Showing posts with label Character Development. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Character Development. Show all posts

Thursday, 8 December 2016

A Space for Artistic Endeavours to Flourish

Our student actors can now rehearse regularly in the space in which they will
eventually perform, which helps build skills and confidence.

When the cast, crew and musicians  take the stage for tonight’s opening of The Lion King, they’ll do it in our very own state-of-the-art theatre.

An ideal theatre is a blank slate - a space that students can use as a tool to express themselves. Greenwood’s theatre, designed in consultation with theatre experts Rick Schick and Philip Silver, encourages students to give their creativity free rein. Whether they’re performing in drama class, rehearsing for a school play or screening a film, our new theatre provides the perfect space for students to hone their skills.

The theatre's 144 seats can be retracted when not in use, giving students more room
for drama classes, rehearsals or grade-level activities.

How Does Our Theatre Make a Difference for Students?

Highlights of the theatre include:

  • Regular access: Our student actors can now rehearse regularly in the space in which they will eventually perform, which helps build skills and confidence. Having the theatre in the school helps build community, as student audiences can attend dress rehearsals.
  • Black walls: Students can use props and lighting to turn the theatre into anything they choose, from an office building to the African savannah.
  • Retractable seating: Our 144 seats can be retracted when not in use, giving students even more room for drama classes and rehearsals, or provide a large space to gather for grade-level activities.
  • The latest technology: Greenwood’s theatre is one of only three in Canada - and the only high school in the country - with full LED lighting. Coupled with a new sound system, our technical setup gives students early exposure to forward-thinking technology.
  • Accessibility: The theatre is fully wheelchair accessible and is enabled for Hearing Assist technology.

Our new theatre is one more example of giving students spaces to develop character. Through performance, students build confidence, learn how to work together and experience what it’s like to see the world from viewpoints other than their own.

Friday, 17 April 2015

Grade 12 Leadership Takes Students Out of Their Comfort Zone

Leadership at Greenwood is an opportunity for students to engage in activities and conversations with peers and staff that often require them to go outside their comfort zone as they strengthen old traditions and create new ones for the Greenwood community.

Leadership at Greenwood is a progressive model in which each grade of students is afforded more opportunities and responsibilities than the previous year. This culminates in the roles that some of Greenwood's Grade 12 students take on as executives for various committees such as Arts, Athletics, Diversity and Social Affairs. The Grade 12 students also act as leaders in the fall to younger students at Kilcoo Camp during the fall outdoor education program.

Starting their graduating year as counselors, large group activity coordinators, small group activity leaders and skill developers is the greatest leadership challenge our students face and, I would argue, the most important. At Kilcoo, the grads are responsible for welcoming new Grade 7, 8 and 9 students, mentoring and guiding them through their first week of school, and helping students navigate the social climate of high school as cabin counselors.

Beyond these general leadership roles, the grads are able to personalize their own Kilcoo experience with the additional specialized roles they select. A Grade 12 student can request to
  • A large group activity coordinator - Student in this role work in conjunction with teacher-advisers, House captains and members of the Student Council to plan three-hour integration blocks. In this role, students are challenged with the logistics of organizing up to a hundred students at a time, while liaising between different facets of the school community. This experience provides excellent preparation for those who will go on to create initiatives for the entire student body throughout the school year.
  • A small group activity leader - These Grade 12s work with groups of ten of fewer Grade 7, 8 and 9 students, as they move through traditional summer camp activities, such as kayaking, canoeing, rock climbing, and more. The challenge for our grads here is to build a cohesive group that stays motivated, engaged and safe throughout an exciting but also tiring week.
  • A skill developer - Assuming a graduating student has been at Greenwood since at least Grade 9, they have a wealth of their own outdoor education experience to share with our younger students. Grads that choose to be skill developers will instruct activities such as kayaking, canoeing, sailing, and so on. The challenge with being in this role is much the same as being a substitute teacher. The skill developer does not have a developed relationship with the students who come to their activity. In this role, the grads learn how to manage and troubleshoot the dynamics of smaller groups and break down larger skills into a manageable and logical progression, while keeping engagement and safety at the forefront of their minds.

The relationships the grads make with the younger students set the tone for the school year and have an enormous impact on the school's culture. In my mind, leadership development and the opportunities Greenwood provides are the best examples of building and stretching each individual student's leadership potential and ultimately character.


Erin Porter
School Life Coordinator and Mathematics Teacher

Thursday, 9 April 2015

Coastal British Columbia Serves as a Classroom for Regional Geography Students

The Grade 11 Regional Geography course is the first of its kind at Greenwood. Fully integrated with the fall outdoor education program, students enrolled in the course complete the first third of their credit while participating in a sea kayaking adventure off the west coast of Vancouver Island, British Columbia.

Using kayaks as their vehicles for learning, students explore the historical, cultural, economic and physical geographies of the Kyuquot Sound.What better way to learn about the composition and importance of the estuary environments than by paddling up Clanninick Creek? How better to study the lasting impacts of Canada's residential school system than by visiting the local school to learn about current programs supporting language reclamation?

The trip itself provides students with hands-on learning experiences that are enhanced by the passion and local knowledge of the guides at West Coast Expeditions and through interactions with members of the local community. Working from a base camp on Spring Island, students have opportunities to learn about and explore old growth forests, intertidal and estuary environments, past and present First Nations communities and much more. They also research topics of interest using the field library at base camp and teach each other about their findings. Time for reflection is provided at the end of each day. Students use this time to respond to prompts in their field guides, to make notes and to produce sketches of the local environment.

