Monday, 14 December 2015

The Nutcracker

Last Thursday families from Oliver and Kelowna attended The Nutcracker. Above is only a few of them! In addition, some of our families in the Yukon this past weekend also took in The Nutcracker. For as long as I've been in education, I never cease to be amazed at the importance of coming together, being a community. DL is no different.

Thank you to everyone who attended, and a special thank you to Sonia for making this trip possible! And congratulations to Lily and Audrey. All your your hard work at rehearsals this past month paid off. You fit right in with the National Ballet! Who knows? Someday you might very well be a member. Keep dancing!

Happy Holidays!

Monday, 7 December 2015

Zentangle Towers

If you're looking for an interesting art project this week and/or a personalized, homemade gift idea to give someone this Christmas, consider creating a Zentangle tower.

Needed Materials:

- thick card from which to cut out letters for a person's name
- a good quality, black, fine, felt marker
- a small piece of wood for the base
- a 12-16 inch long dowel(s)
- black paint
- glue

Instructions:

1. Cut out from your card stock the person's name you want to sculpt into bubble letters.
2. Inside each letter create a zentangle using your felt marker. Here's a link to a useful website on zentangle.
3. Drill one, proper sized hole into the base for each dowel you intend to use to make your tower.
4. Glue dowel ends and place in base holes.
5. Glue letters onto the dowels, overlapping the letters in order to create a stunning 3D effect.

Regardless, whether you create a zentangle tower for yourself or someone else, be sure to have a good look at the image above before you start and good luck!

Monday, 30 November 2015

Accelerated Skill Acquisition?

I just finished "The First 20 Hours" by Josh Kaufman. The book is an easy read built on a simple premise: anyone can acquire a skill fast if they follow what Josh calls the basic four step approach:

  1. deconstruct the skill to be acquired into subset skills
  2. quickly learn enough about each subset skill so that you can practice intelligently and self-correct
  3. remove all barriers (physical, mental, emotional) that stand in the way of practice
  4. practice the most important subskills for 20 focused hours.
In addition to approach, Josh outlines two sets of principles, which I've listed below, but to be clear, this is not a book report. It's a declaration and an invitation! From now until Christmas break, I will become more skilled in using Twitter as a learning tool, and I encourage anyone who is interested to join me and/or set up your own challenge.

Twenty hours is a small investment. I'm sure there's some skill you've been wanting to acquire. What are you waiting for? Maybe over eggnog we can write a review of Josh's book together!

10 Principles of Rapid Skill Acquisition

  1. Choose a lovable project.
  2. Focus your energy on one skill at a time.
  3. Define your target performance level.
  4. Deconstruct the skill into subskills.
  5. Obtain critical tools.
  6. Eliminate barriers to practice.
  7. Make dedicated time for practice.
  8. Create fast feedback loops.
  9. Practice by the clock in short bursts.
  10. Emphasize quantity and speed.

Ten Principles of Effective Learning (copied from Pablo's miscellany)

  1. Research the skill and related topics. Spend twenty minutes finding good sources on how to acquire your chosen skill.  These resources won’t teach you the skill; they will teach you how to practice.
  2. Jump in over your head. Initially, you’ll be confused.  Recognizing confusion is valuable, since it can help you figure out what you’ll need to research or do next to resolve that confusion.
  3. Identify mental models and mental hooks.
  4. Mental models are the most basic units of learning: a way of conceptualizing an object or relation that exists in the world. Mental hooks are analogies and metaphors that can be used to remember new concepts. Imagine the opposite of what you want. By considering the worst possible outcome, you can identify important elements that aren’t immediately obvious.
  5. Talk to practitioners to set expectations.
  6. Talking to people who have acquired the skill before you will help dispel myths and misconceptions before you invest your time and energy.
  7. Eliminate distractions in your environment. Distractions come in two forms: electronic (TV, the Internet) and biological (people. pets). Deal with them appropriately. Use spaced repetition and reinforcement for memorization. Use this technique when fast recall is crucial, like learning vocabulary words. Otherwise spend this time in practice or experimentation.
  8. Create scaffolds and checklists. Checklists help you remember things that must be done every time you practice. .Scaffolds are structures that ensure you approach the skill the same way every time (e.g., the pre-free throw routine of a basketball player).
  9. Make and test predictions. Getting into the habit of making and testing predictions will help you acquire skills more rapidly..
  10. Honour your biology. Your body needs food, water, exercise, rest, and sleep. Make sure you are getting enough of these inputs.

