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Blog: Tuesday, November 22nd, 2016
West Side Story (Part 1)
I have moved into the Rick Hansen Family of Schools, and had the pleasure of visiting Aberdeen and Ross Elementary two weeks ago. Among other things, I am very interested in how teachers are implementing the revised curriculum, and particularly how technology is being used to support learning. I saw some fantastic examples at these schools.
Many of you will know that we have made some significant investments in learning commons and technology in our schools. Aberdeen’s learning commons really is a model for the District. As luck would have it Tanya VonDoehren’s Grade 4 class and KellyErnewin’s Grade 3 class were collaborating on a unit on biodiversity when I visited. The pictures show you just how amenable their space is to collaborative learning. Two teachers and two educational assistants are working with students in cooperative groups. As the unit progresses, they will use the space more fully by utilizing the computer lab adjoining the library.
My visit to Ross was equally illuminating. I had the opportunity to observe Jenn Johnson’s Grade 4 and Dinah Kwiatkowski’s Grade 5 classes, both of which were actively using technology to further their inquiry. While the pictures do not quite tell the whole story, you can see that while they are studying in different areas (Social Studies in one and Math in another), there are some remarkable similarities: students are working collaboratively, at their own level, and where appropriate they are using the technology to further their understanding. These “blended learning” environments support the development of our competencies: thinking, communicating, personal and social responsibility.
I want to thank these teachers and their principals (Gord Revel and Steve Laird) for sharing their “west side” story with me. I am looking forward to seeing what the rest of the story holds…