One resource to initiate engagement in multiple areas.

ondergedokenAs Christmas break ended and we returned to school, our class finished reading and working with the novel “Raven Quest”. Although this novel looked at over coming adversity, thinking over others and understanding aspects of writing such as setting and sequencing, there was only engagement from all of my students when I was reading the text (Story Time). I wanted a text that would engage my grade six students in multiple areas and in multiple ways – simply put I wanted do do something that was as inclusive as possible.

After some lengthy conversations with my colleagues that I would consider literacy Guru’s, i decided to choose “The Diary of Anne Frank”. There are variety of ideas, concepts and activities you could do in relation to the story. For the students in 6C we will be beginning with the following and hope to hear of some other great ideas which we may try.

To incorporate numeracy we will be looking at the two time lines that exist within the span of the story. The time line of Anne Frank and the time line of World War II. We are then going to examine how the two relate to each other and therefore determine how one timeline effected and influenced the other. This will then be combined with students looking, with their parents help at their parents time line and overlapping that with the events that occurred both nationally and internationally, which may have effected their lives.

In respect to citizenship and community, the students are going to examine the issues between Nazi Germany and the Jewish community and how the role of Nazi Germany effected surrounding communities and countries. This will also relate to Social Studies, looking through the lens of government, national identity and relationships. nazi_flag_581 - Copy

Although we are only in the first forty pages of the story, I am really looking forward to working through this story with my students. We have already had some great conversations about equality, integrity, social justice and right & responsibilities, but I am sure that this is just the tip of the ice berg.

If you have some ideas or have previously tried, please share I would love to make this an expereince my 6’s will never forget. Also please stayed tuned as we progress through the story and display our learning and our adventures.


Creating #KidEdchat for Sharing, Comparing and Collaborating

Like many Twiducators, I have participated in many #Edchats and have found the topics,images (3) conversations and discussions engaging and very insightful, not to mention the ideas and resources that are shared.

However, I have found that there are times when, as an educator I am seeking, not only information but ideas or suggestions. Ideas relating to a specific grade level or grade focus area, such as:

How to integrate technology

Current Pedagogy

Professional Development

Classroom Ideas

Literacy ideas and innovations

. . . to bulletin board examples

For this reason and thanks to the help of amazing mentors and colleagues @shellterrel @shannonmmiller @courosa and @gcouros I have arrived at the hashtag #KidEdchat

It is my hope that #KidEdchat will facilitate all the areas that I have mentioned as well as conversations specifically directed to teachers from grades 3-6, which will occur every Thursday at 8 pm Easter and 5 pm on the West coast.

By no means is this a new concept or idea, thanks to @shellterrell (Shelly Terrell ), @web20classroom (Steven Anderson) and @tomwhitby (Tom Whitby), the creators of #Edchat, educators around the globe have been given a forum to discuss and focus on topics that are affecting educators. Topics such as current teaching trends, transforming teaching practice, as well as education policy and education reform.

#KidEdchat is not something to replace #Edchat, that is not the intent, nor would it be possible. It is simply a sharing, collaborating and learning location for teachers that work with students from grades 3-6. For the first #KidEdchat, on July 12th There will not be a specific topic.  I will leave it as an open format Meet and Tweet where educators can connect and share some ideas. Following #KidEdchats will be determine by polling all that have participated and shown interested.

Please pass this on to all the educators that you know would be interested and that could benefit from the connecting. It would be greatly appreciated.

I look forward to connecting with numerous educators. Remember to share with #KidEdchat and we shall tweet with you on Thursday evening.


Data, what does one do with all that Data?

To say that the world of education has data, is to put it mildly. I would not say that education is data driven, but I would say that it, combined with 20140516_144322reflections, Data is highly important. Data can be used to determine best practice, it tells people what is working and what is not working.

