Friday, 12 December 2014

Science and Geography

Our first Science unit was Interactions Between Ecosystems. The Grade 7s were so enthusiastic in creating their own ecosystems as well as participating in the labs that I created. We are slowly easing our way into self-directed inquiry, it's more teacher guided at the moment, but at least the students are engaged. Next week, before we break for Christmas, we will be opening up our lunch that we buried almost two months ago!

In the meantime, in their Geography class, my wonderful colleague began a project with them about re-purposing garbage from the landfill. I was collecting bear paws wrappers for one of the groups, and there were many other wonderful ideas. I haven't told them yet, but I want them to connect their lunch lab and their Geo projects. I hope they can make some sort of video creation of their choice to encourage awareness around landfills and garbage.

Stay tuned!

Follow us on twitter at #acsngr7 and #acsnsci

Thursday, 27 November 2014

Blended Learning - An Uphill Battle

As I'm feeling the burnout time of year, surprisingly enough, not because of interviews or progress reports or the looming reporting period just around the corner after Christmas break, but because my collaborative inquiry project is coming to an end.

We started blended learning at our school using D2L last spring, where 6 of 13 classroom teachers were able to try activities with their classes. I was teaching a group of 5/6s who were so enthusiastic about anything we did on D2L. Fast forward to this fall, I'm teaching grade 8s on rotary for Science who are very against doing anything online for me. For the most part, they have come a long way since September. I've tried everything, blogging, discussions, videos, posting my lessons online...Tuesday was a good day, they were all ready to do their assignment online, we were all on difference devices, all set to explore a density widget, and lo and behold nothing was working! I was so frustrated that I even used an overhead for the first time this year for my lesson on Wednesday.

Tomorrow, in the computer lab, with all the devices the same, I'm hoping my inquiry task will show the Grade 8s the value of blended learning. They are very much like some teachers who don't want to give technology a chance, because sometimes when you do, things don't go as planned and you have to go back to what works: pencil and paper, the overheads and the blackboard.

Lucky for them, going "paperless" has helped me give more timely feedback and stay more organized, so I'm not giving up! Wish us luck...

Tuesday, 18 November 2014

Bullying Prevention and Awareness Week

Today I was blessed to spend the morning at Holy Trinity for the Bullying Awareness and Prevention Week launch. The students from Assumption School lead our break out session which was about the effects of social media. It was so great to hear about the positive effects of social media as well, since cyber bullying of course would be the negative effect.

I started the week with our Religion class and this Cyberbullying video. A wonderful discussion ensued with my class, and I noticed so many had stories to share of their parents being bullied but they have been very lucky to not have had the same experiences. I spoke to them about how I have so much hope for their generation.

I really hope our school is inspired to submit a video, poster and song! There's a lot of talent at Ascension and I know we could creatively represent this year's message which also ties into mental health. Here are our system winners from last year. Winners 2014

Good luck!