Today we went to the Pacific School of Innovation and Inquiry located Downtown Victoria. I was throughly surprised to see the new practices of inquiry based learning actively being used right in front of my own eyes. The founder and principle of the school Jeff Hopkins discussed with us how the school started, how it works and the benefits of having an inquiry based schools. While some of us were skeptical on how this approach would work for all subjects, he was able to explain throughly how this really does work. He also told us that a lot of their students suffer from anxiety and depression which I found that the school is a great alternative for students who find public school with lots of people causes them to feel this way. They also had a sensory room with a weighted blanket, beanbag chair, and some fidgets to play with. I found this to be such a great resource for students to have in their own school because school can become very stressful and I think this can be extremely beneficial to students.
When walking around the students seemed very engaged and interested in what they were working on which was so great to see as most students in high school don’t seem to care about their school work so this school allows students to do work they are interested in. One girl that Jeff Hopkins told us about is making her own clothing line which I found fascinating that at such a young age these students are able to do this.
Overall, it was a great visit that opened my eyes and I really enjoyed seeing the inquiry based learning in action!
In class this week we were able to have a video conference with Ian Landy who is a principle up in Powell River. When talking to Ian, he discussed the importance of using e-portfolios to document students work instead of the classic report cards. I found this subject to be very interesting as we are doing our tech education project on formative assessment on fresh grade. He explained to us how it allows parents to see examples of students work throughout the year, from start to end which I really enjoyed because you are able to see growth rather than just a letter grade. He also said that it can be a benefit for teachers because it doesn’t have a deadline to have assessment done but it is a continuous process that must be worked on. I liked this idea because I find report cards don’t always give a clear idea of how a student is doing and report card time can be very stressful for teachers. I thought that the idea of a video conference with someone who isn’t even in Victoria a really great way to connect with others across the province, country and world. I would love to use this in my classroom!
After our conference call, we headed back to the class to work on video editing and audio editing. I really enjoyed learning the proper way to use iMovie because I find this is a tool that many schools use for projects, so learning how to use it properly will help me in my own classroom because I can then help my students with any questions they might have about iMovie. Next, we worked on garage band to try audio editing. When I was doing it, I found it was more confusing than iMovie but it was still fun to play around with because I never knew what it was on my laptop. I found if I had more time trying it out I probably could’ve made something but I didn’t have enough time to fully figure it out and make something.
Today in class we did a mini EdCamp ourselves. In our group we discussed are we being too accommodating to our students? The question came from the example of students who are uncomfortable public speaking. Do we push these students to public speak or do we accommodate their stresses and allow them not to do it? While we did have a heated discussion on our thoughts on this topic, many different ideas and personal stories came up. Some believed that you need to accommodate every student, talk to the parents, and learn each student and how much you can push them. While I do believe this is all true, I do find this all theoretical. Having parents including in their child’s learning is extremely important and knowing the students needs and if there is any learning difficulties is a must for teachers. However, sometime you have a child undiagnosed or parents in denial that you can’t turn to for help. When I am a teacher, I want to accommodate my students and give them a positive learning experience but I feel like I need the tools to be able to accommodate each and every one of my students. One of the most beneficial classes I’ve had this year was with our seminar teacher Santosh where she gave us real life situations she dealt with as a principle and asked us what we would do. She never said one way was right or wrong but it was great to discuss with the class and hear what the actual teachers did in the real situations. However, this was a great exercise and I appreciated hearing everyones opinions and personal stories from this workshop.
As far as the professional learning goes, I love the idea. I think its such a great way to have educators discuss topics they are interested in. I would love to go to the next one and hear what educators say and hear some advice they would give up and coming teachers. I really liked how it was structured, I would use this type of exercise in my own classroom. I would like to do another one on technology strictly because I feel like I can really learn a lot from my peers and others about technology
Today in class we watched the film ‘Most Likely to Succeed’. This film was about a school in the states that was quite different from our normal public school. Here, students learn engineering, history, math, etc. but all together. There are no tests or textbooks but rather big projects where they integrate multiple subjects together. In the film they had one class do a play and another class did a big working mechanism that described how civilizations fall and rise. This was a super interesting film that made me think about my own teaching practices and how to make learning creative and unique. This taught students real life skills on how to work as a team, integrating ideas, etc. I found this to be a great film!