It has been a long time, but finally we had everyone together for a face-to-face session. Learning Connections is strong, the sharing is awesome and the connections that happen are amazing when we spend a day in one room. Representation from all 15 projects came together at York University last week – woohoo!
The fun started Tuesday night with a dinner for those travelling from afar. With lots of great conversation and yummy food, we got to know each other better and started to plan and get excited about the sharing of projects the next day.
Wednesday morning arrived and so did everyone else to York University. The day started with an “ice-breaker”/learning activity by Twenty One Toys. Ryan lead us through two activities that made us all think deeper about how we communicate and collaborate with others. Discussions followed on how these activities could improve empathy, communication, collaboration and many more skills for our students.
Some feedback for this session:
“I loved the 21 Toys activity and I was excited to envision that it related to the spatial reasoning skill building that is part of my LC project. I could definitely see exploring this in our participating schools and certainly with our LC Champions.”
The main goal of the Spring Face-to-Face is to have districts share their LC projects and allow for discussions and collaborations. This year was a little differently by taking a “Dragons Den” approach. During 3 different rounds, 5 projects gave a 2-minute pitch to the whole room followed by 30 minutes of discussion time when everyone could float around to visit any projects of interest to ask further questions. Although some were very stressed about their pitches and I had to pull a few teams off the stage at the 2-minute mark (sorry about that), it was a very engaging and fun way to have the group share. Way to go team in embracing this challenge.
“I loved the pitch idea. I think we could have been more creative but, it worked! I liked the fact that you allowed us to visit with groups as we saw the relevancy to our own projects and schools. It was interesting to see what all the other boards are doing and where they are at. Thank you so much for a wonderful opportunity to network and share!”
Right after lunch and before our third sharing round, we had Diane Stang share her insights on Spatial Reasoning Across the Curriculum and Grades. Diane is amazing and very knowledgable on this topic and I always find that I learn so much from her! One of the best facilitators I know 🙂 As for what others thought:
“Very relevant and informative! I really enjoyed this session as well. I learned a lot about how to incorporate spatial reasoning into various curricular areas, as well as WHY I should.”
“My fav session of the day. Great learning. Engaging and knowledgable presenter.”
At the end of the day, I left the group with a challenge. I took risks all day with the types of learning sessions and a new format for sharing, it was their turn to take something from the day and try something new. This is what some of them answered when I asked them to describe one thing from the day that has inspired them to try something new:
“I have come back with energy and enthusiasm to push an inquiry based education in my class and school. I have already talked to my principal about building a maker-space and am looking for funding to incorporate new technologies into my class.”
“Definitely taking the experiences of the Empathy Toy, I learned that technology doesn’t always have to be the flashiest piece of equipment and that innovation is about taking something and using it to leverage existing practices and to connect with others.”
“Hands-on activities with spatial reasoning and blocks.”
I am so fortunate to work with such a great group of educators and so much fun! Here’s wishing everyone a great rest of the school year. I will be catching up on my LC visit blogs soon (I am only behind by 3, which will be 4 after tomorrow).
On a final note, here is a slide show of the event: