We just completed our first week with our school full of students, educators, and parents. What a great week it was. It’s always so much better once the staff and students arrive. They make all the planning and hard work before-hand worth it. I don’t know about you, but seeing the faces of the children just make me energized and makes me want to work even harder.
So, what am I so excited about this year, you wonder?
It’s all about learning, growing, and blossoming into something that is better than before (even though it looks pretty good as it is now)!
Our school has a number of exciting things in the works this year.
First of all, we were fortunate to be chosen as one schools involved with the Innovative Learning Designs Project – Phase 2. We are excited with all the new learning that will result (staff and students alike).
Next, George Couros (@gcouros on Twitter) helped to raise the bar of excitement, wonder, and interest when he came to lead our summer Pro. D. Day on August 31st. He really got a lot of people pumped about learning new things and trying things in their classroom that they may never have tried before.
As a result of the teachers excitement and interest in learning, we are having our first Digital Discovery sessions this week. We will actually be having two – one on Tuesday morning and one on Thursday at lunch. I will be offering two sessions each week because there is so much interest and we have many teachers who work part-time, but still want to be involved. I will do whatever it takes to help our staff become more connected, so two sessions each week it will be. Our first session will focus on Twitter. I’m sure there will be a number upcoming sessions about Twitter as well. You can’t accomplish too much in 30-45 minutes. It is just enough time though – so teachers will not get overwhelmed and their interested will be piqued. That is my hope anyways.
Another exciting project in our school is based at the centre of the school – our Library. Our Librarian, Jim Holgate, has amazing plans for the library this year. For starters, he is thinking of ways to encourage collaboration and ways he can help teachers and students on this journey of discovery. He has proposed that teachers sign up for their “prep” time so that two classes can be together at one time. As a result, Jim team-teach/collaborate with one teacher as the other teacher has their prep. Later in the week, their roles would flip. We see this as being such an amazing learning opportunity for our students and staff. We are very grateful for Jim for providing this opportunity. We hope teachers will see how valuable this could be and try to sign up for their “preps” with their colleagues. In this way, even if this collaboration or team-teaching does not occur every week, the structure is in place for it to happen when they want to do such work together.
There is a lot we need to do in the library to encourage this type of collaboration and to actually enable two classes of children to be in the library at one time. We will continue to work on this, but we’re thinking that we may need some district assistance in this area.
Next, we are starting a “Reading Support Program” for some of our students who may not get regular practise reading at home. We know how beneficial daily reading of “just right” books is, so we hope to provide this opportunity to some of our students. We are still determining how this will work and what the program will involve.
As a school with a high number of Aboriginal Learners, we are fortunate to be invited to be involved in the Aboriginal Laptop Project. We will be receiving a scanner and 4-5 laptops with programs such as Kurzweil, Co-Writer, and Dragon Speaks. A team of 7 teachers from our school went together to be ARC-BC trained and learn more about the project and Kurzweil. We left with an exciting vision of how this technology will truly make a difference in many of our student’s learning. We look forward to exploring this further!
At the district level, we will be offered the Engaging the Digital Learner Dinner Series again. I am so excited about what this is going to look like and who are guests will be this year.
These are just some of the wonderful things that we are embarking upon this year.
While I know this year is going to be a lot of work, it is going to be so rewarding!
What exciting things are you and/or your school involved with this year?