Since February is American Heart Month, why not learn about this important organ and other key organs that help us keep living and breathing via a science kit? In the kit Health Kit: Our Lungs, Heart, and Health, students will identify parts and functions of the respiratory and circulatory systems. They will examine ways to keep these two very important systems working efficiently through nutrition, exercise, and healthy habits. Special emphasis will be placed on the negative effects of tobacco. For more information on this kit or others available to you through STEM, contact Clay Nolan at (716) 376-8354 or email@example.com.
Would you like to connect you students to an expert in your field, have your students experience something specific to your content area, or extend a topic? What about a really cool review activity that you don't have to create or manage? Then look no further! For districts that participate in the Distance and Online Learning CoSer 420, you have the world at your fingertips. We offer virtual field trips for all grade levels and content areas. We will even take care of the tech connections for you! Here are some examples of what is available:
The Constitution at Work
Flagler's Flippers Fins and Fun Facts
Science of Seeking Snacks: Learn About Your Senses Through Mantis Research
Homestead Act of 1862
Ship to Shore- EarthEcho Expeditions: PlasticSeas Virtual Field Trip
America's Signs & Symbols
For more information and other suggestions for virtual field trips, contact:
Have you thought about connecting your class to an expert in the field, but don't know where to start? There are plenty of FREE and bee-based trips for you to choose from. Simply follow the easy steps below to open the doors for your class.
What are you waiting for? Imagine your class interacting with a zoologist, a park ranger, or a musician…all from the comfort of your school!
Cuba, New York – Wednesday, January 16, 2019 – Fifteen VEX Robotics teams from across Cattaraugus and Allegany Counties attended the inaugural VEX Robotics Qualifying Tournament at Cuba-Rushford Middle/High School on Wednesday, January 16, 2019. Students competed with and against teams from Pioneer, Cattaraugus-Little Valley, Franklinville, Salamanca, Scio, Wellsville, Genesee Valley, and Cuba-Rushford. The middle and high school students executed the 2018-2019 VEX Robotics Competition game, Turning Point, which is played by stacking caps on posts, flipping caps, stacking balls on caps, toggling flags, throwing balls, and parking robots.
Congratulations go out to Cuba-Rushford (Blue Team), Pioneer (Sicko Code), Franklinville (The Black Death), and Franklinville (Four Blokes). Specifically, the Cuba-Rushford and Pioneer alliance were the Tournament Champions. The Franklinville (The Black Death) team earned the Excellence Award and the Franklinville (Four Blokes) team earned the Design Award. These four teams qualify to attend the Northern New York State Championship to be held in Syracuse on March 2.
The RoboJags from Genesee Valley were presented with the Judges Award.
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 2018-2019 VEX Robotics Competition game, Turning Point. 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 the 3 divisions of ISS (Professional Development, Learning Resources, and Student Programs) worked hard to ensure that the first ever VEX tournament in the region would be a success. Additional support and guidance, which was invaluable, came from Veronica Bitz (REC) and Alex Palowitch (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 recognized as 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 20,000 teams from 45 countries that participate in more than 1,500 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 this region, email firstname.lastname@example.org 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.
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.
By: Jean Oliverio, CA BOCES Student Programs
This month’s spotlight as we dig a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse is…..cardboard AR/VR viewers and iPods.
CABOCES has offered a few workshops on Augmented and Virtual reality. Due to the popularity of those and the rising interest in our schools, Learning Resources has added supplemental resources to our warehouse. The cardboard viewers and accompanying iPods bring immersive experiences to everyone in a simple and affordable way. Step into stunning environments that stretch all around you. No matter where you look, it’s as if you’re really there. Discover thousands of VR apps and games, and a variety of captivating YouTube videos made to view with cardboard viewers. Travel the world, go onstage with your favorite artists, experience thrilling simulations, and more.
Regardless of the content or grade level, these cardboard views and iPods can revolutionize the classroom. Today’s education environment is increasingly offering immersive experiences that help children, teens, and adults truly enjoy the process of learning. Plus, these technologies can help certain students learn more effectively than traditional classroom methods by overcoming language barriers and accommodating visual learners.
