News from Boissevain School

February 24, 2013

Update – Feb. 24 – 2013

Filed under: Education — Mr. White @ 8:37 pm

 

What’s Up at Boissevain School

 

Upcoming Dates:

 

Feb. 26 – PD Day in Souris – Rick Wormli

March 5 – Gr. 9 Career Day in BU/ACC

March 6 – Magical Mystery Munsch Show – K to Gr. 6  – 9:15 am

March 6 – Gr. 11 Career Day in BU/ACC

March 8 – Admin Day – Farm Focus

March 12 – K – 8 Reports go home

March 14 – K to 8 Interviews

March 19 – Band Concert – North Gym – 7:30pm

March 19  – Blood Donor Clinic – South Gym

April 3  – Live Differently – Gr. 7 to 12 – 2 pm

April 5 – MADD – Gr. 9 to 12 – 9 am

April 16 – HS reports go home

April 18 – HS Interviews

 

 

 

Reminders:  Please mark on your calendars!

Staff Mtgs:  Primary – ????  – 3:30    MS – ????  – 8 am    HS  – FEB. 25 – 3:30

(as always, submit items on the staff wiki or let me know – Meetings are in Meeting Room)

 

√ Al and I are away this Friday – Travis agreed to be acting admin

√ K TO 8 Report Reminder: Interview Names in office by March 4 –  Comments completed by March 6 – Reporst completed by March 8 for printing – Reports to parents on March 12 – Parent/Teacher Interviews on March 14

 

√ High School

Next Advisory is:

Feb. 27 – Regular Advisory

 

 

√√√√ Please be prepared to report on PD that you have attended since the last staff meeting – use the 3 – 2 – 1 process:

3 Highlights – 2 Questions you have – 1 item you implement in the school.

 

 

√√√√ As I read through Damian Cooper’s Book called Redefining Fair, some things stick out as reminders of best practice: This refers to Assessment for Learning – It restates the importance of making learning outcomes visible and clear to students daily/weekly!

 

Components of Assessment for Learning

(Cooper, 2007)

1. Do I routinely share learning goals with my students so they

know where we are heading?

2. Do I routinely communicate to students the standards they are

aiming for before they begin work on a task?

3. Do I routinely have students self and peer assess their work in

ways that improve their learning?

4. Does my questioning technique include all students and

promote increased understanding?

5. Do I routinely provide individual feedback to students that

informs them how to improve?

6. Do I routinely provide opportunities for students to make use of

this feedback to improve specific pieces of work?

 

DIFFERING ASSESSMENT PURPOSES – THINK ABOUT THIS COMPARISON

 

ASSESSMENT FOR/AS LEARNING                ASSESSMENT OF LEARNING

TRYOUTS                                           GAMES

PRACTICES                                        PLAYOFFS

 

(think about how a sport is prepared and played with what you do in your classroom)

 

 

 

 

 

 

√√√√ Ideas that Work

 

Should I teach problem-, project- or inquiry-based learning?

By Lauren Davis on February 14th, 2013 | Comments(11)

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Lately, there have been a bunch of buzzwords floating around the education world that all seem to mean the same thing. You’ve probably heard them: problem-based learning, project-based learning and inquiry-based learning. Is there a difference? How will you know which one to do in your classroom?

First, let’s start with what they have in common. All of these methods place an emphasis on teaching process, not just content. They require students to make discoveries for authentic audiences and purposes. Using these methods will help you meet the Common Core State Standards, which are all about helping students become independent thinkers who can gather information on their own and use knowledge for real-world tasks.

So you know you want to try one of these teaching methods, but how do you decide which one? Here’s a cheat sheet to understanding the subtle differences and deciding which one is right for you.

Project-based learning

  • Definition: Students create a written, oral, visual or multimedia project with an authentic audience and purpose. Project-based learning is usually done in English, social studies or foreign-language class.
  • Example: Teacher Heather Wolpert-Gawron’s ELA students wanted to fix the broken bell at their school. They developed a thesis, organized a petition, wrote letters and prepared an oral statement that was read to the principal.
  • Teaching Tip: Make sure your project doesn’t just have students regurgitate knowledge. For example, don’t have students make a map that displays information from a textbook. Have students discover their own findings for their projects.
  • For More Info: Edutopia’s Project-Based Learning Professional Development Guide includes a variety of student examples.

