S2 Episode 3: Hang Time

This week we hung out with the Royal Orchard Middle School Boys’ club as they spend the afternoon exploring STEM activities in the LLC. Principal Kervin White, ISSP/Contact teacher Samantha Stephen, Instructional Coach Swarnaly Banerjee-Modi and a handful of students shared their experience.

What do you think?

Do makerspaces need more than cardboard? Both Emily and Nicole agreed that cardboard is a great place to start, but that a makerspace should grow along with the learning that happens there. Often times we jump to the big ticket items, but if you take your time to carefully consider what makes sense for your learners and your space, you can make sure things don’t sit on a shelf unused. Cardboard is also great because it is so simple that you can really focus on the design thinking process.

What’s New in EML?

Nicole reflected on her experience at the Nelson Mandela Public School STEAM night for junior grade families and the importance of helping parents to understand some of the ways that school is changing to include the type of learning that happens in their Launchpad. Thanks to the team at NMPS for putting on a great night!

Emily shared her excitement about being a Core Values judge at the FLL tournament recently held at Rick Hansen SS. She described a collaborative challenge to have one team member reconstruct a Lego project by listening to the instructions of the remaining team members. Speaking respectfully and ensuring team members had their voice heard went a long way for the teams who were successful in the task.

From the Interview

It’s all hands on deck to support the Boys’ club at ROMS. A diverse group of personalities make up the group that was selected to participate in one afternoon a month of making, coding and creating with Sphero, MicroBit, Scratch, design challenges, stop motion and green screen. These boys are more than basketball. Here are a few Tweets from the club so far:

A special shout out to Guidance teacher Dinusha Gunasingham and Teacher Librarian Terri Yates  who weren’t in on the day we recorded but are involved in the Boys’ Club.

This is what it looks like when we hit the road with our podcast. 

S2 Episode 2: Dragon’s Den

 

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In this episode we chatted with Jaime Girard – Intensive Support Teacher for the board’s primary and junior interval classes. She discussed her prior experiences as an interval teacher as well as how she currently supports interval programs in her new role including an exciting invention convention event.

This Or That: Google Keep vs Post Its?

Google Keep is a cool app to keep track of all sorts of things. Create ToDo lists, set reminders, and add tags. This #TipsinTwo can help you get started!

If you can’t let go of your Post Its but want a way to digitize them, check out the PostIts Plus app.

What’s new in the world of EML?

Nicole shared about working with an IC, Climate RT and two classroom teachers to plan a project about kindness, both in person and online. The result is a project based learning experience that would leverage climate strategies like community circles, role play and more. Students will then be challenged to plan and undertake an action project to promote kindness. We’re excited to see what they come up with! Be sure to check out the many great climate resources available on the intranet.  Take a look at the PSA Emily mentioned:

Emily shared about the fantastic new Tool Lending Library. There are a number of technology kits ranging from VR creation to MaKey MaKey steam now available for sign out through the Modern Learning chiclet on the intranet. It is a great opportunity to try before you buy, and we are hoping to build a bank of activities, and lesson plans created by the teachers who sign them out.

More from the interview:

Water bottle filling station project example:

 

A few tweets from the first annual invention convention!

Try This

Ask your students what they might like to invent and get them to sketch out their plans. This introduction to the first steps in design thinking can catapult them into further creative thinking.

S2 Episode 1: The Returned

We’re back! Emily and Nicole are now The Returned. We want to thank you so much for your patience while we got things started with the second season of the Empowering Modern Learners Podcast. We have been looking forward to getting our first episode out since last season. There has be a lot of learning on our part and we are elated that we’ve finally been able to get things underway. We are going to try a few new things out, but the heart of it all will continue to be stories from educators on their journeys to empower our modern learners.

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In this episode we have Lindsay Avery Principal of Worthington Public School as she shares her story of opening up her school to students every Wednesday over this past summer. She also outlines a great partnership between her school and some former students in the Fletcher’s Meadow Secondary School construction specialist high skills major. These examples and more exemplify the belief that “Together as a community of families, educators and leaders we share responsibility to inspire our modern learners to be active, critically engaged global citizens.”