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our warehouse and give our cardboard AR/VR viewers and iPods a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Keeping Warm in Febrrrrruary
Advancing STEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge will be posted monthly.
Teachers and students in Cattaraugus-Little Valley are exploring 3D pens and their possible uses in the classroom. Imagine students being able to instantly draw their learning in the air! Students can draw geometric shapes, bridges, and music notes in a matter of minutes. A lot of schools and classrooms have experimented with 3D printers. They can be expensive, and prints can take a long time. With a 3D pen, students can create 3D drawings in a matter of minutes.
Freshman ELA students in Ms. Lobello’s class are using 3D pens to create tools for characters in a story they have written. In Mrs. Purdy’s Art class, students are learning to design bridges and animals with a 3D pen. Some students have requested to borrow the 3D pens to complete self-paced genius hour projects. The 3D pens come with simple designs for students to develop skills. They learn by creating cubes and large structures with triangles and squares.
The pens work as a manually operated 3D printer. Heated filament made from plastic is extruded through the pen’s tip, which quickly cools down to form a stable 3D object.
The possibilities are only limited by a teacher or a student’s imagination. Here are a few ideas that teachers can explore:
By: Rob Miller, CA BOCES Professional Development
It’s a new year and CA BOCES’ is releasing its new online course catalog for electives and core courses for the Spring 2019 semester, bringing updated information and an easy guide to signing your students up for online courses.
The online department has been growing and perfecting its offerings for over a decade. Through that process, the distance learning team has searched for the best possible classes to offer students residing throughout Allegany and Cattaraugus counties. The team is constantly on the lookout for new opportunities to make sure that students in this region can compete with college-ready students across the nation, including having the technological skills and online interactions necessary to compete in today’s world.
Literacy is an invaluable tool, and digital literacies are a vital part of that. Educators are responsible for teaching this aspect of education as much as any other both ethically and as emphasized through the ESSA guidelines and funding opportunities for school districts. According to the U.S. Department of Education Office of Educational Technology, “Technology can be a powerful tool for transforming learning” and “can help […] reinvent our approaches to learning and collaboration, shrink long-standing equity and accessibility gaps, and adapt learning experiences to meet the needs of all learners.” Accordingly, students who have opportunities in online education learn how to participate in discussion forums, online collaboration, and digital assignment submission. Further, students receive feedback in a digital format (video responses, interactive comments, and email to name a few), develop self-advocacy skills, and experience giving online presentations and conducting online research. Through all these experiences, they become adept and fluent contributors and collaborators in a digital learning environment.
Looking into our students’ futures, online courses are part of most college and university programs. As educators, we have an obligation to make sure that students are ready to navigate all types of course content and structures, learn to communicate in a fully digital realm, and have a firm grasp of online etiquette in order to be prepared for their future college classes in an ever-expanding digital world. Offering online classes to our students in high school, means that they will have a guided experience with a mentor, have the flexibility to develop their own online learning style, and have the safety of someone to assist if the need arises, unlike in many college environments where students are on their own to figure out the details AND to succeed in an online environment with often costly outcomes if they are unsuccessful.
Knowledge gained in online classes is essential both from the experience of learning in an online environment and from the strategies acquired to learn in a different. These skillsets are broad and range from practicing collaboration needed work with a team in most occupational environments to knowing online platforms enough to attend Harvard’s next online business course. Students will be ready to compete for college acceptance letters and job markets because they have had a chance to experience online learning in a high school setting.
For more information about online learning, video conference courses, or credit recovery options, please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
Portville Educators, along with CA BOCES’ Anne Mitchell, Present at New York State Professional Conferences
“I enjoyed the experience of presenting at the NYSSCA conference because I was able to share with fellow counselors and educators what I do to promote social and emotional learning and development in our students at PCS. My hope is that I was able to inspire those in attendance with ideas and information that they could take back to their schools,” (A. Luther).