Monday, 23 November 2015

Bouquets and Bloopers

On Friday, I participated in another inquiry facilitation workshop. This year, I've grown a great deal in my understanding of both inquiry and what it means to be a facilitator. Recently, I've been coming to appreciate the idea of protocols, or sets of procedures or rules used to help govern organized collaboration. Search "collaboration and/or learning protocols" online and you will be rewarded with something light such as this or heavy such as this. Bouquets and Blooper and 3-2-1 are examples. Applying the first, students could be asked to recount the celebrations (bouquets) or challenges (bloopers) they experienced, say for something like the school work they did last week, or the work they did preparing for the science fair. Using the 3-2-1 protocol, once a student has read a chapter of a book, or an article, they could be asked to list 3 things they learned, 2 things they found interesting, and write 1 question they still have. Whether you're a student, parent , or teacher protocols might just help you formalize and structure your collaborations to be more fruitful and comfortable for everyone involved.
 

Monday, 16 November 2015

Hour of Code Challenge

If you're looking for something a little different to do in school the next few weeks, consider learning to code! Each year, millions of students from around the globe participate in a week long challenge to see if they each can accumulate an hour of coding. It's easy, once you learn. Last year a number of YouLearn students participated. Many I'm sure will this year, too.

The official challenge runs from Dec. 7-14. However, you can sign up and start learning to code at any time by visiting code.org. Coding is an excellent way to sharpen your problem solving and math skills as well as increase creative and logical thinking. Did I mention it's super creative and fun?

Let your teacher know if you join this year's challenge and/or start coding this year. And definitely, share with us any of the programs you create!


Monday, 9 November 2015

What in the World?

What in the World? is a new current events newsletter available to all students this year. Below is a list of the release dates for each of the eight issues. To gain access to this resources, students should sign into their accounts and click on following link to access the Where in the World resource folder. You can also access it off our classroom's main page > Parents > Learning Resources (Open).

Issue 1: August 26
Issue 2: September 30
Issue 3: October 28
  • Liberals Triumph In Federal Election
  • The Biggest Trade Deal Ever
  • The United Nations’ Global Goals
  • A Controversial Hunt
Issue 4: December 2
Issue 5: January 27
Issue 6: March 2
Issue 7: April 6
Issue 8: May 11

Monday, 2 November 2015

The World Book is Finally Here!

As of Friday, all students have access to The World Book Encyclopedia. If your mom and/or dad has not yet spoke to you about this resource, ask them if you can spend time this week investigating what it has to offer. You'll be surprised and impressed, I believe. There are loads of Social Study and Science materials inside the database and even an interactive atlas. Enjoy and happy learning!


Monday, 19 October 2015

From the Inside Out

The inside of your body is more revolting than you think. For example, balls of mashed food slide through a slimy tunnel. Muscles squish them down to the stomach that churns the food  around for an hour, until it looks like it has little worms coming out. When the mash gets to the small intestine, it looks like you are squeezing toothpaste from a tube.

I found this out when I watched this. You should too!  --->   The Digestive System

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

Educational Primary Games

In case you don't know, education.com is a websites for which we have a school subscription. Inside it, you will find a number of excellent resources such as worksheets, science fair ideas and yes, games! If you happen to be a primary student (K-3), or a parent of a primary student, I encourage you to have a look and give some of the early reading and math games a try. Just be careful of your overall screen time!

