Showing posts with label customized learning. Show all posts
Showing posts with label customized learning. Show all posts

Friday, 9 March 2018

Integrating Student Learning

Grade 7 Integration Week helps students make vital connections between the different subjects that they learn in school. By creating a challenge for students to respond to that incorporates what they have learned across their courses, from Science, Math, English, and Social Studies students can see the connections between what are often perceived to be separate areas of knowledge.

The theme of Grade 7 Integration Week was “How to Survive a Natural Disaster.” Canadian author Eric Walters, who writes on the theme of survival, spoke to the students about the inspiration behind his stories and what it takes to survive disaster. Being able to hear from an author such as Walters, whose books they have read, was inspiring for students, encouraging them to really think deeply about their work during Integration Week.

For the rest of their activities, students broke into teams to solve problems that would arise in the wake of a natural disaster, taken from the pages of an Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required drawing on concepts they learned in class. For example, students applied their learning about heat, insulation, and distillation from science class to the challenge of how disaster survivors could cook food, keep warm, and purify water.

They designed original prototypes of survival aid devices, strategically selected gear for a survival mission, and wrote journal entries from the perspective of a character in their chosen Eric Walters novel. Each challenge required students to think critically, and encouraged the to create unique solutions.
By approaching one challenge from so many angles, they can also determine the best way to solve multi-disciplinary problems in the future. They can apply the strategies they develop from one subject to solve challenges in another. This will help them be more agile, adaptable learners, skills so crucial for lifelong learning. 

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! 

Tuesday, 5 December 2017

Learning the Fundamentals of Digital Media

Using digital tools to communicate is an important part of a 21st Century education.  At Greenwood, one of the ways students learn this type of communication is through participation in our digital arts classes.
In Grade 7, students are introduced to fundamental digital programs, such as Photoshop. By designing assignments like “Create Your Dream Meal” students learn how to use the tools in this program (and learn a little bit about healthy eating habits!)

The course is designed so students can work at an individual pace. However, when they need expert advice, the teacher is able to provide timely one-on-one support.

Before submitting their completed meal, students use the success criteria for this assignment to self-assess or get feedback from a peer and complete any necessary refinements.

By connecting technology with the process of learning, students engage in a meaningful design experience.

Monday, 27 November 2017

Supporting Self-Directed Learning

Giving students opportunities to self-direct their learning within the classroom is a tremendous way to enhance student engagement and confidence.
Most of our high school math classes use an approach that allows students some choice in how they learn. Students can work individually using an online lesson prepared by Greenwood teachers or in small groups.

Some of our math classes are co-taught, which means there are two teachers in the room. This approach allows students to get direct instruction from one teacher, while the other teacher facilitates group learning. This approach is effective, as students use class time efficiently and learn in a way that meets their individual needs.

According to our students, having input into how you learn makes learning engaging. Our alumni tell us that this approach equips them with the high level of independence required to succeed in postsecondary studies.


Thursday, 19 January 2017

Apprentice Teachers Deepen Knowledge of Customized Learning

During their time at Greenwood, our apprentice teachers get to know our students -
and how they learn - incredibly well.
Customized learning is at the heart of Greenwood, and it’s one of the main focuses of our Apprentice Teacher program.

By working with experienced teachers, coaching sports teams, supervising outdoor education trips and service learning initiatives and completing on-calls, our six apprentice teachers get to know our students - and how they learn - incredibly well. These quality relationships between students and teachers are integral to supporting a truly customized program.
“The Apprentice Teacher program is a win-win,” says Mary Gauthier, Executive Director of the Greenwood Centre for Teaching and Learning. “Teachers new to the profession have the opportunity to learn about all elements of the school community, and to connect with many different subjects and age groups; in turn, Greenwood benefits from the many ways apprentice teachers support the program, from coaching school teams to supervising weekly community service activities.

Apprentice teachers meet with Mary one per week to explore a topic connected to
customized learning.

OISE Certificate Program

Earlier this fall, Mary approached the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) about creating a course connecting research in customized learning to the Greenwood experience – and OISE readily agreed. This course is run out of Greenwood's Centre for Teaching and Learning; it is unique to Greenwood, and will earn each apprentice teacher a certificate in “Teacher Induction: Applying the Research to Design and Deliver Customized Learning.”
Once a week, our six apprentices meet with Mary to discuss a topic connected to customized learning – whether it’s the teen brain, grouping students by readiness or relational teaching. At the end of the year, our apprentice teachers will reflect on their own practice through an action research project on designing and implementing customized learning. In keeping with Greenwood’s approach, they can choose the form their final project will take; options include a research paper, an article, a presentation or a video.
“The OISE certificate brings even more value to the Apprentice Teacher program,” Mary says. “In addition to gaining hands-on experience both in and out of the classroom, these teachers can also further their professional credentials.” 

Thursday, 6 October 2016

Challenge and Support: Greenwood's Centre for Teaching and Learning

Greenwood's Centre for Teaching and Learning will support teachers in taking full
advantage of our new learning spaces.

We often forget that teachers are learners, too. Greenwood’s new Centre for Teaching and Learning ensures that our teachers are challenged and supported throughout their careers, whether they’re in Year 1 or Year 10. The Centre is also dedicated to identifying and implementing best practices in customized learning, and to supporting teachers in taking full advantage of our new learning spaces.

As its inaugural executive director, Mary Gauthier will drive the work of the Centre throughout the school year. Here’s a quick introduction to what drew her to Greenwood and her hopes for the coming months.

Mary Gauthier

Q: What brought you to Greenwood?
A: I’m drawn to schools that are very clear on their mission - where it is evident that the community lives it every day. Greenwood is one of these schools. I also really admired the commitment to innovation, and to valuing and developing the expertise of teachers.

Q: What have you learned in your time at the school?
A: I’ve been so impressed with the high level of teaching expertise at Greenwood. Teachers have already been making great use of the new spaces to increase customization in the classroom.

Q: What are your hopes for this year?
A: Much as we encourage curiosity, creativity, initiative and perseverance in our students, these qualities are also key to great teaching. I want teachers to take inspiration from all of the new spaces available to try new things. We’ll also be sure to gather and value student voices - as owners of their learning, their feedback is critical.

Be sure to visit our blog throughout the school year to see how we're turning these hopes into reality.