In our region, it’s no secret that Portville Central School is doing amazing things for kids—now the state is starting to take notice, too. This fall Portville educators took the stage at two different state-level conferences. In October, Molly Scott and Theresa Lyons presented at the annual New York State English Council Conference in Albany. They presented the tremendously successful, elementary-level & community-wide One Book One Community Project: Palacio’s Wonder: the idea, the timeline; the events; the teachers; the students; the families, and the community—start to finish—and the lasting impact it’s had. Participants left understanding the value of the project and the process to implement One Book One Community at their own districts.
In November, Amanda Luther presented “Educating the Whole Child: Social Emotional Development and the Comprehensive School Counseling Model” at the annual New York State School Counselors Association Conference in Lake George. This year’s conference topic was RESILIENCY. The role of the school counselor has been transforming: Amanda shared evidence-based resources, authentic practices, and creative programming that are unique to Portville and highlight what the comprehensive school counseling regulations outline as best practice. The participants were extremely engaged and wanted to learn more about the meaningful and relevant social emotional learning opportunities and experiences happening at Portville.
Both building principals, Lynn Corder and Larry Welty, contributed to the presentations as well—via video. A special thanks to Portville’s student technology support on these projects: Chris Stebbins, Emma Mikolajczyk, and Devon Hall (graduated, attending Alfred State College).
We’re looking forward to having more Portville educators share their expertise and successes with state-wide colleagues and are grateful for the support of Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES: Student and Teacher Programs.
By: Anne Mitchell, CA BOCES Professional Development
Can you feel it? Winter break is fastly approaching. For many, this break is a time of a much needed and well-deserved rest. For others, winter break, like the several other breaks from school, is a time that causes stress because school is the safest home they know. The differences between these two feelings remind us of the importance of cultivating the social and emotional well-being in addition to fostering academic growth in public education.
In addition to the social and emotional well-being of students, the New York State Department of Education (NYSED) has also recognized the importance of mental health education. Proposed in January of 2018, the continuum of well-being for mental health literacy was formally adopted by the Board of Regents in May of 2018. The NYSED Mental Health webpage nicely reminds us “research has shown that the quality of the school climate may be the single most predictive factor in any school’s capacity to promote student achievement. When young people are educated about mental health, the likelihood increases they will be able to effectively recognize signs and symptoms in themselves and others and will know where to turn for help. Health education that respects the importance of mental health, as well as the challenges of mental illness, will help young people and their families and communities feel more comfortable seeking help, improve academic performance and, most importantly, even save lives.” Some school districts have gotten creative in their approach to positively improve their culture and climate.
I recently walked into Cuba-Rushford Central School’s Middle/High School building and was delighted to see Lupo, pictured above, a 15-week old, male Bouvier des Flandres; the Bouvier des Flandres breed is loyal, gentle, and hypoallergenic, typically living 10 to 12 years growing upwards of 100 pounds. As I watched Lupo, he brought smiles to nearly all who passed him by, and he received welcoming embraces from both students and adults. Naturally, like most, I needed to learn more about Lupo’s role at CRCS.
Whose dog is Lupo? Lupo belongs to Chris Cappelletti, and is, ultimately, his responsibility throughout the day. However, Chris let me know that both getting Lupo into CRCS and taking care of him throughout the day wouldn’t be possible without the encouragement and assistance of the CRCS faculty and administration, particularly Nicole Williams and Sally Kus.
Why is Lupo at CRCS? Several events took place that allowed for Lupo to be welcomed at CRCS. After many weeks of researching the benefits of a therapy dog, the idea was presented to CRCS superintendent, Carlos Gildemeister. Then, after discussing the idea and the research, Carlos gave his full support knowing that the benefits of a therapy dog far outweigh the costs.
Who takes care of Lupo at night? Lupo belongs to Chris. This means that Chris is responsible for taking care of Lupo before and after school. Furthermore, Chris is responsible for having Lupo trained as a therapy dog; this means Lupo needs to pass a temperament test, complete obedience school, and undergo therapy dog training, each with an associated fee. The big goal for Lupo, once he completes all of his training, is for him to pass the American Kennel Club (AKC) Therapy Dog Test.