Ask your parents to check their email (subject line: PW education.com) to access this site and all that it has to offer.

Monday, 5 October 2015

Experiences of a Cross-Enrolled Student

I created this poster in the first week of Band class. It was an assignment from my teacher, Ms. Ante.  It was meant to introduce my musical self to her and my classmates.  I used the PowerPoint program to make it.  She said that mine had a lot of originality.  I thought that my poster really demonstrated that I am very involved in fine arts!

I am cross-enrolled this year, grade 8, in both SOSS and YouLearn.  I am taking PE 8 and the Grade 8 elective rotation at SOSS.  The elective rotation is made up of 8 courses that are each about 4 weeks long, such as Band, InfoTech, Woodwork, HomeEc, and Art.  I am doing all of my academic courses through YouLearn.  I really like having PE at SOSS with Mr. Wilson, and it's really fun to be able to play my saxophone with the other Band students.  I find it odd to have to listen to the bells telling me what to do!  This is my 9th year at YouLearn; I started here in Kindergarten.  Since grade 4, I have done PE and Fine Arts at both TEN and OES.

I feel that being so involved has enriched my education, as has my wonderful education at home!

~ Kelan Harty

Monday, 28 September 2015

In it Together


Nearing the end of September, the rhythms of school have, indeed, arrived. Actually, it's amazing how the slow days of summer seem so far away compared to the rush of things needing to get done! Rarely, does there ever seem enough time in the day.

Regardless, as I sit and reflect on not having a student come forward this week to write a learning post, I'm left wondering how our learners are doing. Are they feeling supported enough? Do they feel connected to their school, our teachers, one another? Are they comfortable and confident with publicly sharing a piece of their learning? Is there something we can do to help?

If you're a parent reading this, please remind your child that the weekly classroom learning posts are an opportunity for them to showcase their learning. It's also a representation of our community, a place to which students can point and say, "That' my school." If you're a student reading this, take a risk if you're comfortable! We'd love to hear from you and help you share. Together we learn, together we grow is one of our school mottos. You are our school. Your contributions matter and make us who we are. A community.

To sign up for an upcoming blog post click here > classroom blog sign up sheet.
(Or you can always email me at weaton@sd53.bc.ca)

Monday, 21 September 2015

Welcome Steve!


The past two weeks, I've gotten to know Steve Pozzobon a little better. For the past four years, our jobs rarely overlapped. I've been busy running our K-9 school while he has been busy teaching in our high school, running Portage and acting as our K-12 school counsellor. Already this past week, I must admit, I've learned a lot from Steve, and I'm excited about what the future holds for our students, our school and more personally, myself.

Directly, he has taught me the power of combining courage and humility. Indirectly, he reminds me of that which we ultimately seek for our children: 1) an ability to learn how to learn, and 2) an optimistic, life-long learner mindset. Two things that sometimes don't get spoken about enough as we go through the motions of becoming educated. 

Welcome to the wonder that is K-9 DL, Steve, and congrats for finishing first overall at the BC Provincial Rodeo Championships. I'm not surprised I had to learn about this from someone else, let alone it be a week after the event!

Monday, 14 September 2015

Living and Learning on the Road

I am doing 7th grade on an 11 month road trip with my family. We are going from the Yukon to Florida, with many stops in between. Our purpose of our trip is to avoid winter and go to warm places so we can do summer activities all year long.

We are traveling in a 25 foot truck camper and a 23 foot enclosed trailer. We are spending 5 months or so in Canada and then we will spend 6 months in the United States. During the 5 months that we are in Canada we are spending most of our time in British Colombia. We plan on doing lots of kayaking and some mountain biking. Then while we are in the U.S. we plan on doing lots of mountain biking and then we are also going to do lots of kayaking in California and some surfing. When we go to Florida we will go canoeing and swimming with manatees.

