Inspired by SD36

We had our second Engaging the Digital Learner session last night.  The session was overflowing. You could barely make your way between the tables filled with excited educators. But, even though the room was full and overflowing, there were many others who were unable to participate because there just wasn’t enough room for all those interested (although, there was an additional session scheduled the night before for those who wanted to hear Shelley Wright speak). Since not everyone is able to attend, one of the things I have committed to doing for my staff and anyone who follows me is to share my own learning – to share what happens at these sessions.

This is the first of two blog posts about what was presented at the Engaging the Digital Learner last night and what I learned.

We started the night learning about Fraser Heights’ story (Grade 8-12). Principal, Sheila Morissette made an iMovie about what is happening at their wonderful school:

They are also doing amazing work with their Learning Commons, school-wide teacher blogs, and innovative classes like Inquiry 8 where Science, Math and Humanities classes are all integrated into one class!  Their principal, Sheila Morissette, blogs about her own learning and the learning happening in their school. Their Teacher Librarian, Ann Monk, talked about some of the different ways teachers are blogging at their school. There are some great ideas here!

After their presentations, we had some table talk questions to discuss together. These were two very important questions that many educators and leaders in education really need to think hard about.

1.  How are you sharing your learning at your school?

2.  How could you become more explicit about sharing your learning with your colleagues?

Next, Grade 6/7 teachers from Georges Vanier, Hugh McDonald and Gallit Zvi, presented about Student-Centred Learning: Genius Hour and ePortfolios.

They showed a number of videos last night, including:

21st Century Learning:

Gallit and Hugh talked about Genius Hour and how they do this with their students. They mentioned a Creativity Rubric that can be found on the Genius Hour Wikispace (in the resources section here).

Creativity Requires Time

Hugh and Gallit build this Creativity time into their schedules by implementing Genius Hour with their students where their students take ownership over their learning and actually decide what they want to learn about, how they are going to learn it, and then decide how they will present their learning.

This is great.  As leaders in education, we need to keep in mind though, it’s not only about the students. Yes, the students need time to be creative and explore their creativity, but so do their teachers. How are you providing this time or how are you helping to ensure educators in your building have this time?

Here are some of their students describing Genius Hour.

We had a few more terrific, thought-provoking questions we discussed after Hugh and Gallit’s presentation:

1.  How are you giving students more voice and ownership in their learning?

2.  Where can you adapt your practice to engage your learners in a deeper way?

3.  How can your assessment practice change when you do this?

The next blog post in this series will be about Shelley Wright’s (@wrightsroom) inspiring presentation.

Published by Tia M. Dawson

There are many things that define who I am as a person. First of all, I am a mother of 3 wonderful children! I can not express how fortunate we are to have our children in our life! Secondly, I am an elementary educator who recently returned to the classroom after 12+ years as an elementary school administrator. Lastly, I am passionate about helping others, learning about abuse, helping others in abusive relationships, and helping others understand their worth.

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