What’s new in the world of EML?

Nicole shared an exciting opportunity for grade 6 and 9 teachers to be involved with the Let’s Talk Science: Living Space Project in which classes will monitor the environmental conditions of their classrooms by coding Micro:bit to collect and display data from a sensor board. The PD opportunity takes place on Saturday November 24th from 9am-1:30pm and teachers who register, attend and commit to completing the project will receive a kit with everything they need. For full details or to register for remaining spots, check out MyLearningPlan (aka Frontline).

Emily shared about the amazing Empowering Modern Learners parent conference from the beginning of the month. A new format allowed facilitators and parents to interact more fully than during years past moving from traditional sessions to tabletop displays. She described how a conversation about reading with your child at home, moved right through to 3D printing. Check out some of the tweets from the conference.

More from the interview:

View Worthington’s Kindergarten Outdoor Learning Space Grant proposal:

On her book shelf: Empower by John Spencer and AJ Juliani

Try This!

Connect with someone from an industry related to a subject that you teach. Whether in person, via e-mail, Twitter or using a tool like Google Hangouts, allow your students to see how what they are doing in school can relate to real careers.

Thank you so much for joining us!

Episode 35 – The Final Countdown

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We’re tried to do a ‘mic drop’ in this photo… but the mics ended up getting blurred so they’re hard to see. Thanks for listening this year!

Welcome to the final episode of Empowering Modern Learners for Season 1, the 2017-2018 school year. In this episode, Jim and Amit look back over the season and highlight a few favourite moments from guests they have interviewed. They also listen to some bloopers from the past 34 recording sessions and share some laughs. Nicole James and Emily Farkas also join in and talk about next year’s podcast.

Episode 34 – The Force Awakens

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In this episode, we interview Adrian Graham who is the Superintendent of Curriculum and Instruction at the Central Board Office here in the Peel District School Board. Adrian shares his own journey through Empowering Modern Learners and he encourages teachers to continue to be co-learners with their students so they can be empowered as well. He also talks about some of the upcoming events and opportunities teachers have to learn in Peel about Empowering Modern Learners.

What’s New in the World of EML

Nicole shared about using Google Earth and Google Maps to give grade 3 students better context for comparing communities in Ontario. Being able to explore points of interest, examine different physical features and get different perspectives (street view, arial etc.) students were able to make some inferences about the communities. It also lead to great questions and conversations. Along the lines of making things more real for students, Nicole also mentioned BBC CivilisationsAR App for Android and iOS, which puts amazing artefacts right in front of you, through your device. With additional information and audio support you can bring the museum right into your classroom.

Emily shared about the Coding Playground at Maple Wood P.S. this week. Students and educators were learning together about the concepts of coding, such as how we use symbols in block coding to represent commands and how to design challenges to support the Math Curriculum. Students collaborated to problem solve predetermined coding puzzles and then quickly moved on, to creating their own challenges. This is one example of how coding can support the many layers of the EML Vision document.  

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Notes from the Interview with Adrian Graham

In his interview, Adrian mentioned:

Shares for the Week

Jim shared a recent blog post he made about summer learning. One of the ideas he would really like to encourage colleagues to consider is to take on a project that focuses on a passion or an interest. This is something he looks forward to each summer. The idea is to intentionally outline a project one will take on over the summer that’s centred on an interest one has. Make as the project goal achieving flow as Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi describes it. The professional learning comes as a result of the reflections one makes about the experience and the learning that happened.

Amit shared the work that is being done at Central Peel Secondary School by Justin Schikschneit and his students around the podcast series they created in their grade 12 law class. It is a great example of Project Based Learning as a different Model of Learning and really speaks to the Belief Statements in terms of believing that your learners are able to accomplish something like this. Justin can be found on Twitter where he will share more information about the project moving forward and where the podcasts can be found. 

Episode 33 – Modern Family

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In this episode, we interview Emily Farkas and Nicole James who are both Modern Learning Resource Teachers and will be taking over the EML podcast in the new year. Emily & Nicole share what parts of the Empowering Modern Learners vision document speak to them as well as about the amazing things that are happening in some of their schools.

