Grade 8s Need Help from Calgary Experts

“Does Calgary have the necessary conditions to be a Renaissance City? This is the overarching question that grade 8 students at the Calgary Science School are currently working to answer. Over the last few months, students researched particular areas of the Renaissance, including trade/commerce, religion/spirituality, and art/culture to ascertain what conditions, developments and unique features were present in northern Italy during the 16th century. After completing their research, the students have condensed their findings into a short presentation video- with the intention of demonstrating the particular conditions that led to the flourishing of the Italian City States during the Italian … Continue reading Grade 8s Need Help from Calgary Experts

CSS Library – 1:1 Changes

Donna Alden, Teacher-Librarian What changes in the school library program and collection have I already made in response to the 24/7-technology access our students have at this school? Over the past two years, less emphasis is put on strategies for accessing information in print resources, and more has been placed on instruction and guidance in accessing online information sources, including online databases and Internet sites. The school library collection reflects changes in the way it is being developed. Many topics students include in research and inquiry projects are truly better researched online. Topics as diverse as Canadian politics and legislation, … Continue reading CSS Library – 1:1 Changes

Grade 9: Food or Fuel

This project is a grade 9 Science Project examining the topic of biofuel development. Students were introduced to the topic through a powerpoint presentation designed to hook the students with some of the controversial facts on the issue. Students worked through the development of a number of research questions, and then began a collaborative research process using school-hosted blogs. All of this lead to the creation of a public service announcement (PSA) designed to make an emotional connection to the issue. You can access all the specific planning details of the project by clicking here. This is one of the … Continue reading Grade 9: Food or Fuel

Grade 4 Regions: Project Outline

Previously on the site, we had shared a grade 4 project designed to cover the Alberta’s regions component of the Social Studies Program of Studies. Basically, the goal of the project is to have students, in groups of 4, design the layout for a community that combines their content understanding of a particular geographic region (natural resources, vegetation, unique geographical features) with some basic concepts of sustainable development. The teachers met yesterday and planned out some of the particulars of the project. You can access the planning document and outline of the project here (including some initial drafts of rubrics). … Continue reading Grade 4 Regions: Project Outline

“Examining Student Work” Introduction

As written before, our school wide focus this year is on examining student work to highlight student understanding. We have developed a framework through which teachers will collaborative examine a particular project from their classroom. The framework leads through an examination of (1) the key outcomes behind the project (2) the assessments used and (3) how the student work demonstrates deep understanding of the desired outcomes. The purpose is to critically examine a planned unit, and to take seriously the nature of student work produced. It’s our belief that carefully examining student work is a key element, if not … Continue reading “Examining Student Work” Introduction

“Examining Student Work” – Reflective PD

This year our Professional Development goals are focused on three question: 1. What do we want students to know?2. How do we know that they’ve learned it?3. What do we do when they haven’t learned it? These questions are so deceptively simple – yet as you begin to unpack them – so many discourses about good teaching and learning come falling out. Even taking seriously the first question – what do we want them to know? – unravels into many questions about what counts as something worth understanding. In our experience, it’s difficult to boil a curricular topic down to … Continue reading “Examining Student Work” – Reflective PD

Thoughts from the CSS Library – Resources

Donna Alden, Teacher-Librarian So, are all students becoming critical consumers of Internet sources? Are we purposefully integrating the teaching of strategies students need to critically evaluate sources of information before they select them off the Internet? In any collaborative planning with teachers, one of the first points of discussion after deciding upon the inquiry question and how the product and/or process will be evaluated, is that of key resources that will be accessed by students. Not that many years ago, we would have integrated knowledge of specific key print resources to be used, depending upon the topic or assignment. At … Continue reading Thoughts from the CSS Library – Resources

Have You Used This Blog?

We’re now about half way into our first year of experimenting with this Connect Blog, and we’re hoping to get some feedback from those educators who are accessing it. Our goal is to gather some data on the impact of this form of Outreach, and receive feedback on how we might improve the content. So, if you have read content on this blog, and made use of any of the resources in your classroom, or if you have been impacted to think different about any elements of your teaching practice, would you please consider taking a couple of minutes to … Continue reading Have You Used This Blog?

Thoughts from the CSS Library – Databases

Donna Alden, Teacher-Librarian A library that has been professionally managed, whether in a school, academic or public library has resources that have been evaluated and selected for a specific user population. Searching for information in that library should garner reliable results. Once the search expands to an Internet search, the evaluation and selection procedure becomes the responsibility of the researcher, and that’s not a bad thing. It does, however, necessitate making clear that the Internet is not a huge online “library”, where resources have been evaluated, selected, and organized for access in the same way as a library. There is … Continue reading Thoughts from the CSS Library – Databases

Grade 8 Worldview Survey is Live!

Our Grade 8 study of Worldviews is in full swing. As written before, the students have created a survey with the hopes of gathering global data on worldview trends. The students worked with Rob Pegg to learn the important elements of survey design. We then had our grade 9 students critique the grade 8 survey questions, providing detailed feedback and suggestions on how to refine the survey. We then used Skype to video-conference with Wes Fryer, a leading educational technologist and blogger in Oklahoma. Wes provided our students with insights into current social and communication tools, and how they can … Continue reading Grade 8 Worldview Survey is Live!