Innovation Week: Dream and Discover

This week, all grade 6-9 students were given an introduction to “Innovation Week”.  This is an opportunity for students to follow their own passions and direct their own learning about something that interests them. We encourage you to go through the presentation that the students participated in and view the videos that are in the presentation.

Innovation week is more than a “science fair” or “invention fair”, as it is not limited to only science-based projects.  Students are encouraged to pursue any area that is important to them – something they feel passionate about, or wonder about, or want to learn about.  It might be in the area of science, computers, drama, design, history, media, social justice, music, art, writing…the possibilities really are endless.

Last year, the staff and students at Greystone Centennial Middle School launched “Innovation Week”.  This year, Muir Lake is geared up to initiate the process here for our own middle years staff and students.

What is Innovation Week?

Innovation Week is an opportunity for students to engage in meaningful learning experiences, to pursue their own learning interests, and to develop the skills and thought processes to become lifelong, passionate learners.  This is not a traditional “stand and deliver” classroom environment.  Teachers are facilitators in the process.  They are there to guide, to question, to encourage and to focus, but the students are the “innovators” and will take the lead in their learning.

How will it work?

Students from grades 6-9 will be given the option to participate in this learning opportunity.  Those that choose to participate will be given the time and space to plan, research and create their projects at school during the week of December 16, before eventually sharing with the school and community at the Showcase on the morning of December 20.  Please be our guest on the 20th to share in our learning.

We can’t wait to see what our students will dream and I’m sure we’ll be in awe of what they will discover!

Students Sharing Their Imagination Projects

It was awesome to come and visit the grade 7 science classes and see the incredible projects and ideas that the students had come up with for their Imagination Foundation Project. What stood out to me the most was the level of creativity, innovation and engagement all of the students displayed. It was easy to see the students’ passion in every conversation that I had with them. Some of them shared their learning and their project on their e-portfolio. Below are only a couple examples of the amazing projects that took place taken from the students’ e-portfolios.

Jake, Ethan and Aaron – Grade 8

Project based learning is when students use projects to learn the curriculum and life skills through a creative and enjoyable manner. We found project based learning extremely beneficial because we were able to express our interests. We believe that project based learning was an exceptionally useful way to educate our fellow students compared to book learning were all you had to do was memorize the material.

During the construction of the mini ballista we went through a voluminous amount of different experiences. Continue reading

1 to 1 BYOD Parent Information Sessions

We are excited to be extending our 1-to-1 Technology Learning Initiative into the 2013/2014 school year. This initiative will continue to have our students learning with access to their own electronic device (chromebook, laptop, etc.) in the classroom to be used when it is the best tool for the learning activity. This 1-to-1 pilot began with our grade 9 and grade 4 classes; however, we are excited to expand this initiative to invite all of our students from grades 4-9 to participate.

Research indicates and we believe that creating a 1-to-1 learning environment will:

Have You Googled Yourself?

I really enjoyed the School Council meeting and parent workshop last night. It was great to see a strong attendance of people invested in our students’ education. I really appreciated George Couros, PSD Division Principal’s presentation on Digital Identity. It was an awesome time of learning and discussion that challenged us about the importance of understanding who you are online. When you google yourself, what do you find?

Your digital identity can open doors of opportunity for our students (just ask Justin Bieber) and just as quickly close them. The opportunity for learning, connecting, collaborating through technology is phenomenal.  It provides real life, learning experiences with an authentic audience (just ask our students who Face Timed with students in Tanzania). It can be a source of motivation, encouragement, inspiration, and creativity that fosters innovation. The flip side… it can be a source to air your “dirty laundry”. It can represent and showcase the best of who you are… or give a misguided, negative perception to others. Google IS the new business card.

The challenge for us as parents is to learn alongside our children. Continue reading

Discussion Corner … School Council & Parent Workshop Recap: February 11, 2013

School Council Meeting

It was GREAT to see some new faces at last night’s School Council Meeting!  Parents … you are always welcome at School Council.

The Muir Lake Community School Foundation is delighted to have some new people join their executive. Thank you Paige Reiten, Theresa Sokulski and Fiona Majeau for your willingness to serve in this capacity!

Thank you to Felicia Ochs, Parkland’s Youth Resiliency Coordinator, for stopping by to give us a glimpse of the “Healthy Initiatives” in Parkland School Division.  Thank you to Muir Lake’s Health Champions: Lynn Wagner and Cameron Leavens.  Our focus at Muir Lake School is to increase physical activity at recess and to promote healthy eating. Thanks to our Hot Lunch ladies for your role in ensuring that our students are getting milk, fresh fruit and veggies!

Below is our Admin Presentation that was presented at School Council.  We encourage you to check it out if you missed it.

Parent Workshop: Hands On With Google Drive

Thank you to the parents who were able to join us for the Parent Workshop following our School Council Meeting.  It was a “hands on” learning opportunity which was fun and relevant.

As I reflect on our time together, I wanted to say how much I appreciated the conversations and dialogue around technology and how it is impacting the learning of our students.

Utilizing technology is definitely transforming the way in which our students are being educated. It’s a “paradigm shift” for all of us who did not grow up immersed in technology.  Our teachers are now “facilitators” and guides of students’ learning … rather than only being an expert deliverer of information. It’s a challenging shift, but a necessary one as we, parents and teachers, continue to strive to provide the best possible learning for our students and open the doors for every opportunity in their present and future.  It’s exciting to have teachers, support staff, students and parents learning together on this technology journey!

We encourage you to make comments on this post … and share your thoughts and insight on the role of technology in students’ learning.  If you were are at the Parent Workshop, please feel free to share your “take away” from the excellent conversations we had last night.

Below is the outline of our Parent Workshop.  Feel free to check it out and try and some of the activities.

Click the link to view the Parent Workshop: Hands On With Google Drive outline in Google Docs.  Continue reading