What’s New in EML This Week 

Jim shared on ongoing, five month project at a few of the schools he supports. Teachers chose a specific element to focus on and then began to research and extend their understanding and application around ideas within that element. The project goal is to create a two-minute video at the end of the year that shares details of how student learning was improved after innovations were made within a focus element:

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For example, if the focus is Learning Environments, a teacher might explore in greater depth how the physical space affects learning, research concepts such as the ‘third teacher,’ and looking more intentionally at the use and placement of tables, seating, positions, walls or dividers, access to materials, floor areas, colours, zones, and so on… and not just the physical space but also how those physical spaces are used. The focus question for the two-minute video is: How did the changes/innovations you made within the chosen element empower students and improve learning? One of the biggest ‘take-aways’ shared by teachers is a new level of understanding of the extent to which the six elements are intertwined and how deeply they interact with each other. 

Here is an example video from a teacher at Kingswood Drive PS:

 

Amit shared the work that Sapna Khosa’s grade 6 class at James Grieve did when they were presenting their business to the grade 10 students from Mayfield Secondary School. The students used the Global Goals for Sustainable Development to create their businesses and then created a 3 Slide Deck Pitch and a website to present to their authentic audience.

 

Links from the Interview with Emily Farkas and Nicole James 

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Shares for the Week

Nicole share an article called The Key to 21st Century Classrooms Isn’t Tech. It’s Evolved Teaching. She also shared more details about the summer conference: EML Summer Conference MLP Sign Up

Emily shared details regarding the annual PDSB parent conference and invited interested teachers to share their ideas at the conference: Parent Conference – Call for Facilitators

 

Episode 32 – The Office

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In this episode, we interview Claudine Scuccato who is the new Coordinating Principal of Modern Learning here in Peel. She shares her own journey with Empowering Modern Learners as well as some advice for teachers and administrators on how to get things going with the Empowering Modern Learners vision.

What’s New in the World of EML

Jim shared the notion of learning concepts through immersion. Seymour Papert often spoke about creating an environment, a Mathland, in which students had a variety of opportunities to think, speak and create mathematically so that they could learn the language of mathematics as easily as a child who grew up in France could learn French. Jim shares a little of the discussion he had with some teachers who were talking about times in their lives in which they learned things through immersion, not through courses or school. Some of the ideas were:

  • Finding happiness
  • First using social media
  • Collaboration, working together 
  • Parenting / raising children
  • Finding one’s way around a city after just moving there
  • Rules in sports through playing
  • Fractions – one teacher who grew up in a family with 7 children said she was always thinking about what would be her share or portion of whatever was being given the children

Amit shared the work that he is doing over at Alloa Public School with Julie Vandendool, who was featured in Episode 19, in the school’s Library Learning Commons. He talked about how you can create a space that is inviting for students from K-8 and mentioned that trying to incorporate student voice as much as possible is important.

Links from the Interview with Claudine Scuccato

In her interview, Claudine talked about:

Shares for the Week

Jim shared a few paragraphs from chapter one of Lifelong Kindergarten in which Mitch Resnick recounts a 2013 meeting with Chen Jining (the part of the chapter Jim quotes has been made available via the Learning Creative Learning free online course from MIT). Jining was the president of Tsinghua University at the time. The most interesting part of the passage to Jim was:

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Jim really connected to the ideas in this paragraph and the point that Chen Jining made about students not demonstrating the creative, innovative spirit needed to succeed in modern (and future) society. This is one of the underlying goals of the Empowering Modern Learning vision and is the rationale behind the moral imperative.

Amit shared a video entitled “Women of Colour Share Their Imposter Syndrome”

The video defines Imposter Syndrome as “feelings of inadequacy or phoniness that make one believe that they are undeserving of success”. It goes on to state that “factors such as racism and doubts about one’s abilities due to race, gender or background can lead to the development of imposter syndrome.” Amit reminded listeners that as educators we have to be flexible and responsive to our students’ needs and that ultimately means we need to have a deep knowledge of who our students are and make sure they are at the center of what we are doing.