Individual awards did not receive the spotlight at Greystone’s year end assembly. Instead, we featured Inquiry Learning, which is the cornerstone of our school’s learning communities. Here is my message from this part of our Year End Celebration of Learning:
Welcome to our film premiere showcasing the community projects that our students from grades five through eight were involved in this year. This film, and the public sharing of it, are part of a commitment our school made when we applied for a community incentive grant to purchase additional technology for our students to use in their learning this year. In order to meet the requirements of the grant we were awarded, we needed to demonstrate how our learning connected us to the greater community outside of the walls of our school through the use of technology.
This project became an excellent opportunity for our teachers and students to continue to develop the kind of learning that we have been working towards at Greystone since we opened the doors to our new school six years ago. It was a chance to make learning real, relevant and meaningful to our students by helping them make connections from the school based program of studies to the real world, outside of the school – the real people, places and stories of our community.
So, that was our challenge…how would we use technology to connect our curriculum and our students to our Spruce Grove Community – and how could our learning be captured in a way that had lasting value, beyond a test score, or an assignment to be handed in to a teacher? How would we create something to demonstrate that our students are developing the skills needed to be successful in the world we live in today – a world that requires them to be active, critical thinkers, collaborators, creators of new knowledge and how could they demonstrate they were using technology in ways that connect them to people in our community and our world?
Today’s changing world needs our students to develop so many different skills than those that were needed from students in the past. We need today’s students to be able to obtain information in new ways…not just from books but by interviewing real people, hearing their stories, and accessing relevant sources from the internet. In addition, today’s learners are required to take their learning and create new ways of sharing it – with each other and with the world outside of the school. Our goal, through this project, was to demonstrate some of the important skills we are learning that will help our students find success in the 21st century – a world that has changed and will continue to change significantly as our students become adults. We are preparing our learners for a world than none of us can quite imagine right now. These are very exciting times!!!!!
Many of the important skills our students need for success in our changing world were developed through this project. First, students took up a question, an inquiry, related to our Spruce Grove Community. Our teachers ensured that there was a meaningful connection to the curriculum. Students developed criteria for creating powerful questions for interviews, for what makes a powerful visual image and for what makes a powerful story. Students worked with new technology to create digital movies, digital books and learned how to use various devices for voice recordings and filming people both inside and outside of the school. Students examined different perspectives in a historical context and compared them to present day perspectives. Our students created a variety of final products – one of which is a feature movie that will be shared with Learning Community 6 students, families and guests at the Parkland Cinema following this assembly.
For the purpose of this assembly, we wanted to compile a snapshot of all of this learning from our Learning Communities 5 through 8, so we invited our friend, Mr. David Matthew Bonner, to create a movie that captured the highlights. We hope it will demonstrate to you how student learning can be made more meaningful when students are involved in work that takes them outside of the walls of the school or when the students are engaged in active exploration and demonstrations of learning that get them thinking like and acquiring the skills of real reporters, set designers, photographers, videographers, actors, authors, historians by asking important questions and seeking information to share with a bigger audience. Thank you for being our bigger audience today as our students learn from the past and the present to become our future – our future business owners, farmers, City Council members, community volunteers, even future mayors, in our Spruce Grove community…ENJOY!
P.S. Our Mayor, Stuart Houston, was in attendance at our assembly and will be linking our movie to the City of Spruce Grove’s website.