our students today for their world tomorrow.
Dr. Kavanaugh acknowledged that each district represented had its own story about integrating and growing STEM, and explained that those stories would be featured on the WNY STEM Hub website, wnystem.org, so other districts looking for inspiration around STEM implementation could read about their peers’ successes. Dr. Kavanaugh was joined by Bob Grant, Account Executive for Siemens, in congratulating the districts and their representatives for their current work, and hoped that today would mark an “important turning point for our region” in the area of STEM education.