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New frontiers for new learning
Category Archives: Critical Thinking
May 1, 2013Posted by on
At the West School Council forum in April, there was a presentation on social media for parents. The presentation was shared by one of our board staff and he has kindly offered to share it with our community. The presentation shared some of the challenges and cautions for all of us with regards to technology and concluded with some of the valuable ways we can use social media to positively impact the work we do.
One way our board is working on supporting students and teachers with these new frontiers for new learning is through what we call our Knowledge Skills and Attitudes standards, namely:
1. Creativity and Innovation
2. Communication and Collaboration
3. Research and Information Fluency
4. Critical Thinking, Problem Solving, and Decision
5. Digital Citizenship
6. Technology Operations and Concepts
The notion of digital citizenship is worth careful consideration as we all work together to support our learners in developing safe and responsible uses of technology.
We also thank our police partners in York Region for their tips for parents on “Be Net Aware”.
Let us know what you think of the presentation document.
April 8, 2013Posted by on
On Saturday April 6, 2013, The York Region Science and Technology Fair took place at Stephen Lewis S.S for schools from across York Region and for students in grades 7 through 12. There were amazing projects on a wide variety of topics including:
– Health and sciences projects looking at healthy living and ways to combat diseases
– Environmental projects looking at “better insulation for packaging” and “green roof technologies”
– practical topics such as “does washing lettuce actually reduce bacterial counts”?
One of our own grade 8 students entered his project on “The Abstract Era” focusing on holograms both in the past and with a look ahead to the future. We thank Mrs Daryanani for her mentoring support and sponsorship of our student.
What was amazing throughout all of the projects was the students’ enthusiasm and passion for the topics they chose to explore. In front of us we saw students who spoke confidently about ideas, questions and research they themselves had conducted. All the students had a clear eye to the future in their work.
It was an inspiring afternoon.
February 2, 2013Posted by on
On our P.A day meeting Friday, one of our team’s shared a project that they have been involved in for several weeks now called the “We can See project”. It started with a fairly simple question: What can we see outside our classroom window? Our school was able to connect with Lake Simcoe P.S through a SKYPE session to compare what their community was like to our community. Over time, more schools connected and in late November, one teacher decided to launch the We Can See project. In two short months, the project has now grown to include schools from across the world. Children from Manhattan, India and multiple schools from across our own country of Canada are dialoguing about what they see in their communities.
As we explore Inquiry based learning as a school, we recognize how motivating and engaging it can be for our learners. Students can develop critical thinking skills through real life questioning and problem solving. Further, we we use technology to enhance this learning, the possibilities become endless. We can now network across our world and learn.
Now it’s your turn.
What can you see in your community?
December 2, 2012Posted by on
Our School Improvement Plan has a focus on mathematics. We know that to be successful in math, students need to be good readers. Our data shows that our students have good knowledge and understanding of mathematics and that we need to focus on their ability to think, communicate and apply their math knowledge and skills in a variety of contexts.
You can support this as parents by looking at math, everywhere.
Here are some examples.
Several of our classes are now looking at Geometry and Spatial Sense in their units.
One of our primary classes explored 3D shapes this week and looked at what makes a shape a shape by their characteristics.
You can explore shapes (cereal boxes, containers, playground equipment, shapes around the house) in real life and have your child describe their characteristics.
Ask your child: what makes a shape a shape?
Our intermediate students are exploring shapes and angle theories in their classes.
In this picture, one of our students presents an equation she made to try to prove the angles within a shape.
This class discussion led me to pose a question to our grade 8 students through their Math Moodle: why do most bicycles around the world seem to have triangles in their main frames?
This led us to other questions:
– How can we design bicycles that have different shapes in their frames?
A student reflected online: “I think a bike could only be built with triangles because from what I know, triangles are the only shapes that have the strongest structure. Think of the Eiffel tower. The Eiffel tower is built by triangles. I feel that if the bike is built with another shape for e.g., with squares it would not have as much balance than a bike built with triangles.
The student has now taken our discussion into the realm of structure and stability.
And so parents, are triangles the strongest shapes? Could we design bikes with other shapes in their frames? We’re curious to see what you and your children think.
Let’s take a look at that fabulous connection the student made with the Eiffel Tower:
It does indeed have many triangles within its frame and so the students are considering how this may add to the structure’s strength.
I had a question however about the Absolute Towers in Mississauga. How did they design this tower which does not appear to have any triangles in it?
Nonetheless, with respect to triangles, one student postulates “I think that underground, what we can’t see, are wide structures, maybe triangular shapes that hold the tower above in place. ”
Another suggests that triangles may indeed exist “inside the building. Like the ones they did for the CN tower.”
What do you think?
When we ask our students and children about math in the real world, we can be amazed by their thinking, questions and inquiry.
Such thinking is not something exclusive to our older learners either. Here is an example of JK/SK students exploring their local environment using an app that helped them learn about leaves, their shapes and their structures.
Math, it’s everywhere; we just have to seize the moment.