Measuring our Network

Dan McWilliam The Calgary Science School is a node in a large network of incredible schools, educators, businesses, parents, students and other stakeholders. Collaboration is one of our 6 Charter Goals as accepted by the Alberta Government in July 2013 (our complete Charter Document is available here.) Financial capital is an ongoing concern in education. The Calgary Science School has made an investment in social capital to grow and improve our program. As a node on a large network we have been hosting tours, visitors, volunteers, experts and students teachers. We began tracking these metrics over the 2012-2013 school year … Continue reading Measuring our Network

Highlights of the Annual Superintendent Interviews of Calgary Science School Parents, Students and Staff

Garry McKinnon~ Calgary Science School Superintendent  June 25, 2013 The fourth annual superintendent interviews of parents, students and staff members were conducted over several weeks in the spring of 2013 as a component of the ongoing school evaluation process. On March 7 and 8 during student-led conferences, 50 parents were interviewed. In May and June, grade 4 to 9 students as class groups (24 classes – approximately 600 students) were interviewed. As well, teaching and support staff members (42 participants) were interviewed. The feedback generated through the two questions (without any prompting) “What causes you to believe that the Calgary Science … Continue reading Highlights of the Annual Superintendent Interviews of Calgary Science School Parents, Students and Staff

Developing Social Capital Through Collaboration

Dan McWilliam I was introduced to the idea of Social Capital when I served as a research assistant on a project conducted by Dr. Abdie Kazemipur while at the University of Lethbridge. It was my job to input the collected data from recent immigrants to Calgary to determine whether they were finding and accessing different sources of Social Capital. My basic understanding of the concept did provide me a new perspective on a host of issues. Social capital is about the value of social networks, bonding similar people and bridging between diverse people, with norms of reciprocity (Dekker and Uslaner 2001). One … Continue reading Developing Social Capital Through Collaboration

CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

Grades: 6-9 Subject: All As part of our Collaboration and Outreach Program, the Calgary Science School is creating and sharing podcasts and PDF handouts of inquiry-based lessons designed by our teachers. We encourage feedback, comments and dialogue on the materials we publish. This podcast contains one approach to assessing website credibility by introducing three criteria for students to use when conducting internet research projects. These materials on website credibility were designed by The Critical Thinking Consortium, and are shared here with their permission. Here’s the accompanying PDF of the handouts. You can download the PDF by clicking on the download … Continue reading CSS Podcasts: Assessing Website Credibility

Aligning the Flipped Classroom Approach With Inquiry-Based Learning

A Collaborative Action Research ProjectDave Scott & Jason Publack~ Grade 9 Humanities Over the past year, Jason and I have been looking at the potential of the flipped classroom to enhance first installment we explored the nature of the flipped classroom and outlined, with example videos, how we were trying to integrate this approach into our Humanities program. In our second and third posts, through surveys and focus group interviews with our students, we examined both the strengths and weaknesses of using the flipped classroom model. the learning environment of our grade 9 Humanities students. In our last three blog … Continue reading Aligning the Flipped Classroom Approach With Inquiry-Based Learning

Writers’ Guild

Aimee Trudel~ Grade 5 Humanities CSS’s Writers’ Guild talking to author Dwayne Hauck about self publishing on line. Writers’ Guild; an opportunity for students of all ages to get together and share their passion for writing! In response to a student’s request to have more time to write about ‘anything I want’, she and I spearheaded the Writers’ Guild. So, for the past few months, a handful of students from grades five to nine have gathered together on a weekly basis to share their passion for writing. The Writers’ Guild has since created an Edmodo group to share ideas, resources and … Continue reading Writers’ Guild

Team Teaching: Our Adventures & Advice to Future Collaborators

Ivy Waite and Jaime Groeller~ Grade 8 Humanities This post is part of a series. Read the previous posts here, here, here, and here. After 10 months of experimentation, the question remains: will we continue to approach teaching in such a manner? Have the benefits to all stakeholders outweighed the challenges? We believe the answer is yes! As mentioned in previous posts, team teaching in this manner does not “fix” all problems: in fact, it comes with its own set of challenges, but we truly believe that with a few small changes, many of which we have already instituted, our … Continue reading Team Teaching: Our Adventures & Advice to Future Collaborators

How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

Deirdre Bailey Traditionally, Grade 4 “Wheels, Levers and Devices that Move” units involve hands on investigations in which students have the opportunity to build something. Often however, these building opportunities are heavily regulated and have students follow a specific set of instructions, put pieces together sequentially and then showcase a collection of virtually identical products. While I can’t pretend to know a whole lot about engineering, I am pretty confident that if the discipline were focused on building from instruction booklets, Chris Hadfield wouldn’t have spent the last 6 months in space. As Dr. David Perkins’ mentions in Making Learning Whole, kids … Continue reading How To Build an Awesome Car (Engineering Thinking in Grade 4)

The Potential of the Flipped Classroom: Post Number 3

A Collaborative Action Research ProjectDave Scott & Jason Publack Grade 9 Humanities As outlined in our last post found here, we have been looking at the potential of the flipped classroom within the context of a grade 9 Humanities class. In case you haven’t encountered this model of learning, within the flipped classroom students watch classroom instruction for homework as part of a video or ‘vodcast’. Class time is then spent on inquiry-based learning where students apply what they learned at home and are also given the chance to ask questions and receive feedback. Whereas last time we had students … Continue reading The Potential of the Flipped Classroom: Post Number 3

Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project

Candice Shaw The Grade 4 and 7 Math and Science teams were fortunate enough to attend the Calgary Science School/Rocky View Schools Cross Authority  STEM planning days in April. During these days, we were able to brainstorm, collaborate, and “flush out” a cross-grade collaborative unit. Both Grade 4 and 7 Science have units on Plants – Plant Growth and Changes (Grade 4) and Plants for Food and Fibre (Grade 7). The initial vision for the unit was created by Carolyn Armstrong and Deirdre Bailey, when they attended the Cross Authority Environmental Stewardship planning days. When Heather Melville and I jumped … Continue reading Grade 4/7 Plants Collaborative Project