Tuesday, February 26, 2013

A School Garden is Born: The Story of a Facilitated Project Launch

We were stoked to have Greg Jonuk, a trained facilitator, help us launch or #krssgarden project this week. Greg and I had been planning the morning for weeks in order to best give voice to our community and to mine their ideas, questions, and comments as best we could.

Here's the run down of the morning (for more detail see the agenda):
  • "Teacher Talk Show" - Greg interviewed Beth and myself to give some context to the project
  • "Press Conference" time for participants to share aspects of the project that excited them, aspects that scared them, ideas for what success would look like and questions about the project
  • "Open Space" time for participants to:
    • Respond to the prompt: "In order to have a successful garden at KRSS we need to think about..." and stick their ideas to a wall
    • Shop for topics on the wall and decide which they individually wanted to discuss
    • Discuss topics in small groups (this proceeded in three rounds after students had chosen which topic they'd discuss in each round)
We've now taken all the input from staff, students, and parents and combined it into a Google form. Now we can begin prioritizing our work as we plan on school garden!

PS. Sorry about the formatting of the linked documents, it was lost in the conversion to Google Docs

Friday, February 15, 2013

Ron Berger's "An Ethic of Excellence"

I've really enjoyed Ron Berger's "An Ethic of Excellence: Building a Culture of Craftsmanship with Students".

As a young Teacher it's refreshing to hear from a colleague who has committed his career to Excellence and who has seen great rewards. I am always looking for ways to motivate my students to produce their best work, and I think the tools Ron suggests are powerful in accomplishing that task. I've become a firm believer in each of the tools Ron chooses:
  • Multiple Drafts
  • Critique
  • Making Work Public
  • Using Assessment to Build Stronger Students
After experimenting with these tools and reading Ron's presentation of them I am even more excited to train my students in their use as we develop a culture of craftsmanship. "An Ethic of Excellence" is well worth a read. 

Students Striving for Excellence!

One of the great rewards in life is pride in a job well done. Our students experienced that pride as they shared their work at our Student Exhibition of Learning at the end of January.
Some wished they had put more time and effort into their work, but for many the exhibition was a pay off for the hard work that had been done revising their work and preparing it for presentation. It was incredibly exciting hearing the way the students talked about the exhibition and hearing them explain just how good it felt to show off their work.
We look forward to our Students Individual Presentations of Learning at the end of the year when they will be able to present a collection of their best work to friends, family, and community members. Please let us know if you are interested in seeing one or more of these presentations. They will take place June 17th and 18th, 2013.
Cross Posted at: http://nlc.sd57.bc.ca/?p=207

Blogging as a Portfolio

I just attended a workshop  (at the 2013 Digital Learning Conference) by George Couros and have come away with a renewed passion for blogging. Not blogging for the sake of blogging though, but blogging as portfolio. George made a strong case for a blog both as a learning portfolio and a showcase portfolio. He suggests students should be encouraged to blog about whatever interests them (within the bounds of good digital citizenship). Here is an example we looked at during the presentation.

One of the things that made this workshop so refreshing was the notion that personal and professional should be combined in the online world. I've wrestled with the balance this year as my professional digital footprint has increased due to my role in the Northern Learning Centre. The combination of these roles online just makes sense. After all, any interested student, parent, or employer could find both profiles if they were to go looking, so why have two!

So now its time to label some posts! For my own work I'll be labeling according to the Eight Standards for Educators in BC. My plan for students, however, is to have them label their work based on Cross-Curricular Competencies and also subject area (defined differently here). I also feel pushed to encourage students to blog about their own personal interests, after all we want those interests to weave into their learning!

Thanks George!