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Big Numbers and Sky Science: Grade 6 Math/Science Integration

-by Candice Shaw, Grade 6 Math/Science

In the Grade 6 curricula, there are many opportunities for meaningful integration between subjects. The Sky Science unit and Large Number topics fit harmoniously together.

With a focus on problem solving, students first went about solving a variety of astronomy themed problems, such as “How many times further is Saturn’s distance from the Sun than Earth’s distance from the Sun?” These problems had students working with numbers in the millions and billions, as well as estimating, rounding, using appropriate units and converting distances.

This problem solving was culminated with a major group problem: “How can we build a proportional model showing the distance of the planets from the Sun? How far are each of the planets from the Sun, in Astronomical Units?” 

UCreate Elective: Developing Entreprenuerial Spirit at CSS

-by Jody Pereverzoff

Elective Description: “From the fashion industry to the sports and electronic gaming industry, there is money to be made. But how to these ideas turn into money??? Well, if any of these thoughts have ever crossed your mind, then this elective is for you! In this elective, you will have the opportunity to create a product, business, and/or app from the ground up. You will start with an idea, and work your way to a finished product that you will market to potential investors. If you enjoy thinking outside the box and have ever wondered how ideas are shaped into successful business ventures, then sign up today!"

A Different Kind of Test

-by Margaret Leland, Grade 8 Humanities

Over the Spring break I was reading Seth Godin’s “Stop Stealing Dreams (what is school for?)” and began to question how best I could develop the unit final for my students to finish off our Worldviews in Conflict: The Spanish 
and the Aztecs.

I was mulling over the following quotes by Seth Godin:

“The obligation of the new school is to teach reasonable doubt. Not the unreasonable doubt of the wild-eyed heckler, but the evidence-based doubt of the questioning scientist and the reason-based doubt of the skilled debater.” 

“Unfortunately, the things we desperately need (and the things that make us happy) aren’t the same things that are easy to test.”

The Winding Road to Exemplary Instructional Leadership

-by Phil Butterfield, Assistant Principal

As you may know from visiting the Connect! Blog or the Calgary Science School website, we have developed frameworks for exemplary teaching and exemplary learning. Together these two documents form the guiding principles by which we believe students can enjoy rewarding educational and social experiences that will equip them for success beyond CSS. But what mention is made of the role of school administrators within those frameworks? Certainly leadership as a desirable attribute of teachers and students is a key element but there is no specific reference to the nebulous and hard-to-define capacity of instructional leadership. Our Superintendent, Dr. Garry McKinnon, has very clearly articulated the need for a rethinking of the role school administrators play in the teaching and learning process, but to truly operationalize an instructional leadership model that is aligned with the exemplary teaching and learning frameworks is a challenging task that will pay huge dividends for
student learning when we get it right.

Thoughts and Viruses Interdisciplinary Inquiry Unit

-by Dave Scott, Grade 8 Humanities

This year one of the goals of the Grade 8 team was to undertake an interdisciplinary unit that brought together the four core subject areas of math, science, language arts, and social studies. With the aid of Erin Couillard, PD and outreach coordinator, after an afternoon planning session seeking an inquiry topic and question that was generous enough to engage all these domains, the team settled on a unit exploring the similarities between how viruses spread, and how ideas, social movements, and trends can become contagious in similar ways. Here we saw a question that could help us simultaneously explore the topic of cells and systems in the science curriculum, exponential growth in the area of math, how the Renaissance sparked the growth and exchange of ideas and knowledge across Europe in the social studies program, and a myriad of outcomes in language arts including revising understandings and ideas by connecting new and prior knowledge and experiences.

Connecting with an Expert: Grade 4 Humanities Picture Book Project

-By Heather Fawcett, Grade 4 Humanities

Through the Learning Through the Arts (LTTA) initiative, Grade 4 students at CSS had the opportunity to work with local artist, Val Lawton, to develop professional grade picture books. LTTA partners local artists with schools to facilitate rich integration of Fine Arts and the core curriculum.

The picture book project had students working in groups to write short stories set in one of Alberta’s natural regions. Magic in the Mountains, a picture book by Carol McTavish, Lori Nunn, and Linden Wentzloff, was used as a model for the project. Students were provided with graphic organizers and a checklist to guide the group development of their story. Our partner artist, Val Lawton, visited each class once a week to deliver art instruction and to assist in creating the illustrations for the books.

Video Assessment in Phys. Ed - A Reflection

-by Dean Schmeichel, Phys. Ed Teacher

This is my final blog for the Research project – Video Assessment in PE. This was an extremely worthwhile project and it has shaped the future course of assessment for me in my career. From past experience, I know that I will continue to develop, adapt and modify this process. What works one year, might need to be overhauled the next, depending on the group of students, parents, teachers and my own level of commitment and excitement.

There was an 86% response rate to the survey that I asked the Grade 9 students to complete. I targeted the Grade 9 class specifically because they were given written comments in Term 1. Both the Grade 5 and 7 classes were given recorded (verbal) assessments in Term 1. The survey that Tammy (my teaching partner and co-researcher in this project) and I designed was done collaboratively with Dave Scott (colleague and Ph.D. student) and Dr. Pam Adams from the University of Lethbridge.

Using ShowMe in the Humanities Classroom

-Jody Pereverzoff grade 7 Humanities

After reading Lisa Nelson’s blog on using ShowMe in the Math class, I thought it would be a successful tool for students to demonstrate their understanding of editorial cartoons. Students first read the short story “Back to our Roots” by Fernando Sorrentino (translated from Spanish by Iris Maria Mielonen) and brainstormed the main themes of the text.