Thursday, 9 March 2017

A Student-Centred Hub: The Lodge

Since Greenwood’s founding, the Lodge has been one of the school’s busiest spots - a place for students to eat, socialize and study. In the expanded building, the Lodge has become a central hub that gives students ready access to many essential services.

From the Lodge, students can seek advice from a guidance counsellor, purchase TTC tickets or Greenwood swag at the school store, pick up lunch, copy a document or seek IT support. And when they need downtime, the Lodge still provides plenty of room for students to chat with friends, fuel up for afternoon classes or play a game of chess.

The Lodge is busiest during lunchtime, of course, but older students on spares can often be seen grabbing a snack or studying by the windows in the Grad Lounge.

Thursday, 2 March 2017

It's a Classroom! It's a Kitchen! It's... Both!

Cooking days enable students to put their new knowledge into practice. Here, students
 are investigating the Maillard reaction and molecular gastronomy.

Greenwood’s Food and Culture course combines academic content with hands-on cooking experience - and needs a space that supports both. Our versatile rooftop classroom supports everything from classwork to culinary creations.

From Monday-Thursday, students spend their classes delving into a food-related issue; they investigate kitchen science, learn more about nutrition and study the relationship between food and the environment. At the end of the week, it’s time to put everything they’ve learned to the test.

On Fridays, this rooftop space transforms from a classroom into a working kitchen. A portable convection oven and two convection burners enable students to whip up a wide variety of dishes. So far, the class has prepared pancakes, sushi, hummus, ice cream, Vietnamese spring rolls and more - each with a specific connection to the curriculum.

“The cooking days enable students to put their new knowledge into practice,” says teacher Michelle Douglas. “For example, the nutrition unit investigates new research in gut health, and we’re making our own kombucha (a fermented tea drink) as an illustration of those concepts.” As they’re preparing food, students also sharpen their knife skills, refine basic cooking skills and learn valuable food safety and etiquette tips. The great nutrition and food preparation knowledge they learn here will serve them well when they leave home.

Chef Sang Kim not only taught our students how to make sushi, but imparted valuable
information about the history of this Japanese dish and on food insecurity in Toronto.

Cooking days also provide another opportunity for Michelle to customize learning for students. “Each dish comes with many different tasks that can be assigned to students based on their readiness,” Michelle says.

Even hands-on kitchen days incorporate some history and theory. Chef Sang Kim recently visited Greenwood to give a class on sushi-making - but in doing so, he also imparted valuable information about the history of this Japanese dish and on food insecurity in Toronto. “It’s an academic course, and the content is challenging,” Michelle says. “We have high expectations for students.”

The location of the classroom is also conducive to the well-being aspect of the course. Large windows and glass walls bring in plenty of natural light; in the spring, the class can open a sliding door to the terrace and enjoy the fruits of their Friday labours outside.

Here’s what one Grade 11 student has to say about the course:

“Greenwood’s Food & Culture course really prepares students for the future. Throughout the week, our learning is focused on the techniques needed to prepare a certain dish. We learn about the origins of ingredients, their cultural significance, nutrition, and the science behind the method. Each Friday, we have the opportunity to practise these newly acquired skills through cooking and baking. The combination of theory and practical learning fully engages the class."

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.”