Thursday, 30 June 2016

Day 194: A thank you and a reminder

Post 194 is a thank you and a reminder.

The thank you -
Thank you to all of you out there in SCDSB who tried something new this year.  By "all of you" I mean all of you - from the classroom to the boardroom - students, parents, educators, administrators, community members, support staff, facilities, human resources, operations, budget, purchasing, communications, information technology services, health and safety, corporate risk, student services, senior admin and trustees - to all of you who took a risk, questioned the status quo and tried something new to make things better for students and for each other. Thanks!

The reminder -
This is a learning organization. It has to be. Every member of the SCDSB community has a role to play in supporting learning. Sometimes, the further away we get from the student desk, the easier it is to forget our ultimate purpose. We all have roles, responsibilities and guidelines, but we can't mistake them for our purpose. These roles, responsibilities and guidelines are all means to an end, all in service of learning and well-being for all. 

Have a great summer. 


Take some time to look back on all the learning documented and celebrated here on SCDSB's 194 Days of Learning Blog. Special thanks to everyone who contributed this year!


Friday, 10 June 2016

Day 179: Designing and Building VR Headsets - The Epic Fail with Outstanding Possibilities

One day at the beginning of French class a student who is often quiet had a virtual reality (VR) headset with him. Of course, he put it away and hid it as class got started. There was a buzz in the room, as other students showed interest and we decided to run with it. With the entire class prompting and asking questions this student started to lead the discussion. He proposed that we could all make our own headsets and use them to travel around the world.

After two periods of problem solving and construction, we ended up with some devices that worked. Kind of. While the devices we made don't work perfectly, the skills developed by students through the process included critical thinking, communication and collaboration. One of my observations was how "out of their element" many of these students in Academic French were while constructing the devices. Leaders transpired through the process who were not always our traditional class leaders. The activity empowered students to work together and value each others unique strengths.
With the initial excitement of testing the devices done, our next steps are to use a combination of purchased and created VR headsets to tour French landmarks such as le Louvre, the Eiffel Tower and Versailles. After completing their virtual tours, students will communicate their learning, observations and opinions to classmates in structured conversations within small groups. I will circulate using a Google Form to document my observations of student learning.

As an extension, students will spend some time exploring the tours available and bring one of interest in to class for discussion.

Alicia Murphy, Orillia Secondary School -


Monday, 6 June 2016

Day 175 Toy Dissection Workshop- An E-Workshop Presented by ScienceNorth

A month ago a student came to the library here at Portageview Public School, looking for information about a specific rock as she was gathering research for an inquiry in grade four on Rocks and Minerals.    
Together we composed a tweet and sent an email to Science North/ Dynamic Earth in Sudbury.  

A quick reply was received.  The response from Science North led me to wonder if they would be interested in connecting with the students at Portage View to discuss and answer additional questions about rocks and minerals. Through email, they explained that they didn’t yet have an e-workshop for rocks and minerals but that they did have one for Gears and Pulleys. A phone call was set up between the two grade four teachers at our school and Melanie Smith a scientist from Science North to discuss this opportunity.  

Through this communication, we learned that the Gears and Pulleys workshop not only was available but was also free at this time as it was being subsidized.  We were very excited to hear about this program and set in motion the steps necessary to take part in this program.  A date was arranged, materials were sent and arrived from Science North and a check to ensure that the online conferencing we would use for our meeting (Zoom) would work.  We were now ready to go!

In April, the grade four students arrived in the library with their ipads ready to take part in this online workshop.  Scientist Melanie from Science North facilitated the program from her office in Sudbury.  
The grade four students used ipads throughout the workshop to document their learning and then used Book Creator to create a finished product to share their learning.  We have been asked to share some of these with Science North.  

Below is a video of one of the recounts created by a group of students:

This experience was an excellent opportunity for the students at Portage View to participate in hands-on learning, connect with a real scientist and ask questions to an expert in the field!

submitted by Jacquie Raycraft, Teacher Librarian