Has Lupo made an impact in his first 15 weeks at CRCS? “I’ve seen a huge difference!” Chris told me. “I’ve seen more smiling faces, more communication with children and adults, and increased empathy. Students worry if Lupo has eaten enough, and regularly ask to take him on walks so Lupo can go to the bathroom outside.” Nicole added “that socially he has created a bridge for students that normally would not hang out or speak to each other. For instance, two girls in particular that do not hang out, quickly and without any awkwardness, started talking while they were petting Lupo.”
What else do I need to know if I wanted get a therapy dog in my school district? In short, you need research, support, and commitment; research to identify which type of dog will be the suitable, support from administration and the dog’s owner, and a commitment both financially and mentally to the lifestyle of raising a therapy dog.
Prior to researching which type of dog would be purchased, Chris, Nicole, and Sally explored what the research showed regarding the benefits of having a therapy dog. Then, with a plan and the research to support it, Chris, Nicole and Sally received approval from their administration after several discussions. Lastly, perhaps the most challenging aspect of owning a therapy dog, each member of this small team must be committed to not only caring for this support animal, but they must also be committed to doing so consistently.
Do the benefits outweigh the costs? For the sake of clarity, there are several costs associated with owning a therapy dog. Not only does someone need to pay for the dog itself, its food, shelter, training, etc., but there are also physical and emotional costs such as training the animal early in the morning and throughout the day until the evening hours, caring for the animal in addition to normal expectations at home and at work, and determining whether the animal truly is having a meaningful impact.
For some, these costs constitute burdens that are far too great, and for others the benefits far outweigh the costs. Based on the few days I have seen Lupo in action, I would argue he his performing his duties well. Based on the several weeks Lupo has been at CRCS, Lupo’s caretakers would also argue that Lupo is worth the cost. More time may be required for a concrete measure of Lupo’s impact, but perhaps time has already shown just how valuable this dog can be.
By: Mark Beckwith, CA BOCES Professional Development
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
Imagine, if you can, a world where teachers are given choice in their professional development, where they lead their own research and collaborate with others to hone their craft. You wouldn’t have to imagine too much if you are familiar with the Collaborative Research and Development Professional Development instituted by the administrative team at the Wellsville Secondary School of Mary Ellen O’Connell (Secondary Principal), Jason Mank (Assistant Principal) and Rick Bull (Assistant Principal).
After some initial planning and collaboration by the administrative team, Mary Ellen contacted me with the idea and from there we created a Moodle course on Poverty around Poor Students, Rich Teaching by Eric Jensen, a FlipGrid component (thanks to Mark Beckwith for this idea and support) for reflection and as an instructional classroom tool. The team’s vision was to create opportunities for teachers to select to collaborate with others in their building around their four main initiatives for the year poverty, assessment, PBL and positive relationships with students and families.
Teachers may be researching and collaborating around something they saw at a BOCES workshop, or a conference or that they read about and want to dig into deeper. Mary Ellen created the opportunity for that research to happen for them by replacing three faculty meetings with three hours of collaborative research and development with a requirement to use FlipGrid to share their learning and reflect on their practice. Teachers have four checkpoints (30-60 second videos) along the way where they get to share their learning and how they apply new knowledge their classroom practice.
To date, the administrative team has seen an increase in general collaboration among colleagues, an increase in FlipGrid use as an instructional tool by teachers in their classrooms and a deeper dive by teachers into areas of interest based on instruction or content. Mary Ellen stated “The engagement and interaction on FlipGrid has been unbelievable! We have only completed two of the four “checkpoints” and already my faculty has accumulated 3,500 views and over 21 hours of time online learning from each other’s research. It is clear they enjoy learning from each other’s experiences and research. I’m also very sure they love not attending traditional faculty meetings and they are having fun with the flipGrid format.”
