One91 – Nov. 25, 2013…Sieging Learning Opportunities
As we make the steady march towards Christmas (where did October and November go???), the variety of events that are focussed on student and educator learning in Nechako Lakes seem to be non-ending and so another One91.
This fall I have had a chance to connect with a few Physics teachers (Dave, Jaclyn, Kirstin, Julie) throughout our district. You might recall the LDSS CSI group mentioned last week that are working with Dave (physics) and Matt (Math) and RCMP officers to study forensic science, specifically blood spatters. It is clear that Physics teachers recognize the need to connect theoretical constructs with “hands on” learning, not to mention the positive student engagement. . In Fort St James, Physics teacher Julie MacDonald has been sharing information about the Trebuchet, the infamous siege weapon used in the 12th to 15th centuries. FSJSS students were invited to build and compete in a Trebuchet contest and the video below clearly demonstrates a level of engagement and commitment during which you couldn’t help but learn the concepts of counterweight, design, velocity, distance, mass, etc. Thanks to Craig and Judith for sending along the video and pictures.
A big CONGRATULATIONS to a large group of William Konkin Staff (Colleen West, Marian Mills, Erin Thiessen, Patty Bursey, Dave Beck, Lorraine McFarland, Melissa Evans, Paula Lorrie) for their hard and thoughtful work on improving the oral expression of students at their school. Their specific inquiry question for their participation in the Network of Inquiry and Innovation was:
“How will structured opportunities to engage in A/B partner talk improve oral language and affect reading fluency and comprehension as measured by the oral language and reading performance standards?”
This project is featured in the November newsletter of the Network of Inquiry and Innovation and you can read more about it HERE.
Nine William Konkin students were also recently selected as winners of the 2013 Young Writers of Canada contest (click HERE). Unfortunately this was shared with me through a social media post in the Lakes District News and so I’m hoping that Natalie and Wendy may have more to share about this project in the weeks ahead.
While scanning some newsletters I came across a intriguing project at Grassy Plains School called ‘Think Positive for 21 Days!’ I hope that we can hear more about this project from the students and staff at Grassy Plains.
Last week I was fortunate enough to spend three days with Dr. Nancy Doda, a Middle Years expert, who worked with the Vanderhoof schools Transition Team, presented to parents, facilitated a pro-d session for 80 educators, and spent Saturday with 22 participants taking her Young Adolescent Learners course. Nancy was an engaging and eloquent speaker who clearly was an expert on both the developmental needs of the young adolescent as well as the pedagogical structures and instructional considerations that are important for this particular age group. In addition to being a well recognized academic expert on Middle Years Education, it was clear to all participants that Nancy is an outstanding and passionate teacher. Rather than write too much about her content, let me share the video below and remind folks that she will be back in our district in March and May of this school year. One of the things that she did speak about was how important it is for students to see themselves within the curriculum and so I thought I would also share the newest books from Portage and Main Press.
Prior to watching the video I also want to talk a little about how reluctant we tend to be as a group of professionals to talk about our practice. Although we work hard every day to make a positive difference for our students, we seem reluctant, perhaps shy or unsure, to speak about the professional pedagogical work that we are called on to do daily. I think that Nechako Lakes has many, many examples of thoughtful, hard working ,educators who continually make a difference. It is important that we continue to tell our STORIES and share our LEARNING. We should regularly talk about our educational passions, our A-Ha moments, our inquiring questions and the continual learning that we all take on to ensure that what we know is impacting what we do. During our time with Dr. Doda, I asked educators to take a few minutes in front of a camera to speak about their percolating thoughts and so a BIG THANK YOU to courageous teachers Jo Johns, Misha James, and Mia Moutray who were willing to stand in front of a camera and share. I think that this should become the norm rather than the exception and with the number of digital devices out there, I encourage all of you who are involved in a inquiry question, collaborative focus, student event, professional development, – really anything that is impacting student learning – to record your thoughts and send them on so that we can share them district wide. I would also like to thank Anna Pye for helping with the filming and to Mark Gauchier for sharing his unique talents:)
Have a great week!