Problem-based learning

  • Definition: Students investigate and solve a real-world problem. To do so, students must identify what they already know and what they need to learn, and then they find and apply knowledge. Problem-based learning often takes place in math and science class. It doesn’t necessarily include a project at the end so it doesn’t always take as long as project-based learning.
  • Example: Nancy Sulla, author of “Students Taking Charge: Inside the Learner-Active, Technology-Infused Classroom,” gives this science example: Researchers are conflicted on whether we can use certain types of bacteria to clean up radioactive pollution in water. Have students use the scientific method, evaluate data on bacteria, and decide how one bacteria or a combination of them would work effectively as microscopic radioactive pollution eaters.
  • Teaching Tip: Make sure you choose a problem that is open-ended and has no one right answer.
  • For More Info: This site from the University of Delaware offers a variety of problems from which teachers can choose.

Inquiry-based learning

  • Definition: Students explore a question in-depth and ask further questions to gather knowledge. This method is often done in science but can be done in any subject area. The term “inquiry” has been around for years; some people say that problem-based learning is just the new term for the same thing.
  • Example: Teacher Winnifred Bolinsky used inquiry-based learning to help students understand the physics principle of inertia.
  • Teaching Tip: Give students a variety of ways to gather knowledge — not just on the computer but through hands-on learning.
  • For More Info: Examples and video clips of inquiry-based learning can be found onThirteen’s Edonline site

How are you doing these types of learning experiences in your classroom? Leave a comment.

Lauren Davis is a former English teacher. She is the senior editor at Eye On Education. She recently edited a three-book series, “Common Core Literacy Lesson Plans”: Ready-to-Use Resources (K–5, 6–8 and 9–12). She also writes a blog series,Comments on the Common Core.

 

 

February 18, 2013

Update for Feb. 17

Filed under: Education — Mr. White @ 4:16 pm

What’s Up at Boissevain School

 

Upcoming Dates:

 

Feb. 20 – Rachel Ashley – Bullying Presentation – Gr. 5 to 12 – 2pm to 3pm

Feb. 26 – PD Day in Souris

Mar. 6 – Magical Mystery Munsch Show – K to Gr. 6  – 9:15 am

March 12 – K – 8 Reports go home

March 14 – K to 8 Interviews

March 19 – Band Concert

April 3  – Live Differently – Gr. 7 to 12 – 2 pm

April 5 – MADD – Gr. 9 to 12 – 9 am

April 16 – HS reports go home

April 18 – HS Interviews

 

Reminders:  Please mark on your calendars!

Staff Mtgs:  Primary – FEB. 20  – 3:30    MS – FEB. 19  – 8 am    HS  – FEB. 25 – 3:30

(as always, submit items on the staff wiki or let me know – Meetings are in Meeting Room)

 

√ please be sure to take a look at the following TMSD document on Field Trips and Extracurricular Trips – we know this but it is a good reminder – don’t be misinformed

http://www.tmsd.mb.ca/policy/I/I-6.pdf

 

√ Just a reminder for K to 8 that report cards are coming up in the Middle of March and it is regular reports – just a reminder that the comments are the same as last time – Strengths, Challenges and Next Steps – thanks for doing such a good job with that.

√ $464 was placed in the envelope to support the Pentecost family – we will get a cheque to the Town of Waskada who are looking after this right away – there are other areas to donate if you are looking to do something else – thanks for your generosity!

√ if you haven’t gone over your growth plan with Al or I, please check your time – we have 6 scheduled for Wednesday – Feb. 20 and we need to set up meetings with others – thanks for having the information updated before you come.

√ Al and I are at a principal’s meeting this Thursday in the morning – Corey will be acting admin

√ High School

Next Advisory is:

Feb. 20 – No Advisory – Rachel Ashley – 2 pm to 3 pm

Feb. 27 – Regular Advisory

√√√√ Please be prepared to report on PD that you have attended since the last staff meeting – use the 3 – 2 – 1 process as described to you earlier.

