Liz Malinowski, a senior in Elementary Education & Reading, donated a class set of books, The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich, to A.J. Schmidt Elementary School and the Cattaraugus Reservation at the conclusion of her summer research, which focused on the literacy practices of Seneca students. Malinowski chose The Birchbark House because she hoped the book would help the students at A.J. Schmidt, particularly the students from the Seneca Nation, learn about the Ojibwa Nation and how they lived during the Western Expansion of the United States. Malinowski said she donated the books because, “It was my way of saying thank you for giving me the opportunity to work with your [Seneca] children.”
During the spring and summer of 2015, Malinowski conducted a qualitative case study with two fifth-grade Seneca students that examined the students' thoughts about themselves as readers. Survey and interview data revealed that the students thought highly about themselves as readers and they attributed this thinking to the adults in their lives. Both students said that their parents and teachers emboldened them to practice reading and this led to an increase in their confidence to decode words, understand the meaning of new words and use the comprehension strategies taught to them. Malinowski learned that having confidence in one's reading ability is important because readers with poor attitudes toward reading hinder their reading skills and choose not to read when other options exist (McKenna, Kear, & Ellsworth, 1995; Cain & Oakhill, 2011). She also learned that students who believe they can accomplish a task will spend more time on that task (Pajares, 1996).
In an effort to increase time on task, in this case practicing reading, Malinowski thought it would be important to provide A.J. Schmidt students with a story that embodied the characteristics of one of the students in her study. According to Malinowski, “the main character of The Birchbark House, Omakaya, is a gifted and hard working apprentice in the art of healing, as taught by her grandma, just like Emma [a student in the study] is a gifted and hardworking reader and role model to all students.” This class set of books will help elementary students and their teachers make connections between the histories of the Ojibwa and Seneca nations.
Malinowski worked with Dr. Chris T. Shively, assistant professor in Elementary Education, on this undergraduate research project. The researchers would like to thank the Seneca Nation, Mrs. Jill Clark from A.J Schmidt Elementary School, the Office of Undergraduate Research at Buffalo State and especially the Seneca students who shared their thoughts with them.
On September 28, 2015 WBFO's Focus on Education reporter Eileen Buckley featured, "Declines reported in those seeking careers in elementary education," including interviews with teacher education faculty and students discussing ways that, during a time of low student performance and high teacher blame, SUNY Buffalo State continues to provide support to current and future teachers. Listen to the broadcast.
Susan Birden, chair of the adult education department, delivers the keynote address for the 2015 Honors Convocation at Buffalo State in April 2015.
Marciniak received the SUNY Chancellor’s Award for Student Excellence during the 10:00 a.m. baccalaureate ceremony at Buffalo State’s 143rd Commencement, Saturday, May 16, 2015.
Marciniak has earned a bachelor of science degree in childhood education, attaining a 3.93 GPA while serving as an elected officer of United Students Government and Buffalo State’s student liaison to the Professional Development Schools Consortium. Read full story here.
Written by Emma Schack, "Mom’s Christmas letters reflect on life’s beautiful moments" was featured in the Buffalo News Life and Arts section on December 13, 2014.
Emma is an undergraduate student in the Elementary Education and Reading Department.
On November 11, 2014 a group of current and previous mathematics education students traveled to the 2014 Association of Mathematics Teachers of New York State (AMTNYS) annual meeting in Syracuse to deliver a presentation entitled: Engaging Socially Responsible Mathematics in the Digital Now!. The presentation shared the insights gained from implementing a high school summer curriculum that leveraged mathematics as a tool to promote critical social awareness and engaged students in the development of digital literacy through the creation of mathematics digital stories. The group of presenters consisted of Alexis Mikulski (Master’s-degree candidate in Mathematcis Education), Melissa Heidenreich and Verna Maximin (undergraduates in Mathematics Education), Lindsay Birkmeyer (alumna of our Mathematics Education), and Jevon Hunter, associate professor of elementary education and reading. Melissa and Verna were recipients of research support from our Office of Undergraduate Research. Consistent with the School of Education's tradition of cultivating remarkable educators, the students did a terrific job presenting, garnering some thoughtful questions and positive feedback from audience members.
