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

Hands On In LA 9: Student Writing About Learning

*This is a student writing about their learning activity in LA 9 with the novel “Touching Spirit Bear”.*

Cole Matthews is a very troubled boy. The word troubled doesn’t even begin to cover his issues. After sending classmate Peter Driscal to the hospital by smashing his head into the sidewalk, Cole is put in a detention center, where he meets Garvey, and is introduced to Circle Justice. Circle justice is a method of healing that involves gathering with other citizens and discussing the problem at hand. Much conversing brings the Circle members to a decision, which is sending Cole to a remote island in Alaska.

Throughout his time on the island, Cole begins to change.

Part of his healing involves him carving a totem pole. Everyday, Cole etches and picks at the wood with his knife, and everyday he bases his next sculpture on an animal that he has seen and finds positive traits in. But these characteristics aren’t based just on the animals, but on himself, too. As he creates the structure, he delves inside his own being to pull out the good things that he knows he has in himself. This self-reflection helps Cole bring himself to serenity and peace, and allows him to quiet down his anger.

Through building totem poles of our own, we can follow Cole’s path, and experience what he had. Choosing animals that we see ourselves in, we have created pieces of art that show our own self-reflection. The class is etching, carving and writing down personal perspectives of ourselves. Following our totems, we are writing narrative essays that explain why we have chosen the animals in our art, using particular experiences of our lives to justify our choices.

As a student participating in this activity, I believe that I understand how Cole Matthews felt as he made his totem pole. Self-reflection does show you how you act not just towards others, but towards yourself as well.