Monday, April 29, 2013

Celebrating Successes in Sun West

A number of teachers across Sun West have been fostering the development of 21st Century Competency skills by focusing on developing critical thinking and collaboration skills. The following is just a small snapshot of the work being done across the Division in these areas.

Inquiry learning is at the heart of Saskatchewan renewed curriculum and represents the shift in teaching that is echoed in the 21st Century competencies.

Problem or project based (PBL) units are an ideal way to help learners develop critical thinking skills. Learning Coach, Scott Stephens, has been working with a number of teachers to implement the PBL units developed by the University of Saskatchewan, College of Agriculture and Bio-Resources. 

Both Robert LeBlanc (Westcliffe) and Brent Larwood (Outlook High) are successfully using these PBL units in their Senior Science classes. Brent is now conducting all group collaboration and assessments through Google drive. He loves it because everything is always online 24 hours a day.

Other teachers have been exploring ways to connect their students to the world beyond the classroom using various digital tools.  Loretta Sinclair (Lucky Lake), Shannon Dimitroff (Elizabeth) and Marea Olafson (Eston) are three teachers in Sun West who have used blogging with their students. Loretta uses the blog for writing. “I provide a writing prompt or give a writing assignment and then the students write on the blog. They also respond to what their classmates wrote.”

The Supporting Technology wiki has more information on those wishing to blog with their own students.

Using Skype to connect with others is another valuable tool for connecting students globally. The students inn Lindsay Johnson’s Grade 8 Arts Ed classroom at KCS were able to discuss the life and work of a Montreal artist.

At OHS, Amanda Culver set up a Skype interview with a drug addictions specialist for her Grade 9 Health class. This paired with a live presentation from a local addictions counselor gave her students a real life perspective of drug abuse.

Natasha Cochran (North West) and James Siemens (OES) used Skype to bring their Grade 5 classrooms together for an online presentation.

Shannon Libke (Kenaston) co-planned a novel study with a teacher from the Queen Charlotte Islands and then used email and Skype to connect the students from the two schools.

Hats off to all of you!

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