This week I had the most wonderful weather for my drive to Near North DSB. We met for the day yesterday at Sundridge Centennial P.S. where the group shared their experiences from this past year in Learning Connections and started planning for next year. Two new teachers were included in the meeting to expand LC in their district.
The focus of their project was on student inquiry- based learning using the new curriculum for Social Studies, History and Geography as their foundation. Teachers had access to iPads in their classrooms to create and produce evidence of learning during the student inquiry projects. Students documented their learning and enhanced their literacy skills using apps such as Explain Everything (older grades) and Pic Collage or Book Creator (younger grades).
Brief description of the inquiry projects in the classroom:
- Grade 2: Students researched and shared their learning around heritage and culture – how do different cultures/religions celebrate their holidays?
- Grade 3: After a few teacher lead lessons on early settlers, students were asked to wonder about any questions they had about the topic. Their assignment was to choose one inquiry question, research the question and then produce two artifacts of their learning: Explain Everything “presentation” and build a model. Teachers posted a “Wonder Wall” in the classroom with photos of the students at the bottom wondering.
- Grade 4/5: Students investigated the different landforms as per the Geography curriculum. Through the use of Explain Everything, the students created unique posters to communicate their understanding of their inquiry. The teacher then printed and showcased their work in the classroom.
- Grade 7/8: Students are doing a history project “In their Shoes”. They will investigate and report on events leading up to Confederation and communicate their understanding from the perspective of someone from that time.
The most interesting part of the day was to hear reflections of this type of work from the teachers based on observation and evidence they have from their students:
- students found the projects more interesting because they could choose their own topics
- students were more engaged and more challenged
- students were comfortable using the app – they could troubleshoot and learn the app without the teacher’s help (even in younger grades)
- students were becoming more dependent on themselves – they could figure out their own tech difficulties
- students were taking more risks when using the technology because it was easy to fix any mistakes as they worked
- students could work at their own pace
When the planning for next year started, the excitement rose in the room, even though it was at the end of the day. Anne has a vision to focus their LC project next year on robotics and coding. The goal of the team would be to map the use of coding in the classroom to curriculum and align their work with the board’s improvement plan to improve student achievement for spacial reasoning in mathematics. I am so excited about this and can’t wait…
When was the last time you saw a hotel room key like this?
Beautiful sunrise from my room.