 

√√√√√ – please take a look at this video clip by a Gr. 7 student – I use Symbaloo to organize my bookmarks and organize my Professional Learning Network (PLN) – this student uses it for a Personal Learning Environment (PLE) – this way they have access to this everywhere – I recommend students do something like this – I have looked at Evernote and Glogster that is mentioned in the video – remember, give them this idea and they may run with it (this is probably for Gr. 5 to 12 students but you can judge whether your students can benefit)

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=YEls3tq5wIY

 

 

√√√√ We attended the COSL conference in Winnipeg this past Thursday and Friday.  It was like an All Star conference as the Keynote speakers have some excellent backgrounds.  They were Damian Cooper, George Couros and Michael Fullan.  I also went to a session with Andy McKiel and Ryan Miller.

 

I have some books by Damian Cooper and Michael Fullan that are excellent reads.  Michael Fullan referred to Ken O’Connor who wrote the book 15 fixes for Broken Grades.  We have looked at the 15 fixes at our principal’s meetings.

 

The Session by Damian Cooper was looking at his latest book called: Redefining Fair – How to Plan, Assess and Grade for Excellence in Mixed – Ability Classrooms.  The presentation was all related to what we are doing in our province with regards to Essential Learning, Outcomes, Assessment and Report Cards.  Mr. Cooper made reference to all grades from K to 12 in his examples.

 

I have started to read REDEFINING FAIR and would love to share with anyone who is interested. To get an idea of what his discussion is about in his book, these are the questions he had asked teachers about their major challenges found on Page 1.

1.              How do I differentiate my program for struggling learners when they are all expected to know the same material?

2.              How should I modify my rubrics for my struggling learners?

3.              How do I manage my high school classes if I have students moving at different speeds? I have so much to cover.

4.              I can’t insist on all of my students mastering essential learning.  At the end of a unit, don’t we have to move on?

5.              How can my report card grades be fair and accurate when I have such a wide range of students in my class?

6.              How is it fair to those students who are successful the first time if others get to do assignments and tests over again?

7.              If students know they can do rewrites on major assignments, why should they try the first time?

8.              If students get to redo tests, won’t I have to have lots of tests for every unit?

 

Damian Cooper says these are all challenging questions that will be explored in his book. Some of the questions involve curriculum, some focus on instruction, some address assessment, and some concern grading.

 

√√√√ I am attaching some links to some projects done by Andy McKiel and Ryan Miller – Winnipeg.  There is no way that I can do what they did because of Ryan’s music talents and Andy’s technology abilities (Shawn Can) however they sure show what can be done to create an understanding of others.  I sure liked all of these – if you have some time this week take a look or at least take a look  some time.  They would be good for your class to see – Primary might want to look at them first and see if they work.

They all refer to the RESPECT Pillar.

 

BETTER TOGETHER –

http://oddfellow-music.blogspot.ca/

COMMUNITY UNITY – a collaboration between Brookland School (Wpg) and The Pas

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Xuye4HjrZ1c

BLURRED IMAGES

http://blurredimages.wikispaces.com/

 

√ Mike sent this to me and we saw one of the Kid Snippets at the conference – it was mentioned that it was a great project to collaborate students from HS with younger students – this would be the TEAMWORK Pillar

 

http://www.youtube.com/watch?feature=player_embedded&v=OVdNbZ0AvQg&list=PLDFD0284A5DA24371

 

February 15, 2013

Update – Feb. 3

Filed under: Uncategorized — Mr. White @ 6:07 am

 

What’s Up at Boissevain School

 

Upcoming Dates:

 

Feb. 11 – HS – Master portfolio midterm marks are due to the office

Feb. 20 – Rachel Ashley – Bullying Presentation – Gr. 5 to 12 – 2pm to 3pm

Feb. 26 – PD Day in Souris

Mar. 6 – Magical Mystery Munsch Show – K to Gr. 6  – 9:15 am

March 12 – K – 8 Reports go home

March 14 – K to 8 Interviews

March 19 – Band Concert

April 3  – Live Differently – Gr. 7 to 12 – 2 pm

April 5 – MADD – Gr. 9 to 12 – 9 am

April 16 – HS reports go home

April 18 – HS Interviews

 

 

 

Reminders:  Please mark on your calendars!

Staff Mtgs:  Primary – FEB. 20  – 3:30    MS – FEB. 19  – 8 am    HS  – FEB. 25 – 3:30

(as always, submit items on the staff wiki or let me know – Meetings are in Meeting Room)

 

√ I have heard some real positive remarks about some Respect activities in classrooms and advisory groups – I think I have picked up more pieces of paper off the hallway floor then ever before.