Nancy Love writes:

“Without a systemic process for using the data effectively and collaboratively, many school, particularly those” serving low economic “student will languish in chronic low performance in mathematics, science and other content areas – no matter what the pressures for accountability”. (Using Data to Improve Learning for All)

I am sure we can all agree that data has many positives, these positives can guide practice, facilitate change and all one has to do is openly and honestly read the data. During my short time as administrator of a school, I noticed that there was a significant issue in the area of literacy for my school. The question is how do I improve literacy, not what is wrong, or who is not doing what they are supposed, or even why can’t the students learn.

After significant conversation and communication with other administrators and colleagues that I knew that had a back ground in literacy. I decided to create some change in how Literacy was rolled out, delivered and practiced with the students at Seba Beach school.

As we looked at constantly using the data and ensuring that everyone had access to the data to drive educational decisions, a need for a tracking and intervention model became apparent. We needed a system or method that would not only allow for the data to be used, we needed a system that would represent all of the data. A special thanks needs to be given to George Couros. George, in his work came across an idea that he thought I should look into as it would fit my need. George presented me with “Putting Data to Faces“. After having read the book, I made a connection that combining “Response to Intervention” and the data wall from “Putting Data to Faces” would be the most successful and beneficial to my students.

The results were more positive than were expected. The data collected after only five months of the program being implemented showed growth in students in the majority of areas. Going through and comparing other data that was collected throughout the year , it was decided that the program should be implemented in the next school year and that it should be integrated as part of the daily routine of the students and that it would be implemented for all grade levels. After some detailed and tough conversations with teachers and educational staff it was determined that a similar concept but related to Numeracy would also be very beneficial to our students.

images (2)Staff and I worked through combining the two systems and came up with a great system

co1180that uses student data tchanging quarterly with the interventions that are needed whether they are universal or targeted. I am glad to say to ensure the best programming for each individual student it was amazing. I look forward to consistently using the system and watching it evolve and change for each individual student. .

If you would like some information in terms of the process and the implementation, please feel free to contact me or if you have ideas that could be used to modify and improve the concept.

Music in the West

I must start by being clear that this is not a complaining or venting post.

A large and complex struggle that occurs for rural schools, in my opinion is the access to the same level of community resources as our urban sister schools can. To be frank, the majority of activities that city schools are able to participate in, we out in Seba Beach cant and this is primarily due to distance and well cost. A great example of this happened two weeks ago when the majority of my grade 5-9 students travelled to see the theatrical presentation of The Pirates of Penzance, put on by one of our schools. The play was student acted and directed, which is wonderful the only draw back is that the students at my school had to travel roughly 45min one direction to watch the presentation and the drive the 45min to get back to school. Therefore a one and half hour presentation turned into roughly a four-hour escapade. Was it worth it? Of course, the students at my school were able to see their peers in a performance and were also able to go to a theater. This however is not something that can occur even on a every term basis, the amount of time lost and transportation cost makes it difficult.


On Behalf of Seba Beach Summer Village – Sgt. Young

The purpose for this post is to relay a wonderful opportunity that allowed for community resources to come to us. I was very pleased and excited when, late last month my divisions Resiliency Coordinator contacted me about the possibility of having an artist come out to the school to do a concert I was EXCITED. Felicia was able to coordinate her resources and work her magic, as always and was able to secure a morning concert to be played at Seba Beach School by Ridley Bent. With the ball now rolling and in play I was able to quickly coordinate with some of my other area schools and ensure that they would be able to attend.

So today, with a HUGE Thanks to The Summer Village of Seba Beach and Music Center Canada in Spruce Grove, AB the students of Seba Beach School, Entwistle School and Wabamun School were able to spend a morning not only listening to Ridley Bent and Chris Dunn play music, but were also able to interact with these two great artists. After SGT. Young presented Ridley with a token of appreciation on behalf of the Summer Village of Seba Beach, the students were presented with some great information about learning to play musical instruments like the guitar. The students were advised about opportunities and a number of programs and packages that would suit their schedule, lifestyle, and musical goals. During the concert it was wonderful to see the artists interacting between songs with the students, answering questions and over having a great time. The students clapped, tapped, cheered and danced to the music and were dancing out of the gym and back to class at the end of the concert.