That is a sum up of what we are doing on our trip this year and if you would like to follow and know what we are doing you are welcome to come and check out our website at www.chasingthesun.ca.


Hunter Vincent, Grade Seven


Tuesday, 8 September 2015

Get Involved!


For four straight years now, students and staff have been writing and sharing their learning experiences through our online classroom. Whenever I feel the isolation of DL, I visit this classroom and am filled with examples of our learning and memories. It confirms we are a school, that we share a common path and are connected . . . that we are a community.

Much like last year, here is a link to the classroom blog sign up sheet. On it you will find instructions on how you can contribute to our classroom by simply writing a few sentence then sharing a photo. Older students are encouraged to sign up immediately (click link above) and set the example. To our parents of primary students, thank you in advance for supporting and managing this activity for your child.

The importance of getting involved to help us maintain and nurture our learning community cannot be over stressed. Many hands make like work! We, together, are our school. Sign up and get involved today.

Monday, 22 June 2015

Stay in the Frame

In no way does the above picture encapsulate the end of the 2014-15 school year. Barely, does it even represent our year end get together held in Oliver last week. Further, it's a poorly framed candid. Uninformative, unemotional. Admitting it, I forgot to capture the event, and by the time I did remember to take a photo, it was too late. The action was over and a number of families and students had long gone.

Nonetheless, here this photo sits at the end of my camera roll, staring back at me, and I'm pleased.

Enjoy the relationships and learning that summer has to offer, everyone. Loose yourself in it! Freely forget the DL burden of having to document student learning and/or create a product. Engage. Explore. Stay inside the pictures you are a part of. Be.

Happy learning.

Monday, 15 June 2015

Highlight of 2014-15: Curling

I started curling in October of 2014. I didn't know anything about curling when I started. I learned about the rock,  the broom, and the slider. I learned about how they count the points, too. I was in three bonspiels and got one gold medal in Osoyoos. These bonspeils were a ton of fun. I played with my two best friends. I thank Kathy, Ray, and Karen for teaching me. I finished curling in March. I really love curling, it is a great winter sport.

William, Gr. 6

Monday, 8 June 2015

Pen Pals


Recently, Evey and Will have been writing back and forth to one another most days. Instead of writing, submitting and having journal entries assessed every two or three weeks, Evey and Will's daily, or "Pen Pal" approach, has benefited both of them.

Evey: Having a Pen Pal is fun because you write to people and in a way talk to one another.

Will: I enjoy reading and writing to Evey daily. It makes me feel more connected to her and more able to help. Also, I can't wait to see what she writes each day!

Monday, 1 June 2015

Together

I'm flying. Behind me is one community, ahead of me, another. Actually, they're the same, just distributed.

This past week, Ernie and I had a chance to connect with many of our Yukon students and their families. Overwhelmingly, we are grateful for everyone's hospitality and the experiences we shared. Equally, we are grateful to all of our parents who have worked so hard to help us over come the distance between us and their children, be it small or large. Thank you for phoning and Skyping. Thank you for welcoming us into your homes. Thank you for uploading student work and sharing our feedback. And thank you for encouraging your children to regularly communicate with their teachers.

Community has more to do with commitment than proximity. This is what I've taken away from my trip to the Yukon this year. Landing shortly, Ernie and I will continue to work at keeping our communities connected. Though tired and miles above the Yukon and Okanagan, we are inspired, focused and clear. Together we learn, together we grow.

Monday, 25 May 2015

The Falls

I had the privilege of accompanying 23 students and two French teachers on a week-long trip to Quebec this past week.  The trip made me appreciate, once again, how much diversity there is in our country.  We experienced different geography, languages and culture on our journey.  In particular, I found out Quebec city is over 95% French speaking and only 2% English.  It was interesting to note that the two French teachers who accompanied me were constantly asking our guides questions about the French language.  They learned new phrases and modeled "life-long learning".  We are privileged to live on a country that is incredilbly vast and diverse in so many ways.