If you had a chance to read the ASCD Educational Leadership journal When Teachers Lead their Own Learning in November 2018 you can note some of the same elements (choice, flexibility, personalization) from those articles in the work that the administrative team from the Wellsville Secondary School has created for their building. Change can be good!
By: Karen Insley, CA BOCES Learning Resources
On October 18th, school librarians honed instructional strategies in recognizing news bias, gained insight into what influences human reasoning, and left with ideas and activities for student instruction when collaborating with teachers or teaching information literacy. Two great tools that facilitate the teaching of news bias and is provided to all CA BOCES’ districts are Newsbank’s Access World News and America’s Historical Newspapers.
With links to primary sources, students can explore global perspectives and differing viewpoints on important issues and events. Articles from newspapers, magazines, and other news media can be easily cited, saved, emailed, or printed. Access World News provides current information from over 200 countries including Spanish languages sources, and everyday a list of about 12 headlines in news from countries around the world include activities that tie into common core standards. A monthly list of hot topics in the news provide suggested search terms and critical questions to guide students in effecting searching. Topics such as Business and Economics, Health, Literature, Performing and Fine Arts, Politics and Government, STEM, and Technology are linked to primary news sources relevant to what students are learning in the classroom.
America’s Historical Newspapers makes collaboration across disciplines amazingly easy! Organized by eras from the late 1600’s to 2000, primary sources are divided within each era by the following topics: Government, Military & Political Events; Social & Cultural Issues; and Discoveries, Inventions & Firsts. While students are learning about the Civil War in social studies, the art teacher can introduce the Impressionist Movement with news and reviews on artists and their work. Complementing the Vietnam War are links to primary news sources on music: Bob Dylan & folk music; Beatles and British music; literature: Maya Angelou, Steven King, Kurt Vonnegut, and Ken Kesey; PE/Health: DDT banned, Bobby Riggs vs. Billy Jean King, first Super Bowl; Technology: Pong; moon landing. Students can become more engaged with an era when provided with topics that appeal to their interests.
Students can learn perspective through original newspapers printed during the Civil War (north versus south) and Westward Expansion (east coast versus west coast/American Indians).
Please contact me at Cecelia_Fuoco@caboces for personalized training in your district.
By: Cece Fuoco, CA BOCES School Library System Coordinator
New York State Education Law now requires schools to begin providing instruction in mental health, leaving many with questions. Districts in our region are interpreting the specifics of the law in different ways. Change can be scary, overwhelming and very stressful. It is also the perfect opportunity for growth. Together, our region will effectively navigate the new law, utilize accessible resources to support the process, assess current practice and create meaningful changes.
The concept of mental health as an integral part of health
Unfortunately, the word mental health often has a negative connotation. There is a stigma attached to the word, causing a cloud around the topic itself. However, mental health, just like physical health is a part of each and every one of us. We teach students about physical health and promote physical wellness, therefore, we must teach students about mental health and promote mental wellness in an equal fashion. Above all else, when interpreting the new law, it is critical to note that it is not intended to be a deficit model. Instruction should not solely focus on mental illness or include learning objectives that teach students to diagnose or treat mental illness.
Whole school, multi-tiered approach
Students are impacted significantly, in a positive way, when there is a holistic approach. While the requirements speak to integration of mental health instruction into the health curriculum, schools are strongly encouraged to promote a whole school, whole child, multi-tiered approach to mental health. Collectively, the districts and respective schools within our region have strong practices in place that support the holistic approach to mental wellness. For example, schools are building capacity in restorative practices, promoting trauma sensitive schools and classrooms, organizing family resource/support centers, expanding community partnerships that offer education and supports to students, staff and families.
Community partnerships are essential to the development of a comprehensive, school-based mental wellness approach. The purpose of school-community partnerships vary, however, often allow outside professionals to educate students, staff and parents, provide imperative services that the school simply cannot and refer students to necessary resources or services in the community. Research has found the importance of community partnerships in relation to improving school outcomes for students and increasing family engagement at school.