Through some great work and collaboration on the part of Felicia O, The Summer Village of Seba Beach and Music Center Canada, our students were given an experience that they do not readily receive and were also given memories that they can always look back on. Therefore I would like to thank:

Felicia O., Sgt Young and The Summer Village of Seba Beach, Music Center Canada for allowing this event to occur.

Ridley Bent and Chris Dunn for their talented and marvelous music.

Mrs. Jonsson and Mr. Leadbetter for joining us from our division office.

Mr. Worthington (Entwistle) and Mr. Sydora (Wabamun) for bring their students and joining us at Seba Beach.

As well as all of the staff and students of all three schools for making this a great memory and a great experience. I hope that we are able to do this again in the future.

Changes, even small ones are noticed.

Recently I had completed a post that shed light about a decision I had made at Seba Beach which changed our options program as well provided some insight into how the schools in the western end of Parkland School Division were working together to provide more opportunities for our students.

On October the 4th, The Stony Plain Report/ Enquirer made a visit to Seba Beach when all of the schools were present for the WEST options, and rather than try to summarize what was said I have just pasted the article here of you to see.

W.E.S.T. Option benefits multiple schools

By Lee Butler

Thursday, October 11, 2012 10:39:40 MDT AM

Entwistle School Principal Les Worthington and Seba Beach School Principal Shawn Ram stand proudly in the Seba Beach shop class. Seba Beach is home to the W.E.S.T. Option program which also includes Wabamun School and Tomahawk School.

ChangePARKLAND PARKLAND COUNTY – The Wabamun, Entwistle, Seba Beach and Tomahawk schools have continued their W.E.S.T. Option program into the 2012-2013 school year.

The initiative gives students in each of the schools a diverse variety of education and helps form a sense of community within the Parkland County School Division.

Seba Beach School serves as the main hub of the project, due to its bigger size and array of academic amenities.

Seba Beach Principal Shawn Ram explained how the W.E.S.T. Option is increasing learning opportunities for all of the schools involved.

“It provides more opportunities for the students of each school. Seba Beach used to be a full high school so we were fitted with a full shop, kitchen and home economics lab. This allows for the other three schools to come in and have some of those options that they’re going to see when they get to Memorial Composite in Stony Plain,” said Ram.

The program has been running for half a decade, with the Tomahawk School re-joining the fold last year.

It opens the doors to rural students who are picking up real-world skills from farms and acreages. W.E.S.T. Option gives them a format to apply these skills so they are properly trained and also prepared for higher levels through high school.

“It gives them an insight when it comes to career choices, especially the junior highs. They’ll be looking at things like woods, cooking, outdoor sports, first-nations, music and robotics. So the gambit is there for what can be taught,” Ram explained.

Entwistle Principal Les Worthington has seen first-hand enthusiasm from his own students about the W.E.S.T. Option initiative.

“For our kids it’s super unique and for our kids the buy-in is huge. They know it’s a unique opportunity that a lot of kids won’t get,” said Worthington.

W.E.S.T. Option allows for instructors to collaborate together. They share ideas and strategies during their time together and build lasting relationships within the school division.

Students are able to build a sense of community between the four schools that will last far into their high school years.

“It is unique for schools to come together to do a set of options. This also allows for familiarity between students and the different administrations. They know we’re administrators, and they’re comfortable talking to any of us throughout the year. If we see them in town or at sports games, we’re not unfamiliar. It brings a sense of community for the kids by coming together it shows them they’re still the W.E.S.T.,” said Ram.

Worthington is excited to give his students an opportunity they wouldn’t receive without the combined efforts of each school.

His students have been optimistic and positive about their new opportunities, even though the commute can take a fair amount of time.

“They see the bigger picture that they’re part of Parkland School Division and not just part of one small rural school. They’re part of the bigger vision and this gives them the opportunity to see that. The school division wants to provide them with as many opportunities as they can. Although the bus ride may be a little bit lengthy, it’s worth it for the opportunities that they have,” said Worthington.

