Thursday, 23 February 2017

Building a Foundation for Lifelong Fitness

The fitness room familiarizes students with the fundamental equipment and core movements
that will enable them to put together safe, effective workouts anywhere in the world.

Greenwood’s fitness room encourages students and staff to make their physical well-being a priority.

Weight rooms can be intimidating: “What equipment do I use? Which exercises should I do? Am I doing this right?” When we were outfitting our fitness room, we had a goal in mind: to introduce students to the fundamental equipment and core movements that will enable them to put together safe, effective workouts anywhere in the world.

You won’t find any weight machines in the fitness room. The equipment is made up almost entirely of free weights, with stationary bikes and rowing machines available for cardio, warm-up and cool-down. Unlike weight machines, free weights allow our Health and Physical Education (HPE) teachers to model and teach proper form to students, increasing the impact of the workout and vastly decreasing the risk of injury.

“We wanted to provide a good selection of the basics students need to learn how to put together a great workout,” says Sam Clark, Greenwood’s Athletics and Recreation Coordinator.

The equipment in our fitness room is made up almost entirely of free weights, which
encourage proper form and greatly reduce the risk of injury. Stationary bikes and rowing
machines enable students to warm up and cool down.

In addition to being integrated into many physical education classes, especially our Personal Fitness courses, the space is also open at designated times throughout the week. Students and staff alike have been taking advantage of the opportunity to get in a stress-busting workout on a lunch break or before or after school. (It’s important to note that all users completed an orientation before using the space, and that students are supervised at all times while using the room.)

A recent Grade 9 HPE class made the benefits of this new space clear. After several classes focused on Personal Fitness, the class paired up to design and complete their own workouts. Students put together routines that targeted the arms, legs and core, and confidently moved through exercises including back squats, tricep extensions, planks, dumbbell snatches and bench presses.

“We want students to see the benefits of lifelong physical activity,” Sam says. “The fitness room is a great way to help them get into that mindset.”

Thursday, 16 February 2017

From Costumes to Haute Couture: Fabrication Room

The fabrication room gave our Junior Play crew the space they needed to create these
amazing costumes, sets and props.

Greenwood’s recent production of The Lion King Jr. was our most ambitious ever. Our new fabrication room played an important role in bringing the Serengeti to life.

Putting on a play like The Lion King takes lots of costumes, sets and props - and somewhere to create them. In the runup to opening night in December, the fabrication room provided plenty of space for students to work on everything from painting scenery to sewing a gown.

On show nights, the fabrication room also doubled as a dressing room.

Move-in day is challenging for any school production. The large scale of the sets for this year’s Junior Play made this task even more challenging. Having the fabrication room located within steps of our performance theatre, minimized the moving distance (and the risk of accidental damage to sets and props). Additionally, the doorway of the room is designed to accommodate an 8-foot scenery flat with ease.

During the performance, this area also doubled as a dressing room. Reconfiguring the furniture provided an ideal surface for applying makeup, styling hair and making last-minute costume adjustments before students took the stage.

Creating Catwalk-Worthy Looks


Amelia Ferguson ('17) models one of her fashion creations at our Winter Arts Showcase.
"It felt professional - like a real fashion studio," she says of the fabrication room.

The fabrication room isn’t just for plays; it also supports our senior fashion classes. Rather than being packed away after each use, sewing machines are ready to go throughout the semester, providing students more work time by reducing set up and clean up time. Recently installed shelving also allows students to safely store their work between classes.

Amelia Ferguson (‘17), a fashion student and Junior Play crew member, has really enjoyed her experience in the fabrication room so far this year.

“It felt professional - like a real fashion studio,” Amelia says. “There was so much usable space, and I loved having the sewing machines already out before every fashion class. For the play, it was amazing having everything stored in one area and being able to grab anything we needed quickly.”

Students have already produced amazing work in this space. We look forward to seeing what they create next!

Thursday, 9 February 2017

Ensuring Continued Growth: Greenwood's Expert Teacher Program

Expert teachers Tony Costa (pictured left with teacher Alex Hurley) and Amanda Lester
provide conversational coaching to teachers who have been at Greenwood for 4+ years.

How does Greenwood stay on the leading edge of customized learning? Ongoing professional development is a big piece of the puzzle. Expert teachers Tony Costa and Amanda Lester work with experienced Greenwood teachers to ensure their continued growth.

What is the Expert Teacher Program?


Working out of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning, Tony and Amanda - both accomplished Greenwood teachers - work with colleagues who have been at the school for four or more years. In addition to providing conversational coaching to these teachers, Tony and Amanda are a professional development resource for all teachers. They also meet weekly with Mary Gauthier, Executive Director of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning, which supports their growth as expert teachers.

Why become an expert teacher?


For Amanda, the expert teacher role seemed like a natural next step. “I had already been a subject team leader and a mentor for newer teachers,” she says. “I really enjoyed collaborating with teachers, so this opportunity really excited me.”

In Tony’s case, he saw the potential of the role and wanted to be a part of shaping it. “I felt it was so important that this position was conversation-based, and that it was a two-way exchange of information,” he says. “Amanda and I are always learning, too.”

Supporting Professional Growth for 4+ Teachers


In keeping with Greenwood’s customized approach to learning, the coaching Tony and Amanda provide is tailored to each teacher’s specific needs. “Depending on where people are in their careers, they may have very different goals,” Amanda says. “We work with teachers to mutually identify areas where there is opportunity for growth.”

Some examples include:

  • Refining the use of our Learning Communities
  • Using assessment to drive learning 
  • Finding new ways to incorporate technology in the classroom

After goals have been set, Tony and Amanda observe teachers as they teach; based on these observations, they provide suggestions on how teachers can incorporate new ideas and approaches into their lessons. It’s important to note that teachers are not “assigned” to one expert teacher; they can choose to meet with either Tony or Amanda, and have either expert observe their lesson. “Having two people involved adds richness to the conversation,” Tony says. “Amanda and I have different perspectives and see different things.”

Amanda and Tony observe teachers in the classroom several times throughout the year. At the end of the year, teachers will reflect on their growth and set goals accordingly for next year.

Celebrating great teaching is also key to the expert teacher role. “So many teachers here are doing amazing things,” Amanda says. “We want to ensure that their work is supported and celebrated.”

Providing & Developing Resources


Our expert teachers act as a resource for all teachers, no matter how long they’ve been at Greenwood. If they’re looking for an outside perspective on a lesson or wondering about a new classroom management technique, Tony and Amanda are there to help. They also contribute to Greenwood’s Wednesday morning professional development program - for example, they most recently ran a session on relational teaching. In delivering these PD sessions, they consistently model effective teaching practices.

In addition, Tony and Amanda regularly send teachers resources - including articles, videos and podcasts - that are targeted to their specific goals. “We don’t want to inundate people with information,” Tony says. “We want to send them resources that we know are going to be useful.”