Tag Archives: Collaboration

Reflections on #EdCampVic – Connecting Educators

This weekend I had the opportunity to participate in EdCampVictoria – an unconference for educators by educators. While I had never been to an EdCamp before, I was familiar with the concept and was excited to see what might emerge as educators from different schools from all over my city gather to learn from and with each other. The weekend kicked off with a launch event that included guest speaker, George Couros (aka The Principal of Change @gcouros). I was so thrilled to meet one of the first people I had ever followed on Twitter in the flesh. I was not disappointed – George’s human persona is even more impressive than his virtual persona. George gave an engaging presentation that was filled with heart warming, provoking and inspiring messages. He made us laugh. He made us cry. He made us pause. He made us think. His presentation was filled with a myriad of personal stories, images and YouTube clips that helped to illustrate his key points and questions:

  • Adults need to go into the spaces where kids learn – including their virtual spaces. If we don’t show them how to exist in these spaces in positive and meaningful ways, who will?
  • Technology is a powerful tool through which we can share our stories and build meaningful connections.
  • Virtual connections do not replace human connections, but they can help to enhance them.
  • We need to innovate, including with technology – it’s not enough to simply put a $1000 pencil into a child’s hand.
  • It’s not about devices – it’s about culture. What is the culture we are creating in our schools with devices? Today’s kids are born into a world filled with tech.
  • Are kids creating and innovating because of or in spite of school?
  • Inspire curiosity, not compliance.
  • If we only teach the curriculum we have failed kids.
  • And my favorite – the smartest person in the room IS the room.

The bottom line comes down to relationships – how do we cultivate them and nurture them to make a difference in our students’ lives? Even though technology is everywhere (and can be pervasive), we need to deliberately and intentionally explore how to use it to cultivate relationships with our students so they see it as a multi-faceted tool that they can harness to add to the world in positive and powerful ways.

Saturday was all about Ed Camp… A room full of educators is buzzing at 8:30 a.m. There is a table with markers, tape and blank sheets of paper. The invitation is clear – write down a topic for discussion and post it on the wall. Once the first sheet is posted, a couple dozen more emerge. The writing is literally on the wall – every paper that is posted represents something that resonates with someone in the room – whether it’s because they are doing in their school and want to send the bat signal out to other schools to learn from and with them, or because it’s a concept they maybe have heard of and want to explore deeper with other educators. Everyone has three dots to “spend” and as dots are placed on the papers, trends begin to emerge. The organizers remove the patchwork quilt of possibilities and return 20 minutes later with a schedule of topics for the day. Maker Spaces/STEAM, inquiry, Chromebooks, How to bring faculty on board with Technology, Genius Hour, Mindfulness, Grading and Reporting, Flipping Instruction, Indigenous Education, Technology in Nature, Digital Story Telling, Nurturing Creativity, Collaboration and Critical Thinking, and more -the range of options is impressive, but I can only pick three! Who was it that said, “the smartest person in the room IS the room?” This is one smart room!

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We are off and running. The room multiplies into several rooms. There is no facilitator, there is no leader. Just educators in a room willing to talk, ask questions, share and ponder the possibilities together. What strikes me the most is that we are all more connected than we think – even though our schools are different, we are all asking the tough questions and exploring the possibilities for the future of learning. We are all connected by the learners who walk into our buildings each day. We are all united with a desire to give each learner the best possible learning experience that we can with the time, resources and talents that we have. This is my big take away from the day. There is a heart for learning out there in the edusphere and it is beating strong. If it’s beating in my city, then it’s also beating in yours.

I would like to thank all of the people who worked behind the scenes to create a brilliant day of powerful learning. I am already counting the sleeps until the next EdCampVictoria…

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The PYP-X Files – Chronicles of an Exhibition: Exhibition Day!

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Sharing the Planet
A graphic collage of student art work depicting the sharing the planet theme descriptors. This graphic was used on all posters, invites and thank you cards.

