Making Assessment Criteria Visible

“When students communicate their learning using a variety of work samples, they go beyond what grades, numbers and scores alone can show; they are able to examine the depth, the detail, and the range of their own learning to figure out their strengths and what they need to work on next” Anne Davies Here’s an example of how one of our grade 6 Math/Science teachers made the assessment criteria transparent and visible to students. The assignment was to identify a leaf using a dichotomous key and then create a summary of the student’s observations. Working together, the teacher and students … Continue reading Making Assessment Criteria Visible

New Possibilities for Teacher Collaboration

by: Dave Scott, Grade 8 Humanities After an off-hand statement with one of our APs over lunch, I found myself teaching a course on the history of Western philosophy for the first time. As no one in the school had taught this before, I was thrust into a course with little preparation or ability to draw on others more experienced than I to gain some insight into how to best organize this course. However, through Neil Stephenson and a twitter connection he had, I was able to Skype with Brad Ovenell-Carter, teacher on Bowen Island who had taught a course … Continue reading New Possibilities for Teacher Collaboration

Using Wikis for Knowledge Building in Science

Grade: 7 Subject: Science Our two grade 7 science teachers are starting a research project for the “Plants for Food and Fibre” unit of the grade 7 program of studies. The plan for the project is to have students examine a number of variables to determine which plant need has the greatest impact on plant growth. In pairs, students have selected a variable to examine, and over the next month, will begin to design ways test the impact variable on plant growth, and to collect and document data along the way. To collect the data, the teachers have decided to … Continue reading Using Wikis for Knowledge Building in Science

Remixing Canadian History

Grade: 7 Subject Areas: Humanities, History One of our teachers, Neil Stephenson, is offering a session at the upcoming Alberta Social Studies Conference, October 16-18, on a year-long Humanities project called the Cigar Box Project. Empowered with 21st century tools, Neil’s Grade 7 students reinterpreted events from five periods that have shaped Canada’s current historical landscape. Over the course of the year, students collected and analyzed historical images and artifacts, and then used graphic design principles to digitally assemble new cigar panels, each one revealing a unique, visual perspective of an historical event or time from Canada’s past. At the … Continue reading Remixing Canadian History

How to Design Powerful Digital Stories

Grade: 5 Subject Area: Humanities, Digital Storytelling Teachers: Tanya Stogre, Chris Dittmann Two our of Grade 5 teachers are giving a presentation at the upcoming Alberta Social Studies Conference, October 16-18 in Lake Louise, Alberta. This presentation will focus on how to incorporate digital storytelling into the classroom, particularly where teachers want students to focus on understanding multiple perspectives and marginalized groups in history. When designing the work (in partnership with the Galileo Educational Network) the teachers used an online space called Intelligence Online, designed specifically for the planning of large-scale, inquiry-based projects. One of the benefits of IO is … Continue reading How to Design Powerful Digital Stories

Grade 8 Graphic Design: Effective Logos

This year at the Calgary Science School, there’s a new structure to the Fine Arts Program, bringing in the element of choice at the grade 7 and 8 level. One of the new courses being offered is an introduction to Graphic Design. The first assignment students are working on is a logo design project. To set up this project, students were introduced to 5 principles for effective logos. Using this great post by Jacob Cass, students were able to examine clear examples for each of the 5 principles, as well as many examples of poorly designed logos. Next, we used … Continue reading Grade 8 Graphic Design: Effective Logos

Building Inquiry into Physical Education

Last week, our Physical Education team met in order to weave more ‘inquiry-based learning’ into the way Phys Ed is taught at our school. The team came away excited about the planning session, and is now making two significant changes to the way the Phys Ed program is being presented this year. 1) Enduring Questions. After much discussion about the long-term goals of the teachers, we boiled down the vision of the P.E. program into 2 questions. These questions are given to the students as a way to weave common threads throughout all the different units. How did you best … Continue reading Building Inquiry into Physical Education

Designing Inquiry Based Learning

Here at the Calgary Science School we have a mandated focus to build our practice around Inquiry-based Learning. As a charter school, we are required by the Alberta Government to re-apply for charter renewal every 5 years. We are currently in our 11th year of operation and the first year of our third charter. Our current charter is built on the following Vision and Mission Statements: Vision: The Calgary Science School will inspire passion and innovation within an inquiry-based learning community by bringing learning to life and life to learning Mission: The Calgary Science School will provide its students the … Continue reading Designing Inquiry Based Learning

This Grade 8 Project Needs Your Help!

Our grade 8 teachers are currently working on a large-scale project that will soon need your help! In Alberta, the grade 8 Social Studies curriculum revolves around “Worldviews.” One of the core concepts our teachers want to get across this year is that different groups of people have different worldviews. The plan for our grade 8 students is: 1) to build hypotheses about which indicators (age, location, gender, etc) might have the greatest impact on people’s worldviews. 2) in their math classes (stats are part of the grade 8 curriculum) design the indicators and data analysis they want to run … Continue reading This Grade 8 Project Needs Your Help!

CSS Podcasts: First Nations Defense Assignment

Grades: 7 Subject: Social Studies In this episode, a grade 7 Social Studies teacher shares an approach where are students are asked to defend a chosen First Nations group against historical critiques. One of the goals of the assignment was to include a problem or challenge for the students to respond to while they were researching Canadian First Nations. As always, we invite feedback and discussion on the materials we publish. Please feel free to comment. This is an example of one of the completed pieces of student work: Here are the assignment materials used in the project. You can … Continue reading CSS Podcasts: First Nations Defense Assignment