Twitter: @Lee_RepEx1

Supervision and Growth

Just as with all of my teachers, I am required every year to complete a professional growth plan. This plan highlights what I feel as a professional I will be working on over the the school year to better my practice and my skills as an educator.

This requirement is clearly outlined for every teacher in Alberta, under our professional development section, which states:

Teachers have a professional responsibility to keep abreast of new developments in education and to continue to develop their professional practice. In Alberta, every teacher employed by a school system must develop and implement an annual plan for professional growth that outlines the professional development activities the teacher intends to undertake in that year.

Now comes my responsibility, not only to ensure that these are completed, but also to check in with teachers to review and go through their growth plans. One method of doing this is through supervision walk-throughs. As a new administrator I found that I had no issues or concerns with respect to the walk-throughs. I fully understood what these were and what took place. I mean the wording itself is self-explanatory:  just walk through a classroom, observe what is going on, maybe interact with some of the students to see what is going on and what they are learning. This I found no difficulty in doing, it was also great going up and seeing the students learning, answering questions and sometimes participating.

The supervision element was something that I was unfamiliar with and in some aspects could state that I found intimidating. I, as an administrator, was to supervise teachers and provide feed back with respect to the teacher qualification standards. I found this intimidating because I had never undertaken such a task before.  As well, I found that going through all of the standards in one observation would be lengthy and I didn’t know where to start. However, as I have stated before, my colleagues in the division are extremely open and willing to assist.  They not only answered all of my questions but also gave ideas as to what they had previously done and what they found most effective.

These conversations not only put some of my apprehensions aside, but also gave me a direction and some great ideas as to how to set up my own supervision in a way that would work both for me, but would also benefit my teachers and ensure conversations. In turn, I shared my ideas with some of my other colleagues that were new to the supervision process.

Below are the supervision templates that I created, there are nine in total, allowing and requiring me to visit each teachers classroom at least once a month. Your input and suggestions would be greatly appreciated.

Supervision Goal #1, 2 & 10

Supervision Goal #3

Supervision Goal #4

Supervision Goal #5

Supervision Goal #6

Supervision Goal #7

Supervision Goal #8

Supervision Goal #9

Supervision Goal #11

Waiting in Anticipation

Roughly a year ago I started using twitter to increase my PLN and make connections not only withing my school division, but also around the world. It has been a wonderful experience interacting and getting to know some great colleagues such as:

@shannonmmiller a Teacher Librarian & Technology Specialist from Van Meter Iowa

@greta ESL teacher from Buenos Aires, Argentina

@bethstill founder of the ISTE newbie project

@MrMacnology a Teacher and Tech-coach from Southern Oregon

@L_Hiltan Elementary Principal from Pennsylvania

@Mollybmom an Instructional Consultant from Saskatoon

@Kylepace a K-12 Instructional Technology Specialist from Kansas City

@davidWees an Educational Technology Consultant from Vancouver

@Saskateach an Instructional Consultant from Saskatoon

and many, many more, more than can be mentioned (sorry to those I haven’t mentioned). However I mention these colleagues and friends, because of an up and coming conference at the end of June. While learning the ropes, ins and outs of the twitter verse, I kept hearing about ISTE2010 which was held in Denver last year. From the comments, blogs and articles that were shared during the month of July, it appeared that ISTE was not only a great learning opportunity and experience, but was also a great place for connecting and meeting the members of ones PLN.

Upon returning to school in September, I began to request and question my Principal about attending. My attendance was approved in November and I quickly registered and waited patiently for the program list. Last weekend I spent time going through all the sessions and planned out my calendar. Now I anxiously await, not the end of the school year, but my ISTE2011 adventures in Philadelphia.

I must say that I am very excited about all of the sessions that I have chosen to attend, but I am really excited about seeing, face to face some of the great educators that I have connected with through twitter. So with that 66 days and counting.