Resources for School Districts
Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES will be offering a professional development opportunity on December 10th to address many of the questions and differing perspectives. The offering is entitled “Mental Health Literacy Forum,” and will be held in Olean at the Main Center. Other educational resources include the following;
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
Check out this month's Advancing STEM Challenge!
Now You See Me...Now You Don't
Advancing STEM Challenges are designed to bring engineering and design to your classroom in a simple, easy-to-implement, challenge-based way. Modify our Advancing STEM Challenges for your classroom. A new challenge will be posted monthly.
Ms. Pelligrino’s 7th and 8yh grade students are bringing literature to life by creating virtual reality reenactments of their favorite scenes. Virtual Reality is a 3d generated image or video that makes users feel like they are actually inside that environment. Users can view virtual reality through the use of head mounted viewers (Google™ Cardboard).
For this lesson the students chose a scene from a book they are reading or recently read. The students chose a part of the book that they wanted to share with other people. After choosing the scene the students examines the visual elements in the story, the character’s interactions with the environment and the critical elements. After noting these the students got to work creating their virtual worlds.
We used a free website called cospace.io. The students got a quick tutorial in the software and quickly created. The students were able to build the scene and use computer code to create interactions. Dialogue for the characters was created using thought bubbles.
Creating Virtual and Augmented Reality could be easy for students. Here are a couple free resources teachers and students and teachers could use to create content:
By: Rob Miller, CA BOCES Professional Development
What would your ideal classroom look like? Sound like? Is it a place where there are minimal distractions, students are respectfully collaborating and engaged with each other, sharing ideas, and learning is taking place? Have you ever seen a classroom where students respect each other and their teacher, positively comment on and support each other’s opinions, are eager to learn, motivated, determined to do their best, and excited to try new things? Does this classroom even exist?
It does! Though it’s not easy and requires a lot of work on the teacher’s part. If the commitment is made and the plan is meticulously carried through, this could be your classroom. Many teachers say that they don’t have the time to establish this sort of classroom. It’s easy to see why, with so many things expected of teachers including curriculum to cover, tests to prepare for, and required extracurricular activities.
However, in order for student learning to be optimal, effective classroom management is a must! In spite of the time commitment, research overwhelmingly shows that teachers that invest in their classroom management techniques have fewer discipline issues and increased learning occurs. Don’t worry about losing a little time at the beginning of the school year since with effective classroom management practices in place, you will get that time back plus some throughout the rest of the school year! Effective classroom management is a TIME SAVER not a time killer.
Wait, didn’t John Hattie’s meta-analysis research in Visible Learning state that classroom management has an effective size of 0.35? If you are unfamiliar with Hattie’s work, the primary basis is that teacher practices with an effective size over 0.40 are the ones that have the most positive influence on student learning. So why is classroom management so important then?
Successful classroom management practices are the foundation leading to more effective student learning. These practices lead to better classroom discussions, higher self-efficacy and effort amongst students, more time on task, and more. Research continually proves that classroom management leads to a more effective classroom experience for students.
The classroom described in the opening of this article may seem far-fetched but it is completely attainable. It is also never too late to try and implement in your classroom. Start today if you haven’t established a classroom you are happy with. Furthermore, if you would like to hear more about the research behind successful classroom management practices and how to obtain a similar classroom yourself, consider joining Patty Rhinehart and myself in an upcoming workshop on the topic. No dates have been confirmed yet but stay tuned, they are coming! In the meantime, here are some quick DO’s and DON’Ts of successful classroom management practices to tide you over.
By: Justin Shumaker, CA BOCES Professional Development
It is my belief that students do well when they can, not simply when they want to. Furthermore, students learn best when their physical, mental and emotional needs are met. This type of scenario is ideal for schools, but it is not the reality. What does it look like when a student’s needs are not met? Avoidance, distraction, disengagement, defiance, disrespect, aggression, truancy, anger and the list goes on. Educators have seen the impact of unmet student needs within their classrooms and report, that the impact is greater than ever.