~ Glen

Tuesday, 19 May 2015

McIntyre Bluff


I hiked up McIntyre Bluff. It was a killer view. We saw a lot of trails. I caught two frogs. One named Tim and the other Bob. I learned how tiring it was.

~ Owen

Monday, 11 May 2015

Serendipity


Friday and Saturday I was away at a conference in Vancouver. Although I learned a great deal about a few key educational initiatives and am completely inspired, how I met six new friends, and how we, together, came to meet one sweet, 93 year old gentleman named Harold will stay with me forever. Initially, I attempted to share the story, here, but have since thrown away the words. The magic of happy accidents is difficult to replicate let alone emote. Instead, watch the video and/or ask me to tell you the story if you're interested. Either way, or regardless, I leave you with this: be neither too quick, nor too focused such that you walk on by the wonder that surrounds; fortunate happenstances, love and beautiful people are everywhere.

Monday, 4 May 2015

Collaborative Learning - A Family Affair


What did I do?

"I built a bowstring bridge. I used wooden stir sticks, wood glue, floss, measuring tape, and wire cutters. I also used binder clips to hold the sticks in place” said Esther.

Leah stated, "I helped to measure, cut the popsicle sticks, glue the bridge together and cheer on my team.”

"I helped cut the measured popsicle sticks, which took a LOT of effort. Gluing them on the bridge was a LOT of Fun!" by Paul and Sarah.

Peter said, "I made an upside down triangle bridge. First, I drew out a full-size sketch of my bridge and then glued sticks to match the drawing.”

"I did an Upside Down Triangle-Truss Bridge. The hardest part was drawing the sketch full size. The fun part was getting all the supplies ready to glue" by Andrew.

"I came up with the design of my bridge from different designs we looked up on the web” by Samuel.


How did I feel as I presented my project?

"I felt a lot of pride, mixed with some nervousness. I was so scared that our bridge wouldn't hold much, but it surprised everyone by holding three buckets full of heavy weights!" exclaimed Esther.

Leah said, "It was a sense of pride, for my team's bridge was the BEST looking. Yet, I did fear that it might not take that much weight for us to win."

Paul and Sarah shouted, "Suspense! And more SUSPENCE!”

"I was very nervous. There were many entries in my category. All of them looked so good. I thought that I wouldn't stand a chance to win and I didn't, but I still got a small prize and played a cool science game there with one of the engineers." Peter reflected.

"I was so nervous. There were many bridges that looked similar. I surprised myself when they called my name and presented me with a cheque. It was an awesome feeling of accomplishment" by Andrew.

"Suspense was crazy...as the engineers were talking and loading up the bridge. They thought it wouldn't need the double bucket to be attached to it. But it DID! But the only thing that failed me was the few popsicle sticks that came detached from the deck. Oh, well it still did pretty well. I received second place and a nice prize. Next year, I'll try to get my First prize!” Samuel stated.


What did I learn?

"I learned that this project requires a lot of patience! It takes a while for the sticks to dry, you can't just glue, glue, glue. You have to glue and wait....glue again and wait...and glue again and wait some more!" by Esther.

"I had no idea before this project, that by gluing a whole bunch of small pieces of popsicle sticks makes such a strong arch" said Leah.

"Projects take a LONG time to be completed" by Paul and Sarah.

"That the triangles are stronger then squares. It took a LOT OF PATIENCE!” Peter stated.

"I had some worries about my design, but as I tested one of the sides on my bridge, and it turned out quite strong. I was impressed" Andrew said.

"My hypothesis did come true. Exactly as I had predicted. The only thing that failed me was the deck. Some of the sticks popped off at the testing time so they only counted the weight to that point. Otherwise, the frame held twice the weight that the engineers counted before the bridge broke" by Samuel.