Teachers will be collaborating to design project plans during our Professional Development Day on January 31st. As part of our Community Project, students in grades 5 – 8 will be exploring the City of Spruce Grove to talk to real people, visit real places and share real stories with others through the use of technology. Greystone received a Community Incentive Grant to be put towards upgrading our technology in order to help us make our student work public to others who might be interested in learning more about our city. We have partnered up with the City of Spruce Grove and the Public Library in order to add our work to the City’s existing website. We are looking forward to what the students will come up with!
This kind of authentic, real learning has been emphasized in the following videoclip from TEDTalks. The video podcasts on TEDTalks are taken from the TED Conference where the world’s leading thinkers and doers give powerful talks in the areas of Technology, Entertainment and Design. In this particular clip, a teacher, Diana Laufenburg, describes the shift that has happened in schools with the abundance of information that students now have at their fingertips through the use of technology. Schools are no longer places to obtain information. Instead, the school’s main focus now needs to be on DOING SOMETHING WITH THE INFORMATION.
Schools need to help students develop their creativity and critical thinking skills by teaching them that it’s okay to not arrive at one right answer. This clearly flies in the face of standardized tests that do not allow for multiple pathways to deeper understanding. At Greystone, the conversations continue with our professional staff in order to provide rich evidence that students have developed a deeper understanding of key learning outcomes. If multiple choice tests don’t measure real, authentic learning…then what does?
Greystone’s first Flash Mob takes over our school assembly! Hard to believe that almost our entire grade eight learning community of just under 100 students would unexpectedly perform for our whole school at the year- end assembly. This clip shows that our students are learning to become self-confident and have the courage needed to take risks in putting themselves “out there” in front of others. This becomes increasingly challenging during the “middle years” when our young adolescents often become overly concerned with how they will be viewed by their peers. The clip also serves as an excellent example of the energy and enthusiasm that is part of our school culture – so important in keeping our teenagers engaged in the life of our school.
Helping students develop the self-confidence they need to try new things and to put themselves “out there” in their learning is key to giving them the education they need for success now and in the future. At Greystone, we provide students with a strong network of support by intentionally grouping them together in loops where they stay with the same team of teachers for 2-3 years. We have found this to be a powerful way to connect students to each other and to their teachers so that students feel confident and capable in taking risks. We are incredibly proud of our students and teachers for being willing to explore the unknown in learning and in life…Go Greystone!