July 2018
The Professional Development & Resource Center (PD&RC) Pride is a monthly email communication celebrating the work facilitated by BT BOCES PD&RC to advance teaching and learning. This is also an opportunity to highlight resources available for loan as well as upcoming regional events. We hope you find this communication helpful and welcome your feedback. 
Writing Workshop Institute, Grades 3-12
All teachers are writing instructors. Students write to communicate their thinking in every class, in a variety of genres. But often teachers of writing don’t feel like writers themselves. In a powerful three-day institute, area teachers came together to identify, goal-set, and take action on the connections between teachers being the writers they want their students to be, and what that looks like in an instructional setting.

Led by Literacy PD Specialist Jaime Mendelis , fourteen participants from across the region started their work considering the challenges they all face when it comes to writing. Despite the range of grade levels represented in the room, beginning with third grade and extending to twelfth, teachers found that teaching writing creates common struggles to rally around. Engagement, knowledge of explicit skills, and balancing test writing with “real world” writing were all included in areas of concern.

From those challenges participants grew their vision for their writers. Over the first two days they spent time writing - developing personal and professional pieces in a writing workshop. Teachers shared their writing with partners, lived the writing process, and celebrated their pieces with each other. A great deal of time was spent filtering research with teachers’ own beliefs and values about writing instruction to consider professional “mission statements” that umbrella the structures of their classrooms. 

On the third and final day of the institute, teachers brought their writing experiences and research to the practical side of their work: the classroom. They considered the structure of a writing workshop approach to instruction and the ways it supported their own values and knowledge of best practices. They developed mini-lessons and conducted writing conferences with each other. With brains full and energy high, these teachers left the institute with a vision for both themselves and their students as writers whose voices matter. 

For those interested in digging deeper into our Writing Workshops, classes are scheduled across the 2018-19 school year. Sessions, along with MLP links, include:

Let's Talk About Digital Citizenship .... But First, Let Me Take A Selfie!
In the Spring of 2018, the Maine-Endwell School District gathered a cross section of stakeholders in the district to participate in a strategic planning session with Sean Brady, centered around instructional technology. One of the three priority goals the committee identified during that session was to “Implement a K-12 digital citizenship program for staff and students”.

To start addressing this goal, the district’s two Technology Integrators', Barb Tasber and Rick Bray , were tasked with creating a professional development session to help introduce teachers to digital citizenship curriculum, resources, and teaching strategies to help make digital citizenship an integrated part of all lessons.

On the morning of June 21st, Barb and Rick met with M-E elementary teachers, followed by an afternoon session with the teachers from M-E middle school. These presentations were designed to have participants actively involved. As teachers walked in to the room they were greeted by the song “#Selfie” by the Chainsmokers playing over the sound system along with the enthusiastic Barb and Rick greeting participants and asking to take selfies with them. Throughout the welcome, a slide deck progressed showing various selfies; some were meant to be comical, some satirical, and some showing the positive impacts of selfies.

The formal presentation started by showcasing a digital byte on the role of selfies in our culture. Digital bytes were one of the many resources from Common Sense Education that were shared with participants during the workshop. Digital bytes are short video clips that are student-created, based on requests and/or challenges put out by Common Sense Education ( http://digitalbytes.commonsensemedia.org/ ). Teachers were then given an article and a research study that showed how selfies can be used positively, and then they were invited to discuss and share the positive and negative aspects of selfies.

This balance between positive and negative helped frame the essential question for the day, which was: “ As technology continues to become a dominant force in society, how can we teach and promote positive, healthy use? ”. Teachers were then invited to participate in two back-to-back activities. In the first activity, teachers were given time to look at an infographic titled “ Data Never Sleeps 5.0 ” that shows average internet data traffic for any given minute in 2017. Teachers then did a “walk-about” where they walked around greeting colleagues in the room while music played in the background. When the music stopped, they greeted whoever was closest to them, and shared an “I notice/I wonder” about the infographic… and the process repeated. The teachers went on to participate in an analog simulation of a popular social media trend “Like for #TBH” (to be honest), where people “like” content on social media, and in return the creator of the content shares a ‘to be honest’ with the liker. After this activity, teachers had the chance to ask questions such as:

  • How did you decide who to like?
  • How honest were you with your TBH response?
  • Did everyone get the same number of likes? What are the implications of this?

The group looked at other trends such as “ Finsta ” - or fake Instagram accounts, Fortnite , and Snapchat Streaks , all with the purpose of understanding what is out there, and the power it has. The group also looked at examples of poor digital citizenship both locally and nationally, and introduced some teachers to the new trend of digital self-harm, where students self-bully online.

Just about the time participants might have been feeling like social media and the internet are horrible places we all should avoid, Barb and Rick hit ‘em with the change up! The focus turned to the ways that the power of social media has been used to invoke awareness and positive change in our society. The group discussed how they can serve as catalysts to empower students to use technology positively. The group watched the documentary, Positively Social and talked about how effective and purposeful integration of technology can open the doors to deeper learning for students.

After a break, the discussion revolved around classroom practices and resources available to help teachers integrate digital citizenship into lessons regularly, similar to how teachers already integrate character education into lessons. Some of the resources shared were from Common Sense Education, Be Internet Awesome , along with a variety of best practices collected from educators throughout the region, as well as on Twitter.

As the 2018-2019 school year progresses, Barb and Rick will provide support to teachers by helping locate and create resources, model lessons, and develop and share proactive strategies to address the challenges associated with a technology-infused classroom.

Interested in a Digital Citizenship workshop? Contact Nikki Laura in the PD&RC.
New Thematic Non-Fiction Book Sets
Support K-5 science and literacy connections with the new thematic non-fiction book sets in the Media Library collection. Aligned to the NYS Science Learning Standards Disciplinary Core Ideas, these grade-level thematic sets contain a variety of non-fiction titles on a single topic, designed for read-alouds, small group/stations work, or guided research projects. Topics include: weather, insects, outer space (with specific sets for the moon, stars, and our universe), soil, properties of matter, water, seasons, and animal adaptations.

In the Media Library catalog, search “science thematic nonfiction” or check out the Science Thematic Sets K-5 Resource List for a comprehensive list of available kits .
Please contact Kristina Garcia at kgarcia@btboces.org if you need assistance with our new Thematic Non-Fiction Book Sets, or any of our Media Library resources.
  Learn ~ Collaborate ~ Explore ~ Register Today!
Looking for more Professional Development opportunities?
Check out the PD&RC's 2018-2019 PD Calendar here !