A collective exhale was joyously experienced by our students and faculty as our Grade 6s came through their big day with flying colours! The celebration began with an opening hosted by all of our Grade 6 students where they introduced the exhibition and welcomed guests (in French and English), shared a reflective voice collage where each girl shared her sentence, “Exhibition Is…”, and four students walked guests through a brief outline of the exhibition process from start to finish. Following the opening, guests were invited to view the formal presentations and exhibits. Guests were aslo invited to post their thoughts, feedback and impressions on a live blog site, called Cover it Live! It’s a great way to get feedback. Four of our Grade 5 students served as roving reporters, ipads in hand, gathering comments from guests and posting their own comments throughout the morning.

My writing can’t do justice to what the students contributed through their presentations. Here are some photos and feedback as quoted from our Cover It Live! site to paint the rest of the picture. Thanks for following along on this journey with us – it’s been so great to reflect and share with you!

“Here are some of the amazing things I learned from the exhibition on Friday from the girls in 6R5 and 6r6: 1. The population of the earth is increasing constantly — it grew by more than 2,000 people during the Population presentation alone–yikes! 2. I need to take shorter showers to preserve water and energy (I promise to work on this.) 3. The healthcare system in the UK is much better than the ones in either Canada OR the U.S. (who knew?!) 4. A bystander can be extremely helpful to someone who is bullied, so speak up and help out. 5. It’s possible to light a light bulb with a solar panel from Canadian Tire–cool! 6. Don’t underestimate the power of the media OR social media in transmitting messages about body image. 7. The Grade 6 girls at Branksome Hall are amazing. Thanks for all of these learnings, girls, and for a fantastic morning. Enjoy the last few weeks of school!” (Grace’s Mom)

A model house showing sustainable building options as presented by the Sustainability Group.
A model house showing sustainable building options as presented by the Sustainability Group

 
“The presentations were great: the verbal exposition, role playing, interactive audio-visual on Smartboard all very well executed and educational. The videos were professional quality. Students were well-informed beyond the prepared narrative, and had excellent and informed answers to questions, so it is clear that enquiry went deep.” (Perry’s Mom)

“What a fascinating and powerful morning. As I listened to each of the groups I attended (Sustainability, Food, Social Media), I was so impressed with the depth of research, the professionalism of the presentation skills, and the desire by the teams to impart to their audiences a sense of the importance for changes to our outlook and habits.”(Emily’s Mom)

“This was a very well organized presentation. It was clear that everyone in grade 6 was proud of their work and participation.  What a great start to future group endeavours.” (Claire’s Dad)

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A reflection from the final week.
The Social Media Group examines the negative effects of cyber-bullying.
The Social Media Group examines the negative effects of cyber-bullying.
“Very powerful video, social media group. They spent their time very wisely on how to show people about social media. They educated everyone so well I think many people will think twice about posting things after this presentation. They made an amazing video and really helped build people’s self esteem. Really good job you made me think so, so much about social media now.” (Callista and Sima, Grade 5 Roving Reporters)

“The body image group had an amazing booth that I learnt so much just from the pictures at the booth, and I was amazing how they photoshopped Lochlan’s face. The weapons group also had a great game that we all enjoyed participating in. Now we are watching the water group presentation which has been so interesting so far. Great job girls in 6R6 and 6R5!!!” (Bessie, Grade 5 Roving Reporter)

 

“The healthcare presentation was great! Good work girls. I liked the way you used a debate to compare the 3 different countries’ healthcare (pros and cons). The word wall was a very interesting idea – to uncover people’s real thoughts and emotions about healthcare. Good job!” (Hannah’s Mom)

A book written by the Water Group.
A book written by the Water Group.
OilExperiment
An experiment showing the effects of oil on the environment and birds.
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The Population Group begins their presentation with a visualization, inviting guest to imagine a world…When we open our eyes, we are told this world we imagined is the world of TODAY!
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The Body Image Group challenges observers to undo the effects of negative body image by adding positive (blue) comments to counter all the negative (yellow) thoughts.
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A diorama presented by the Food Group showing the effects of fast food consumption.
A page from the Water Group's Book.
A page from the Water Group’s Book.