Thursday, 1 December 2016

Apprentice Teacher in Action: Kelly Murphy

As an Apprentice Teacher, Kelly Murphy has many opportunities to work one-on-one
with students during class time.

Greenwood’s year-long Apprentice Teacher fellowship is an induction program for qualified teachers who have recently graduated from a teacher education program. Working alongside an experienced teacher, Apprentice Teachers further develop classroom management skills, strategies that support personalized learning, technology integration and assessment strategies. These teachers also have opportunities to support Greenwood’s mission through coaching in the school’s athletic program and supervising our weekly Service Learning program in Regent Park.

There’s no better way to learn these skills than with hands-on experience. For Apprentice Teacher Kelly Murphy, her experience supporting Christine Joannou’s Grade 7 math classes has already been valuable.

“I get to focus purely on teaching, and on developing relationships with the students,” Kelly says. “I’m also learning a lot of classroom management skills - a big part of my role is understanding how I can help each individual student to get the most out of every class.”

Apprentice Teachers hone many valuable skills during their year-long fellowship,
including classroom management and assessment strategies.

Kelly has many opportunities to work with students one-on-one during class time. “If a student has a question while Christine is teaching, they can quietly ask me on the side without stopping the lesson,” she says. In cases where Christine is away, Kelly leads the class. “It’s wonderful to have opportunities to teach where I’m so familiar with the material,” Kelly says. “It’s also great for the students, because they’re working with a teacher who knows them really well even when Christine can’t be there.”

For Christine, having Kelly in class has been very positive. “Grade 7 is a year where students are building so many of the math skills they’ll need in high school and beyond,” Christine says. “Having Kelly’s support helps ensure that every student develop confidence and a strong foundation.”

Thursday, 24 November 2016

The Campbell River Town Hall: An Integrated Project

Integrated projects encourage students to explore big ideas in greater depth.

Last year, Greenwood piloted the use of integrated learning experiences for students in Grades 7 and 8. These week-long projects incorporated key concepts from English, math, science and social studies, and encouraged students to explore big ideas in greater depth.

Our new Learning Communities, coupled with the use of blocked scheduling, allow us to find even more ways to integrate subjects together. Greenwood teachers recently used the back-to-back scheduling of Grade 7 English and Grade 7 Social Studies to create a project touching on concepts and skills from both subjects.

The Project

In the town of Campbell River, B.C. (the salmon capital of the world), concerns have been raised about the issue of overfishing. Members of the community disagree about whether fishing should continue. As a result, the mayor of Campbell River has convened a town hall to listen to the various viewpoints of those affected by the fishing industry. Based on their presentations, the B.C. Supreme Court will decide whether or not salmon fishing will continue.

Each student was assigned the perspective of someone for or against the fishing industry - whether it was a fish farmer, a government official, an environmentalist or a member of a local Indigenous community. Over the course of two weeks’ worth of classes, students worked in groups to explore their perspective using a number of resources, and to develop a presentation explaining their viewpoint. Each student then presented to their classmates and to the Supreme Court, who made a ruling on whether the fishing industry would continue.

Students were assessed for their content in social studies, and for structural writing and oral presentation skills in English. Each student was individually assessed on their presentation.

How Our Spaces Supported the Project

This large Learning Community, coupled with two smaller classrooms, provided
ample room for students to spread out according to their area of exploration.

These two classes had the use of three rooms - one large Learning Community and two smaller classrooms - to prepare their presentations. These spaces allowed students to break into groups according to their area of exploration, and to work with students from other classes. “At this age and stage, social mixing is really critical,” says English teacher Lisa West.

Social studies teacher Will Salvarinas agrees. “The students really enjoyed working with people from other classes and coming together to create passionate arguments in support of their assigned roles,” he says. “It built a lot of camaraderie between students.”

How Did It Go?

“The project was really well-received by the students,” Lisa says. “What really came through in their unit reflections was that it allowed them to reflect on not only their learning, but on their contributions as a learner in the classroom.”

Will highlighted the project’s connection to a real-world issue. “The opportunity to make their learning relevant really engaged the students,” he says.

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Supporting Health and Well-Being with Intramurals

Greenwood’s new gymnasium allows us to offer organized athletics outside of
 inter-school competition.

One of the main focuses of our new strategic plan is educating our community on the core principles of well-being, and integrating health and well-being into all of our programs. Physical activity is one of the keys to well-being, with benefits including decreased anxiety and increased concentration.

Intramural sports provide students with an opportunity to engage with their peers in a positive and meaningful way. Greenwood’s new gymnasium allows us to offer organized athletics outside of inter-school competition.

Run during part of the lunch period, intramurals get students’ blood pumping before afternoon classes while providing an outlet for stress. Currently, Greenwood runs basketball leagues for Grade 7/8, Grade 9/10 and Grade 11/12 students. Male and female students play together in 4v4 play. As we grow into our new space, we plan to introduce more leagues across a variety of sports driven by student interest.

Students looking for a less structured athletic opportunity can participate in open gym
periods held in our existing gymnasium.

Students looking for a less structured athletic opportunity can participate in open gym periods held in our existing gymnasium. Open gym is available daily at lunch to all grades and gives students supervised, safe time to engage in the physical activity of their choice.