The rural landscape of the Cattaraugus-Allegany Region presents a unique set of barriers that increase the complexity of existing systemic barriers for school districts, educators, students, families and communities when it comes to ensuring that all students have access to necessary resources. Despite the pressure, barriers and growing scope of student needs, is it possible to create conditions that enable every child to succeed?
Not only is it possible to create such conditions, it is necessary. This school year, with the help of 17 of our component school districts, Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES has begun the work of building the brand new Community Schools CoSer within their Instructional Support Services Division. The community schools strategy, is an exceptional, evidence-based school improvement tool that enables schools to create supportive conditions for students by sustaining an integrated focus on student support services, expanded learning opportunities, family and community engagement and collaborative leadership.
Each community school is unique and defined based upon needs and assets specific to the respective local context and community. Therefore, the Community Schools CoSer will also be unique as it grows and develops to fit the needs within the local context of our rural, regional area. In an effort to influence the region in a meaningful way, we are working collaboratively to complete a thorough assessment of needs and assets, at the district level, as well as at the regional level.
Simultaneously, while working directly with school leaders within each district, there have been ongoing opportunities to meet directly with community partners that provide supports and services to students and families. The Community Schools CoSer hosted the first Service Showcase in September, bringing community partners and school leaders together to learn about specific services available to districts. School leaders were provided more information about school based dental care, substance abuse prevention curriculum and a mentoring program. As a result, six additional districts have school-based dental services available to students and four additional districts have begun preparing to implement a mentoring program for students.
Students do well when they can. Period. Through continued collaborative work and problem solving, our region can provide all students with equitable access to resources that allow them to exceed our highest expectations.
By: Kathryn Mendell, CA BOCES Community Schools
On October 19th, 2018, Cuba-Rushford staff welcomed Mollie Lapi, behavioral specialist from C-A BOCES. Mollie presented the staff with an overview of brain research on trauma, how the brain works after a student experiences a traumatic event, and trauma informed interventions A brief overview of the biology of the brain and how it reacts to trauma was addressed. “This “fight or flight” response is a natural response to stress”, she said. Mollie also addressed Adverse Childhood Experiences, also known as A.C.E.S. (Adverse Childhood Experiences) can dramatically affect the quality of health and wellness. Trauma is toxic to the body, and we can do something about it.
Mollie, then talked about strategies to help support the students. She said, “Educators can make a difference; believe your students can grow, change, and succeed? The common denominator could be YOU! Help promote resiliency within your classroom.” Mollie also talked about the “sweet spot”, which means being able to provide emotional nurturance and still expect our students to perform and own, but not judge, their shortcomings. It is a PROCESS. There has to be a balance between availability and accountability with the students.
The staff was also challenged to make sure to take care of themselves. Mollie stated, “it is so important for the adults working with any students to make sure to manage their own stress. Health, and wellness are not to be forgotten, especially to help regulate the body and mind.” The morning was filled with fantastic learning, and the staff was thankful for Mollie’s presentation.
By: Kathleen Agnello, CA BOCES Professional Development
This month’s spotlight as we dig a little deeper into the resources we have available to our component school districts in our warehouse is…..our Real Care Baby Simulators!
RealCare Baby® 3 (formerly known as Baby Think It Over® or BTIO®) is the world’s most advanced infant simulator. Educators around the world use this unique learning aid to add meaning and accountability to teach early childhood, parenting, infant health lessons and sex education. This smart baby uses wireless programming to track and report on caregiver behaviors, including care events, mishandling actions, time in a car seat and clothing changes. Baby includes four sets of curriculum and activities to help instructors create learning experiences that are relevant and career-driven.
The RealCare curriculum sections are:
Basic Infant Care – covers child safety, emergency procedures, child abuse prevention, and infant/toddler development.
Life Skills and Healthy Choices for Middle School Students - an abstinence-plus, comprehensive curriculum focused on sexual education and pregnancy prevention for youth 12-14 years of age.
Parenting: A Guide to Parenting Skills for Life – focuses on the stages of child development, parenting styles/impact, the costs involved in raising a child, and much more.