Upon returning from Spring Island, students write a test that covers pertinent topics from their field study. They also complete a reflection-based culminating activity that asks them to select and expand on the most important lessons learned on trip (this component is 10 percent of the credit). From there, they switch gears to focus on the final 60 percent of the course, which enables them to expand on their learning from British Columbia. This portion of the course is delivered primarily online and is supported by two thirty-minute meetings each week.

By completing a series of self-paced modules, students delve deeper into the four strands introduced on the trip: historical, cultural, economic and physical. Assessment of students' learning takes place in the form of module tests and internet-based assignments. Two to three assignment options are available for each unit, and students select and complete the option that best meets their needs in terms of both content and skill development. As the modules can be completed in any order, weekly meeting times are often spent sharing ideas and points of interest from the different topics of study.

The format of the course allows students to self-pace and self-direct through the material. One of the many benefits of this program is that students complete all of their regular assessments (and half of their culminating activity work) prior to the winter holidays. During the month of January, they work toward the completion of a major research project. In this culminating assignment, the students seek to answer a guiding research question of their own creation and present their findings in a manner suited to their research. Project topics and presentation methods are negotiated through a proposal process with the teacher in a manner that reflects geography courses at the postsecondary level. These projects are due in early February, which marks the official end of the course.

The regional geography program provides students with a truly experiential learning opportunity in British Columbia, as well as a condensed timeline for course completion that supports self-pacing and interest-based differentiation. The condensed format also supports student learning by providing participants with a spare in their schedule to use for homework completion and group meetings. Once the course ends, that extra time can be used to balance workloads in other courses.

With the first year of the program successfully completed, plans are already in motion to expand and refine the process for the 2015-2016 academic year.

Katharine Rogers
Teacher, Geography and English

Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Supporting Student Growth with Adviser Report Cards

As students learn and grow at Greenwood, their Adviser is always there as a consistent adult contact, advocate and guide. Adviser Coordinator Garth Nichols explains how Adviser Report Cards provide an exceptionally personalized experience for students.

At Greenwood, we strive to understand, educate and develop the character of the whole student. The new Adviser Program, implemented in 2012-2013, fosters a unique and supportive relationship between student and Adviser.

Some key features of this program are:
  • Students meet with Advisers at least twice a week.
  • Students keep an ePortfolio to reflect on their experiences and their personal growth.
  • There is ample coordination with and connection to students’ experiences in the community and school, and through outdoor education and community service.

As a result, Advisers can accurately report on a student’s individual character development and intellectual growth beyond their academic results. This is accomplished through the Adviser Report Card.

Each report is written with the express purpose of providing evidence of, and next steps for, student growth. The report itself is a 1500-character prose reflection written by the Adviser, rooted in their discussions with their advisee. It is a report about the whole child and how they are engaging in and growing from their unique Greenwood experience, whether it is through their diverse athletic, dramatic, academic or outdoor education involvement.

The new Adviser Program leverages the more frequent interaction between student and Adviser to help them personalize their overall education. The Adviser Report Card is an artifact of this. It also allows for parents to know where their child is on their journey, where their journey is taking them, and what the necessary steps will be to get there.

Monday, 18 November 2013

Students Pursue Their Passions in the Business Classroom

In the Grade 11 entrepreneurship class, students spend the year envisioning and developing a small business idea and venture plan based on their strengths and passions. Though the components of this venture plan are standard, students have the opportunity to fully personalize their plans by pursuing or creating a market to which they feel connected. Because students work within current resource and skill endowments, the project becomes real and immediate and challenges students to identify their strengths and weaknesses as well as their passions that will represent viable business ideas.

Over the course of this project students will:
  • Consider their entrepreneurial skills and strengths
  • Select and research an industry of interest
  • Determine a form of business ownership
  • Define a target market
  • Develop a marketing plan
  • Consider sources of financing and create budgets and financial projections
  • Work to create a personalized brand and company image that reflects their core beliefs

Students tend to find this project rewarding as it relates to real life and offers many opportunities for creativity. This year, some business ideas include:
  • Insane IT: An online tech business, building custom computers for gamers.
  • Demeter Foods: A food truck, servicing the central business district with healthy and organic snacks.
  • Riders’ Bikes: A custom-build bike shop servicing downhill riders
  • Kids in the Kitchen: A business teaching young people the art of cooking at birthday parties or in a camp setting.

Some students are creating sole proprietorships, some have developed partnerships with classmates and some have learned how to incorporate their business after considering legal implications and barriers.

Through this project, students not only learn a number of key business concepts, they also learn a great deal about themselves as they are forced to consider their entrepreneurial potential and overall interest in small business ownership. Without doubt, it is both a school project and, more importantly, an opportunity for personal learning and experiment.

Elanna Robson
Instructional Leader, Business and Canada World Studies

Thursday, 8 December 2011

The Future of Education

I read with great interest the Globe and Mail’s recent series on “The Future of Education.” Much of what was discussed in the series aligns with our school’s educational approach and why we started this blog. As the writers of the articles note, the future of education “means going beyond a patchwork of gadgets,” and “moving away from teacher-led content delivery to an emphasis on personalized learning.”

While the Globe series focused primarily on the classroom, our vision of personalized learning at Greenwood goes beyond the classroom. We see what happens outside of the classroom as a vital part of a student’s education. This approach is typically referred to as the education of the whole person.

At Greenwood, personalized learning encompasses the development of character beyond the intellectual component traditionally associated with classroom learning. By engaging in service learning activities outside the classroom, students develop moral and ethical character. By participating in a drama or musical production or by playing on an athletic team, students develop vital elements of performance character.

Our goal is to develop a broader view of personalized learning and develop students as learners and citizens. For all of its advantages, the virtual world encourages a form of isolation that can be detrimental to young adults; consequently, schools have a vital role to play in the development of interpersonal and intrapersonal skills, perhaps more so than in any previous generation of high school students.

Allan Hardy