Mid November Reflections – Voices

It’s mid November and the leaves have displayed their Fall colours (either still hanging onto trees or splashed across the landscape). We truly live in a wonderful part of the world. 

One of our concentrations is to provide a written voice for every student. Six teams of classroom and LSS/ELL partnerships from six schools launched, each with their own set of laptops or ipads. These teams are using a variety of tools to support voice: Google Apps for Education, student blogfolios to reflect, Solo software (focused on CoWriter offering word prediction) or ipads with DoInk green screen, Explain Everything and padcaster. As part of the journey, the teams meet together to share and push their learning as well as document their ongoing story. Lessons learned and nuggets of connections will be shared here on our Teams page. Even better – ask them yourselves:

  • Maywood – Satpaul, Jason, Halina; 
  • Edmonds – Hayley, Angela;
  • South Slope – Grady, Deb, Jennifer A; 
  • Chaffey-Burke – Carlene, Alan; 
  • Suncrest – Balbir, Joe;
  • Parkcrest – Sheila, Scott;
  • UHE – Kristina (year 2);
  • Marlborough – Ann (year 2) 

We’re looking forward to strengthening our strategies. 

Welcome back – It’s a New Year

Happy September. Hope your summer was filled with lots of time for family, rejuvenation and fun. Back to another year of learning, connecting with familiar faces and meeting new faces. Whether you’re starting in a new site, new job position or deepening your understanding of the redesigned curriculum, it’s an exciting time. One of the greatest things about our district is that we’re in the journey together. Support is everywhere – ask someone, anyone! If they don’t know, they’ll point you in a direction. 

Learning Technologies supports every curricular area. Included in this are innovative learning and teaching practices, communication, assessment as well as consult on hardware related possibilities. Latest opportunities you ask?

  • Last year we launched our ADST kits focused on developing the language of core competencies (centers that can be run in any elementary building). This will continue – if your school is interested, contact any member of our Learning Tech team. 
  • Trying to get your writing standards so there is focused support on revision process or respond in timely manner? GAFE (Google Apps for Education) connects and takes advantage of everything digital. This allows you and your students to layer comments where needed (anytime, anywhere). Group work could never be easier. 
  • O365 is on a soft pilot launch at secondary and this will unfold through the year. 
  • Need a web presence for your classroom work and communication with parents? Tired of all that paper that doesn’t quite get home? Our sd41 blogs are the mainstay for informing parents/students. Help parents to understand the redesigned curriculum by providing tidbits. Give a window into your class learning. (At elementary, a classblog can also be the platform to authentically practice their digital citizenship/footprint.) 
  • Want to “Communicate Student Reflective Learning“? Our ePortfolios/blogfolios have risen to the challenge of providing a space catered for reflection. A private space for students to show elements of critical thinking to their parents and gain responses. This is a back-and-forth conversation including child-parent-teacher. What we’ve discovered is that it connects across languages and generations (parents, grandparents can respond in any language), across distances (families who live in other parts of the globe), as well as strengthens digital citizenship (for upper intermediates, parts can be public like a website). 
  • Get the most out of your iPads (idevices). This is an ongoing conversation as apps are constantly removed and added to iTunes. Our “Top 20” has changed again – stay tuned. We support district configuration, school organization and effective learning using the tool. 
  • Classroom online programs supporting literacy and math?
    • Reading A-Z (new pilot upgraded from RazKids) includes French text, print copies (watch the trees – we love trees).
    • Skoolbo – basic literacy (beginning reading onwards) and math skills in a gamey fashion. (teacher managed) 
  • Fast ForWord (district) – Tier 3 or 2 intervention targeting students at-risk for reading. (*contact: Janet Chow
  • School site support – we love meeting and working alongside our teachers and administrators. Email our team. 

**Applications are on our site under FORMS/APPLY. Registration for learning sessions are in the Learn Portal (STAFF DEVELOPMENT CALENDAR). 

Current Learning Teams: 

  • Honouring Voice in Every Writer – Engaging Hearts and Minds > open to anyone who is interested in using GAFE (Google Apps for Education). Storytelling is about discovery; discovery of oneself, discovery of our relationship with the world, discovery of questions within ourselves. Using GAFE in ways that is purposeful and intentional, elevates the connection and allows the power of voice to lift off to wider audiences. This project boldly attempts to create spaces where every voice is heard and empowered. (Registration will be on Staff Development Calendar)
  • Supporting classroom innovative practices > Partnership with SETBC and district LSS creating communities of practice between classroom teacher and LST to differentiate for all students. These teams are provided with technologies (and pro-d) that support the learning for all students. 
  • ImagineerTech – focused on integration of technologies within the classroom in meaningful, purposeful ways. 

This is only a smattering of opportunities – we’re involved with so much more. If you’re interested in something not on this list, please email our team. 

Voices as Stories from the Heart

Ever hang out with people who dream up things that make your head spin? While lots of people come up with over-the-top ideas, it’s rare that these come to fruition with powerful lasting impacts. I was fortunate enough to have been a part of a listening circle to see this one unfold. Imagine the months of work in fine tuning the idea to match the goals, engaging in heartfelt conversations and inviting participation at many levels. Finally the day arrives and something unexpected happens. Social media takes over and amplifies the story in such a way that the world notices.

Inspired by Canadian heroes Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip,  Sheila Gourlay (Parkcrest Elementary) and Carlene Montgomery (Chaffey-Burke Elementary) launched a project that encompassed 3 goals: honour Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip, raise money for cancer research and celebrate Canada’s 150th birthday. Two schools, 700+ students, one song (Ahead By A Century) and hours of rehearsals, their voices unite across cyberspace. The video says it all. You can also find their story on A Kids’ Guide to Canada celebrating Canada 150 (a national story connecting student voices from coast to coast to coast). 
What did the students learn? “Even though they’re young, they  can aim towards something bigger than themselves and make a difference.”

The story doesn’t end here. Gord Downie and the Tragically Hip have just been named to the Order of Canada.