“Examining Student Work” – Part II

As written before, a significant chunk of our PD this year revolves around an “examining student work” framework. In previous years, we have focused much of our professional energies around what teachers do in the classroom (how we plan, build projects, use technology, etc). However, this year we wanted to look at the work actually being produced by students and examine it for deep understanding of core concepts. While the two are intimately connected (teaching and learning) we believe that the most useful data to inform practice comes from carefully examining the work our students produce. About a month ago, … Continue reading “Examining Student Work” – Part II

The Benefits of an Arts Education

How Do We Know When Students Are Benefitting from the Arts? A Personal Response Supporting Advancing Arts Programs Dr. Shelley Robinson After writing the literature review Promising Practices and Core Learnings in Art Education (Alberta Education, 2008) and then reviewing the K-12 Arts Education Curriculum Framework (Alberta Education, June 2009 Draft), I pose the following question: What is our essential goal as educators when offering the arts in public education? And, how do modular programs compare with advancing programs (that require some pre-requisite skills) in achieving this goal? What seems most natural for me when considering this question is to … Continue reading The Benefits of an Arts Education

Guest Speaker at MRU

This morning one of our staff, Neil Stephenson, was a guest speaker during an Education Course at Mount Royal University. Neil was asked to participate in a course on inquiry-based learning, and he Skyped in to respond to questions generated by the university students. The students had utilized the Inquiry Rubric developed by the Galileo Educational Network as the framework for discussing Inquiry, and then used Neil’s Cigar Box Project as a case study. In groups, the students had used the Rubric to assess Neil’s project, and then came to today’s discussion with questions about the project and designing inquiry-based … Continue reading Guest Speaker at MRU

Graph the Olympics!

Our grade 7 and 8 teachers recently finished a graphing and statistical analysis unit that was designed around the 2010 Winter Olympics in Vancouver. The essential questions for this project were: Can different graphs change the perception of data? Are there data sets that are more appropriate for certain graphs? How do we determine the rankings/seedings for countries/athletes? You can view the planning document here. This contains the outcomes and descriptions of various parts of the project. The project involved students moving through a number of different graphing assignments: 1) in groups, students were assigned a participating country in the … Continue reading Graph the Olympics!

Grade 8: Renaissance Debates

As described in previous posts, here and here, our grade 8’s have been working through a study of the Italian Renaissance, examining the conditions that existed, and then making comparisons with life in contemporary Calgary. In order to help bridge the gap between the Italian Renaissance and contemporary Calgary, we made use of a number of local experts on various topics including arts, religion, science, technology, education and communication. Some of the experts who worked with our kids over the last month included: Taco van Leperen, Programmer for Smart TechnologiesPedro Sabarita, Former Calgary Art Gallery Owner, Energy ConsultantStuart Crichton, C.A., … Continue reading Grade 8: Renaissance Debates

Making Sense of Inquiry: Metacognition

Dr. Shelley Robinson, Assistant Principal An important part of inquiry-based learning is helping students to develop the ability to be metacognitive in their approach to learning. By definition, “cognition refers to the process of knowing. Meta, derived from the Greek, means ‘beyond’ or ‘from’. Metacognition, then, refers to knowing how we learn best and consciously controlling our learning…” (Foster, et al., 2002, p. 5). Quite commonly, the work of teachers, when grappling with these metacognitive considerations in their school planning, often begins when they consider three guiding questions as a starting point to assist in self-understanding: “1. What do I … Continue reading Making Sense of Inquiry: Metacognition