√ I found the bus sign up sheet for the Rick Wormli Workshop in Souris on Feb. 26 – it is now on the counter in the office – if you would like to travel by bus please sign your name to the list – there is a date to sign up by to see if enough people will be taking the bus

√ Corey applied for another AED machine like we have in the staff room as there is a program to get more of them in public buildings – it is an expensive item and his application was approved – good stuff – it will be placed in a spot between the two gyms so that it available at all times as required.

√ Al and I are in Winnipeg on Thursday and Friday at COSL – Keith is acting admin on Thursday and Travis is on Friday

√ THE BIG LEAGUE – please be sure to talk to your clases (K to 7) and give me the details so that I can send it to MTYP – I have Connie’s and Donna Jeans – thank you

√ Grade 5 to 12 – just a reminder from the email that I had sent out last week – please go into your Gradebook of Maplewood and create a new category for Final Exam which means all your categories will add up to 100% – if you do not have a final exam then don’t worry about this

 

√ HS – please make sure you submit your course outlines for Term 2 by Feb. 11 so that I can prepare the mark breakdown for Maplewood – you can submit a paper copy or electronically

 

√ High School

Next Advisory is:

Feb. 13 – Regular Advisory

Feb. 20 – No Advisory – Rachel Ashley – 2 pm to 3 pm

Feb. 27 – Regular Advisory

 

√Leisa H.  was the first to say that she would take Sindy from Columbia in her Advisory Group

 

√√√√ Please be prepared to report on PD that you have attended since the last staff meeting – use the 3 – 2 – 1 process as described to you earlier

√√√√ I read an article in the Free Press about the MB Teaching Society naming rights  for a room in the New  Canadian Museum of Human Rights  – it might be worth your while to be better informed – check this site out

http://www.mbteach.org/extras/naming%20rights.html

 

 

√√√√  I have mentioned that I read a blog written by George Couros and he is a Keynote speaker at the COSL conference in Winnipeg that Al and I are attending Thursday and Friday.  His most recent post is as follows.

 

Does the “Traditionalist” have a fixed mindset?

On February 8, 2013, in Leading a Learning Community, by George
cc licensed ( BY ) flickr photo shared by USAG-Humphreys

The cursive handwriting debate is one that is beyond interesting and it has made me really think of what happens when educators debate ideas. What happens when we disagree?  How does that impact our students?  If the grade one teacher totally disagrees with the grade two teacher on certain aspects of education, what happens to the kids?  I think debate is fantastic as long as it is focused on what is best for kids, but I also wonder what happens in schools when we agree to disagree?  How does that impact our kids long term?

The other thing that I have thought about during some of these conversations is the teacher that proclaims, “I am a traditionalist!”  What does that mean?  To me,  I think that I am very traditional in my values as an educator (relationships, working with kids to be respectful and considerate, etc.), but I hope progressive on the way I teach.  Yet when I hear, “I am a very traditional teacher”, it usually is during conversations regarding how we teach.  What I hear in my head is, “I teach the way I was taught”, which automatically goes to Carol Dweck’s thoughts on mindset, especially the notion of a fixed mindset.  If you have not read the book, here is the Wikipedia summary on a fixed mindset:

Those with a fixed mindset believe their talents and abilities cannot be improved through any means. They feel that they are born with a certain amount of talent and typically do not wish to challenge their abilities due to the possibility of failure. Individuals with a fixed mindset frequently guard themselves against situations in which they feel they need to prove their personal worth. Challenges are frequently viewed negatively, instead of as an opportunity for personal growth.

Now I would not say that I think the “traditionalist” doesn’t believe that they can improve, but it seems that if they refer to the way things were in school as almost being utopian, do they not have a fixed mindset on what school could be?  I will tell you that I actually enjoyed school quite a bit (in most cases) but I am also jealous of the opportunities kids have now in school that I didn’t.  I also think that we need to continue to explore to make school better.

I am not saying things were bad when I was in school, but that was a different time and a much different world.  Shouldn’t teaching and learning progress alongside society at least, and maybe in some cases lead the way?  I believe that there are some things in school that still work for kids, but I would never say I am a traditionalist.

What do you think?

 

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