We are proud of our school and happy to welcome visitors into the conversation about learning.
As a member of the VSB, I would like to acknowledge that we live, work and play on the unceded and traditional territory of the xʷməθkʷəy̓əm (Musqueam), sel̓íl̓witulh (Tsleil Waututh) andsḵwx̱wú7mesh (Squamish) Coast Salish peoples.
We are delighted to be able to show you around and encourage you to ask lots of questions. The following challenges are to help you engage with our students and staff and understand some of the priorities at our school. The staff and students touring you around the school will be able to give you some understanding of the history, our peer helpers program, Indigenous ways of knowing and breaking down the barrier between learning outdoors and learning indoors.
Challenge 1 – Look for evidence of the 7 principles during your observation. It may be helpful to use the 7 Principles of Learning Chart.
The OECD has pointed out that the rapid advances in ICT have resulted in a global shift to economies based on knowledge, and an emphasis on the skills required to thrive in them. At the same time empirical research on how people learn, how the mind and brain develop, how interests form, and how people differ has expanded the sciences of learning. The result is that the educational community is now “rethinking what is taught, how it is taught and how learning is assessed”.
The OECD’s work on innovative learning environments was led by Hanna Dumont, David Istance and Francisco Benavides. Their 2010 report “The Nature of Learning” identified seven principles of learning:
- Learners at the centre
- The social nature of learning
- Emotions are central to learning
- Recognizing individual differences
- Stretching all students
- Assessment for learning
- Building horizontal connections
Challenge 2 – Engage in a conversation surrounding the Spirals questions.
The Spirals of Inquiry by Judy Halbert and Linda Kaser lists three questions that will find helpful in engaging with students and staff. Students are encouraged to look closely, notice details and ask questions to encourage learning in all aspects of their lives. Many staff are involved in inquiry projects to explore their professional questions. Vice principals and principals in the VSB are using these questions to guide their professional growth plans.
- What are you learning and why is it important?
- How is it going with your learning?
- What are your next steps?
Challenge 3: Note the development of core competencies in the classroom.The New Curriculum: You will note that competencies and concept-based curriculum are intertwined with learning standards in B.C.’s New Curriculum. Core Competencies have become the focus of learning and they use content to develop the three main areas:
- Creative and Critical Thinking Skills
- Personal and Social skills
Challenge 4: Find examples of Student Voice and Competency Based Assessment The new curriculum has shifted the focus from summative assessment to formative assessment. Students are encouraged to identify their starting point and formulate a plan for growth. The focus has shifted from a deficit model to “I Can” statements. Students are invited to be active participants in determining how they learn and planning for growth in skills, strategies, and collaborative practices.
Challenge 5: The Canadian Experience – Note examples in the school of how students are being introduced to the role of Indigenous populations played in the development of Canada and our perceptions of Canadian identity.
Wab Kinew, hip hop artist, author, broadcaster, politician, Ojibwe activist, and leader of the NDP Party in Manitoba, has said “Reconciliation is realized when two people come together and understand what they share unites them and what is different about them needs to be respected.” Authentic reconciliation happens when people develop relationships with one another.
Challenge 5: Identify several different types of learning spaces and the types of competencies being developed in those spaces.
We have several options for student learning at UHill Elementary School. Supervision is required in all spaces. Classroom teachers work with SSA’s (Education Assistants), Resource teachers, the principal and students to explore possibilities to maximize student learning in a variety of spaces and places.
- The Classroom – indoor and outdoor spaces
- Outside Learning Spaces
- The Readers Writing Garden (outside)
- The We Are One Rock Circle (outside)
- The Soccer Fields or basketball court (outside)
- The Buddy Bench (outside)
- Sidewalk games
- Resource Rooms
- The Gym
- Collaboration Spaces outside classrooms
- Foyer in the main entrance
- The Starry Night Room / Room painted yellow
- The Garden Room – currently the in residence program, Project Chef, is in this room
- The Main Foyer
- The Learning Lab / Maker Space Room
- Active Learning Room (ALR) / room painted white
- Ready Bodies Learning Minds
- Peer helpers Program, a Grade 5 Leadership Program, at 11:45 am facilitated by The Community School Team
- Places to Self Calm, work quietly independently, with a partner or small group
- Peace Pod / room painted blue and decorated with saris
- The Think Space – in the Office area
Challenge 6: Breaking Down the Barriers: Identify examples where learning outdoors is brought into the classroom and where indoor learning is brought outdoors.
The places where we live and grow impact our experiences and our perceptions. Living in a temperate rainforest, attending school in the Pacific Spirit Park, and walking down to Acadia Beach impacts the knowledge our students are developing but also how they self regulate.
I am a big fan of Twitter to keep parents informed about what is happening at the school by posting updates and pertinent information @UHillElementary and to further my own professional learning @CarrieFroese
We hope you enjoyed your visit!
Ms. Carrie Froese @CFroese
Principal University Hill Elementary School
Vancouver School Board, British Columbia, Canada
Inquire2Empower Blog carriefroese.wordpress.com