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Monthly Archives: June 2012

Big Plans for the Fraser Heights Learning Community

There is no better indicator of student learning than to know that our school is full of teachers and admin  who are also learning along side them.  We want to share the excitement of all the new learning going on through our reflections on our teacher and admin  blogs.  Our writing for a public audience through blogs has been growing as the year progressed. You can view our teacher’s blogs at: fhsslearn.blogspot.com   We hope this will give you a flavor of what we have been doing in our school and classrooms.  Next year we hope to move to a multi user wordpress platform for teacher and student blogs.  Our grade 8  students will be developing digital portfolios that  they will be able to use throughout their high school years.  We will also be using the school district new surreyschools.ca web space for students and staff.  You will have a chance to view our new school website on surreyschools.ca after August 20.

This past year our school received a $25,000 grant from the Surrey School District for what we refer to as the Innovative Learning Design Grant.  A group of teachers have been meeting all year to develop collaborative projects that involved more innovative teaching and learning.  The teachers first learned Backwards Design as a way of planning their lessons.  They also tried some cross curricular projects that involved project based learning.  This has been an exciting time with lots of new learning.  We also purchased an ipad cart with 30 ipads and these were used in many of our classrooms and in our Learning Commons.  In addition, next year 4 of our Social Studies 11 classes students will be using ipads to access an electronic version of the Social Studies 11 textbook. We really appreciate the support of the Surrey School District to make these projects possible.

Recently we have also applied to the Ministry of Education to be considered an innovative school and to have permission to waive some of the Ministry of Education regulations that might be getting in the way of our becoming even more innovative.  We are wanting to pilot a grade 8  and 9 loop that would have a cohort of 60 students take Humanities 8 and Math and Science 8 with 2 teachers for 1/2 day for all of grade 8 and then again in grade 9.  The teachers would be using inquiry based learning in their classes and would have lots of opportunity to team teach and collaborate.  Research tells us that this looping makes a big difference in student learning.  Next year we hope to get approval to pilot a Senior Science Academy that would involve many Advanced Placement courses (eg. AP Calculus, AP Chemistry, AP Physics for example)  with 2 teachers for the first year and 2 more teachers the second year.   This would also be a cohort of 60 students who would apply for the program.  We would also be using inquiry based learning and field studies in this senior pilot project.  We are very excited about the possibility of beginning this work for the senior science pilot for the 2013-14 school year.  These two pilot projects are both very innovative but otherwise not connected.  Our conversations have been rich and stimulating and while we acknowledge that we have an excellent school that is getting excellent results we also know that we can get even better.  We look forward to sharing our learning with our  school and community in the year ahead.  It promises to be an exciting learning process.

Staff Development with George Couros

On June 14th, nearly 50 of our staff participated in a lunch time session with George Couros, Division Principal of Innovative Teaching and Learning from Parkland School Division in Stony Plain, Alberta. George talked about social media for teachers and it’s importance and uses in classroom teaching. He also describes how we need to prepare students for a future that is rapidly changing. George’s dynamic presentation uses lots if youtube video clips and twitter examples. He shared some great initiatives that he has started in his own school division, for example  184 days of learning.
Every day one person, student, teacher, admin, or support staff are highlighted showcasing their learning. 184 days of learning. http://georgecouros.ca/

This initiative has grown into a new one called #365learn that will be open to staff in other school districts to contribute as well.  Many teachers and administrators in the Surrey School District are very enthusiastic about contributing to #365learn.

He has also started a Learning Leader project that we are eager to learn more about.  In addition, George has started a Connected Principals hashtag on twitter #cpchat that I enjoy staying in touch with.
George Couros is an energetic and enthusiastic speaker who managed to get many teachers thinking they should get onto twitter for all the professional learning it offers as well as to use social media in their teaching. You can follow George on twitter @gcouros. It was exciting to have him visit our school as we had some really rich conversations about teaching and learning and inquiry based learning. He challenged us by always asking why we are doing things the way we are. This in turn forces you to think about your practice and be able to talk about it and further develop it. Embracing technology in the ways that George showed us will help us move forward with 21st century learning in our classrooms.

http://georgecouros.ca/

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Inquiry Based Learning at Calgary Science School

We loved our visit to the Calgary Science School last month as part of the Connected Ed conference  and were most excited to see  inquiry based learning in action. We thought that CSS is such an innovative school and that we would love to see Fraser Heights delve more into inquiry based learning.  We are experimenting with project based learning but would like to go deeper.  At CSS,  students were deeply engaged in their learning and eager to share it.  We were also impressed with the openness of their teaching staff to share their learning as well.  We saw so many great projects in math and science  but one that really caught our attention was grade 7 Humanities students creating monuments of a figure from Canadian History.  It was also great to see how teachers are using twitter as a teaching tool in classroom assignments.   The teacher, Dan McWilliam was generous enough to share his lesson plan with us.   I am including it here:

I have attached our lessons for the Memorializing Canadian History project below. Feel free to contact myself or Jody Pereverzoff, jody.p@calgaryscienceschool.com,  if you have any questions or improvements. They are always in development and we would be excited to hear about your experience in using them or passing them around.

Dan McWilliam
Grade 7 Teacher
Humanities Learning Coach
Calgary Science School

Its never just an ordinary day at the Calgary Science School

Student Appreciation Day

Today was student appreciation day and yearbook distribution and signing day. All students were given a hot dog, pop, and chips. What a popular day it was! Our students love their yearbook. Thanks Mr. Pahal and yearbook students for a job well done. Thanks Mr Emerson and numerous staff who helped us make this such a memorable day for our students.

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Grad 2012

We held our Grad Dinner Dance last night at the Vancouver Trade and Convention Centre. A big thank you to parents and grade 11 students who helped us with decorating all day and then clean up into the wee hours. It was a wonderful night followed by Dry Grad hosted by our parents and held back at the school until 5 am. Our grads all look so lovely and grown up. They are more than ready for all that lies ahead.

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Japanese Student Visit

Today 82 students from Toko High School visited our school. They were paired with Fraser Heights student buddies who toured them around then took them to their classes. This afternoon the Toko students put on a cultural fair to teach origami, calligraphy, and a variety of games. The visit brought such a positive vibe to the school. What great hosts our students were buying Tim Bits for their buddies so they could have a Canadian experience. It was such good learning and a positive exchange.

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