The Buffalo State Adult Education Department was recently listed by Campus Explorer as one of the Top 10 Graduate Schools for Adult and Continuing Education and Teaching!
As part of the Year of the Teacher, Buffalo State is proud to partner with WBFO's Eileen Buckley to produce radio segments featuing interviews with campus community members and the teachers who inspired them.
The first interview is with Kathy Wood, school of education associate dean, and Anna Caci, a teacher a St. Mary's School for the Deaf in Buffalo. Kathy shares her story of the incredible impact Anna had on Jamal, Kathy's son who has autism.
Through a re/imaging of literacy teaching and learning in digital environments, Jevon Hunter, Assistant Professor in Elementary Education and Reading, uses Twitter to foster book discussions between SUNY Buffalo State Literacy Specialists and a local high school English Language Arts class. To showcase their work, Hunter and other participants traveled to Boston, MA to present at the 2013 National Council of Teachers of English Annual Convention. NPR recently featured Hunter's work.
Alex Means, assistant professor of social and psychological foundations of education, presented "Toward a Human Security Agenda in Urban Education" at the Buffalo State Professional Development Schools (PDS) Consortium meeting on Friday, November 15, from 7:45 to 10:00 a.m. at Lafayette High School. Means shares his research on urban change and urban schooling, specifically focusing on the need to develop a "human security perspective" in urban education. The human security perspective shifts the focus away from blaming public schools, teachers, and communities for current educational challenges, and instead seeks to identify and support the social conditions that are necessary for promoting human and educational flourishing for democratic ends.
Susan Birden, chair of Adult Education, has found that her research is making a difference in the lives of students around the world.
Recently, Eyal Ben-Ami, a special school counselor from Israel, wrote to Birden about the impact her book, Rethinking Sexual Identity in Education (2005), has on Ben-Ami's day-to-day work as an advocate for LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning youth) anti-bullying activism in Israel.
“Your book is always on my desk and in my practice,” wrote Ben-Ami, “Indeed, as a young school counselor and LGBTQ activist, I have learned a lot from your important insights. Thank you for your courageous book.”
“I’m so pleased,” said Birden, “to know that a book that was published almost ten years ago is continuing to make a difference in the lives of students. It is encouraging to hear that my philosophical work is bearing fruit ‘on the ground’. There is no better reward for a scholar and a teacher.”
Buffalo State was named Top Fundraising College for the 2013 WNY Polar Plunge due to the efforts of the members of the Buffalo State Orange Crushers Polar Plunging Team. The team took the plunge into the 37 degree waters of Lake Erie on Saturday December 7, 2013.
The final amount raised by Buffalo State Orange Crushers was over $3,233. The 2013 WNY Polar Plunge event raised over $150,000 for Special Olympics New York. The funds will be used to support Special Olympics NY Athletes. Special Olympics NY serves 61,582 (2012 census) athletes, making Special Olympics New York the largest program in the United States and the sixth largest program in the world. Athletes are never charged to participate. A special kudos to Mrs. Lynne Sommerstein, faculty chair for this event, who worked hard to get students involved and coordinated many of the logistical pieces. Her efforts ensured that over 50 plungers registered and supported the student leaders.
Thanks to all those that supported Buffalo State Orange Crushers and Congratulations to the Plungers!
Adam Hurd and David Jacobs, teacher candidates in the Elementary Education & Reading childhood education (grades 1-6) program, and members of the Bengals football team, have been an influential part of the children and staff at the Neighborhood House, which offers day care and before- and after-school programming to children ages 6 weeks to 12 years, in Auburn, NY. Read the full story.
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