Archive for June 30, 2011

Greystone Celebrates our Community

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!

 

Carolyn Cameron

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. 

 

 

 

Looking Back ~ Moving Forward

Life can only be understood backwards; but it must be lived forwards. – Soren Kierkegaard

 

As a follow up to a previous post, here are additional Teacher Professional Growth Plan Reflections from our year at Greystone.  I have included my reflections from my Growth Plan, also.  Teachers were asked to comment on the year according to these guiding questions:

 

  • What were my “aha’s” related to my learning goals for this year? 
  • What evidence, if any, do I have to measure my success in meeting this year’s goals? 
  • What unexpected learning, if any, occurred for me this year?
  • What will I continue to build on as I think about developing my learning goals for next year?

In looking back at the many successes we have had this past year, I am filled with renewed energy to continue dreaming and scheming for the future at Greystone.  We have so much to look forward to!

 

Carolyn Cameron

 

Looking_back
growth plan response – Andrew.docx
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Professional Growth Plans – Jessie 2.docx
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Lonnie_Professional_Reflections 2011.docx
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PGP Reflection 2010-11 Carolyn.doc
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A Clear Focus for the Future at Greystone

3E Wheel.pdf
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When the vision is clear, passion and creativity follow. – Dewitt Jones

 

We have collected feedback from students, parents and staff.  We have reviewed data, observations and reflections.  We have gone on road trips to seek wisdom from others.  We have brought experts in to meet with us to provide advice.  We have dreamed, talked, listened and shared.  As a result, our school is ready to roll out our focus for our 2011-12 School Year.  The most important part  – we will continue to build on the excellent work that we have already started here at Greystone Centennial Middle School.  The future looks bright!

 

 

Looking Back to Look Forward

 

Learning without reflection is a waste, reflection without learning is dangerous ~ Confucious

 

As we bring the 2010-11 school year to a close, I am reminded of how important it is to make time to look back, reflect on successes, challenges and to think about areas for continued focus and growth as we move forward into the future.

 

Before heading into the final month of school, I have made it a practice to ask our Greystone Teachers to submit a reflection from the year connected to their Professional Growth Plan Goals.  This year, I was asked by my Superintendent to submit my own reflection from the year, as well.  I look forward to adding my reflection to our collection. 

 

In reflecting on the year, I asked teachers to consider the following guiding questions:

 

  • What were my “aha’s” related to my learning goals for this year?
  • What evidence, if any, do I have to measure my success in meeting this year’s goals?
  • What unexpected learning, if any, occurred for me this year?
  • What will I continue to build on as I think about developing my learning goals for next year?

 

Of all the successes we have experienced at Greystone this year, I am most proud of the willingness of our teaching team to agree to share their reflections publicly with each other and with “the world” through this blog post.  This is real evidence of our commitment to keep growing as a collaborative learning community.  Teachers are dedicated to improving instructional practice by sharing, reflecting and being open to constructive, critical feedback from others.  We know that our learning is deepened when we have the opportunity to collaborate openly with others.  Technology provides us with a powerful way to do this. 

 

Please take some time to read the reflections by Greystone’s awesome teachers – they are an inspiring team of “lead learners” within our school.  Lucky students to be learning with all of them and lucky me to get to watch all of them in action each and every day at Greystone!  Stay tuned for additional reflections next week…

 

~ Carolyn Cameron

Best_rearview_mirror
2011 year end reflection – Travis.docx
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Catherine Savard Professional Growth Plan Reflection.docx
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Claudia Scanga Growth Plan Reflection.docx
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joan pgp May 30.docx
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PGP Reflections 2011 – Peggy.docx
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PGPreflection – Matt.docx
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Professional Growth Plan FeedbackBruce Kolody.docx
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Professional Growth Plan Reflection 2011 – Craig.docx
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Professional Growth Reflection June 2011 – Dale.docx
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ProfGrowthPlan1011REFLECTION – Katy.docx
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reflection – Lindsay.docx
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Year End reflections 2011 – Jolene.docx
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