Healthy Choices: Relationships, Sexuality, and Family Planning – an abstinence-based, comprehensive curriculum focusing on teen pregnancy prevention. It covers relationships, self-esteem, refusal skills, adolescent health, and reproductive issues, among many other topics.
All sections are aligned to the National FACS standards and include Crosswalk documents.
So what are you waiting for? Take a look at our warehouse and give our RealCare Babies a try!
By: Alexandra Freer, CA BOCES Learning Resources
The distance learning team at CA BOCES, including Christina McGee, Justine Lombardi, and Karen Insley, have been busy traveling all over the region getting students enrolled in credit accrual and credit recovery courses. Students have a chance to increase the breadth of their transcripts, develop interests, try out vocational fields, and develop skillsets that can’t be offered within their districts. Further, if students are on medical leave or injured, they can keep up with their curriculum, and even with gym classes, in an online setting. Students also have opportunities to recover lessons, units, quarters, and semesters through the CA BOCES credit recovery program, meaning that students can catch up before they need further interventions. The CA BOCES team offers courses through seven different providers, including courses taught by our own teachers, Christina McGee and Justine Lombardi.
The most popular courses this year are Sociology, Health, Forensic Science, Marine Science, Physical Education, Spanish, Careers in Criminal Justice, English 10, Introduction to Military Careers, Physics, and Psychology. Students are also learning about astronomy, sports marketing, digital art, 3D Modeling and animation, world religions, mythology and folklore, social problems facing the world, and many other notable studies.
For more information please contact Distance Learning at 716-376-8270.
By: Christina McGee, CA BOCES Learning Resources
As Pre-kindergarten-2nd grade teachers start the 2018-19 School Year they took a moment to focus on the importance of learning through play and movement. 66 educators from across the Cattaraugus-Allegany BOCES Region attended a professional development opportunity with Lisa Murphy, M.Ed., an Early Childhood Specialist. Lisa Murphy has been involved in early childhood education for over 20 years, teaching and learning with young children. She is the founder and CEO of Ooey Gooey, Inc., and is a nationally recognized presenter and keynote speaker. Lisa’s topics for the workshop sessions included:
What if Today Was Their Only Day? (Keynote)
In this motivational keynote address Lisa shared the powerful story of her first day of school. Through active and engaging storytelling Lisa brought participants back to her first day, taking you on a grand tour of Miss Mary’s Nursery School. And, in the style she has become famous for, she shared many observations, lessons and anecdotes about how early childhood has changed along the way. Lisa shared the sights sounds and smells of the place where, at the young age of three, she decided to become a teacher and identified the how, and why, that one day solidified her decision to become an educator. This inspiring keynote encouraged participants to get back in touch with their personal how and why.
Identifying and Creating Child Centered Environments
This session provided an in-depth exploration of the 9 points within the framework of Lisa Murphy’s approach to working with children. Via interactive lecture, true-to-life examples, anecdotes and her signature “learning and laughing” style, this session presented what it really means to be a hands-on, play-based, child-centered program. Lisa stated that “Environments that encourage play are environments that are preparing children for kindergarten, future elementary school academics, and a love of life long learning. This foundation then supports the house of higher learning.” Educators must create, move, sing, discuss, observe, read and play with children through daily interactions.
The Importance of Early Experiences: How play IS Kindergarten Readiness!
During this session Lisa identified the seven things we need to do with children each day. These seven things make up the foundation that supports the house of higher learning. There is nothing wrong with the “academic” expectations within this house: reading, writing, math… the trouble is that many early childhood educators are being pressured to build a house where there is no foundation. Lisa stated, “And you do not need to be an architect to know that if you build where there is no foundation, the house will come crashing down!” Playing is “getting them ready” and through an investigation of each of the “seven things,” Lisa showed us how.
Lisa concluded the workshop with encouraging educators across the region to create a 10-day challenge for themselves. She encouraged educators to identify a workshop takeaway after 10 days that they are still thinking about and use that as their baby step for creating engaging experiences in the classroom!
By: Jillian Putnam, CA BOCES Professional Development