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We discussed the Steps to the Marketing Process in my grade 10 business class last week. Students created their own info-graphs using www.canva.com All this stemmed from our original conversation when we created our umbrella questions. The info-graphs were amazing!
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In my JK/SK class, we were learning how to listen to each other share and record their observations about our inquiry question "How do we care about the World?" During activity time, some students began to draw ways to care for the world to share later in the day. We will use these as stepping stones to talk about Earth day and see where this inquiry will lead us.
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We are working on the HIC, HITS and umbrella questions (Hack # 3 and #5). I started with trying to get HIC and HITs together and our class will be doing the umbrella questions on Monday. I have attached a flow chart I am working on. Our curriculum doesn't have the same Inquiry base as the new ones so I went to the curriculum and wrote a guiding/essential question for my next unit and worked from there.
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Currently I am working toward Hack #1: Developing a Space that Promotes Risk-Taking with my grade 9's and 12's. I have taken a few surveys in my classes to get suggestions on what my kids would like to see in the classroom. In the past few weeks, we have changed our traditional classroom desks over to conference tables and chairs/exercise balls. I have also resurfaced all of the desks with whiteboard adhesive so students can use the table tops as a writing surface. I have also resurfaced our back cupboards and the teacher desk with chalkboard adhesive so students can also use that as a writing surface to doodle, or to use for brainstorming and so forth. One side of our classroom also has windows straight across, and I have purchased special paint and markers so that students can also use those as a writing space. I have also brought in carpeting, and have filled the space with bean bag chairs/gaming chairs/exercise balls for students to lounge in the classroom. We also have a dress up space for students to act out Shakespeare; we are currently working on Romeo and Juliet. We have slowly started working on PBL assignments in the classroom. It has been a slow start, but we are getting there.
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Inquiry is a large part of Kindergarten. After a student shared some purple flowers/weeds :) from her home garden, we decided to provide materials for the students to paint the flowers. This led to a meaningful discussion on how flowers grow, and what plants need to grow (soil, sun, water, etc). As a class we decided planting our own seeds might be fun so we are collecting different types of seeds and exploring them as a class. Soon we will be planting seeds to watch/compare as they grow.
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After some discussion with Marc, Sherri, Laurie and John, I have added to my HIC/HITS/Umbrella Question plan. I have added some ideas for assessment and mini lessons. I think this is morphing into a culminating activity.
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Our discussion about rubrics (and how some teachers use them as a checklist) made me think about a great book called How to Create and Use Rubrics for Formative Assessment and Grading by Susan Brookhart. I highly recommend it. It has been very helpful for me as I try to move away from task-based rubrics. I have attached a link for you to see the book if you are interested in getting a copy.

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A unit of study about Liveable Communities - grade 9 geography. Will Ruttinger and I got a grant from OTF to make a unit of study that was inquiry based. I think you can click the link below to see the 'published' document.

It has been a very difficult process to get the students buy into the inquiry process. Much of what you see in this document took way too long from a 'traditional teaching' perspective.

My Gr. 9 Locally Developed Science Class has been working on a Garden Proposal. As a class we developed what a proper Proposal would look like and developed an outline. We also collaborated on an assessment for their Proposal and Presentation for the Principal. They did a great job presenting to the Principal this week and have received a budget of $400 dollars for a vegetable garden and flowers for the existing flower beds.

The Ontario Kindergarten Report Card has changed this year to a new format called “The Communication of Learning”. This is a wonderful example of “gradeless marking”. The concept of this new style is that we write small “learning stories” to report on 4 areas, in a positive way, which is free of educational jargon, and easy for parents to understand. There are 4 frames that we report on - Belonging & Contributing, Self Regulation and Well-Being, Literacy/Math Behaviours, and Problem Solving. After our reports were sent home in February, I actually had several parents personally thank me for “getting” their son/daughter, and for sharing the real live examples/stories of their learning.

I will share an example of how this Communication of Learning uses anecdotal stories to share the student learning, without a grade at all.



This is a report on one of my SKs..“Problem Solving Skills” from January Reports. I changed her name to “M”.


M diligently persists through problems and investigations in order to find a solution. She develops theories, tests them out, then evaluates their effectiveness until she is pleased. M is an exemplary student when it comes to independent thinking.

Recently, M noticed that the lid of the sensory bin kept falling down because it was not propped up against the wall at a steep enough angle. She was able to move the lid into several different positions until it “stayed” on the wall properly.

M’s problem solving skills were also evident when she worked with a group of friends to build an alphabet line across the carpet. They tried multiple ways to recall the alphabet order and M was able to help by singing the alphabet aloud and by reminding them to use the word wall as a reference.

In preparing for our Christmas concert, M showed innovative thinking again. She made a goal for herself “I want to remember all the words and actions by myself”. In order to attain this goal, M sat in the front row while we practiced, read the lyrics during free play, and even found the Youtube version of the song at home so she could have extra practice.

After a lesson on directional words in french (under, on, between, etc), M wanted to explore the concepts on her own. She asked to borrow our flash cards and went and got her mitten from her locker and a small snowflake toy on the shelf. She proceeded to read each flashcard and place the snowflake in relation her mitten accordingly (on top, beneath, between, etc).

We are so proud that M shows such initiative and innovate thinking when it comes to creating her own success and learning moments. We will encourage M to continue wondering about the world and to think about how she can find information about her wonders, such as in books or on the computer, or by continuing to conduct simple investigations on her own.
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