Wednesday, 14 February 2018

Thinking Critically About the News

Using topical issues to help students learn to think critically is another way we prepare our students for the future.

A good example of this approach was used recently in our Grade 10 English class. Students examined online articles about racism and homelessness and worked in small groups to build the skills needed to determine which stories were real and which were “fake.” Students then assessed their learning by viewing a TedX Talk by Morgan Campbell called “Race, Sports, and Telling True Stories.” Since this class is co-taught, students had ample opportunity for individual clarification from teachers.

Being able to read and think critically is a vital skill if students hope to participate meaningfully in civic life and navigate successfully the growing body of online content that is presented as truth.

Friday, 26 January 2018

Student Survey of Teachers

Asking students to share their opinion is one way of giving students ownership of their learning. This feeling of empowerment is an important part of a progressive education. In December and May of each school year, we have all of our students complete a survey developed by Panorama Education for each of their classes. The questions on this survey measure student perceptions of teaching and learning.
Teachers receive a comprehensive online report which allows them to examine the results from many perspectives. They can also track their progress in various areas over the year and from year to year. In recent weeks, our Centre for Teaching and Learning staff have helped our staff reflect on their results and use this process to develop goals for the second half of the year. This process benefits students as it allows teachers to alter approaches so that all students are engaged in learning.

We can also view these results from a whole-school perspective, which helps us to tweak our annual school goals. Doing so, has enabled us to adjust some of our upcoming Wednesday PD sessions for teachers and provide them with customized learning opportunities relevant to their survey results.  Customized learning is not only good for students, it also benefits teachers.

Monday, 18 December 2017

What are the Chances?

Applying knowledge creatively is a great way to engage students, as it gives them the opportunity to grapple with real-world problems and have fun doing so.

Students in our Grade 12 Data Management program have been learning about the concept of expected value through real-life examples taken from games, insurance and sports. To demonstrate understanding of this concept, students had to create a unique probability game that profited within a certain range, as determined by the cost per game to the player. 

The culminating activity for this study was a “casino day” where the students played one another’s games using “data dollars.” While playing the games they collected experimental data to compare their theoretical probability distributions and expected value. Students then used this date to write a report that analysed the profitability of their game.

Besides honing their understanding of probability, students also had the opportunity to learn from their peers. They might also be better prepared for that next game of Blackjack!