Monday, 19 June 2017

One-to-One Reading Volunteers

Seated Left to Right - Liz Archer, Kathy Malmberg, Ingrid Plattmann, Arleyene Farnworth
Standing Left to Right - Leza MacDonald, Linda Hudy, Sonia Mason
Missing: Brenda Zakall
This past Monday, the One-to-One Reading Program volunteers got together to review the year and share their stories.  The overwhelming message from the volunteers was that they enjoyed their time with our students and found significant growth in each child's ability and willingness to read aloud.  Thanks to all of our students who participated in the program.  Special thanks to Sonia Mason who organizes all the training and schedules reading sessions.  We are extremely grateful for our volunteers who made this program a success.

Thursday, 8 June 2017

Butterfly Release


Kelan and Laura Harty Free the Butterflies


Butterfly in the Wild
Several of our students were given Painted Butterfly kits this spring.  The project begins with a plastic container that holds a milky substance in which several small larvae can be seen crawling around.  The larvae eat the substance in the container and grow rapidly into caterpillars.  Eventually, the caterpillars climb to the lid of the container, hang upside down and form a chrysalis (cocoon).  Within a few days, they emerge as butterflies.  The culmination of the project is the release of the butterflies which is capture in the photos above.  We had a kit in our learning centre and it was fascinating to see the daily transformation of the larvae into caterpillars and the caterpillars into butterflies.  Thanks to all students for participating in this project.

Friday, 2 June 2017

YouLearn Yukon Visit

Yukon YouLearn Families in front of the White Pass & Yukon Route Train

This past week, YouLearn teacher Ernie Millward and principal Glen Heinrichs (me) had the privilege of visiting our YouLearn Yukon families.  We enjoyed the tremendous northern hospitality on display at each family home.  Everyone opened up their homes and hearts to us and shared their learning journey of the past year.  We are grateful for the many resources that were returned to us and that everyone is returning to our program next year.  A highlight of the trip was the train ride from Carcross to Fraser with a stopover in scenic Bennett.  Everyone had a great time spending time together and it was an added bonus that we had our own rail car!  It has been our privilege to partner with all of you in your child(ren)'s education.

Monday, 8 May 2017

Drumming Worskshop

Silvy Clarke at the Drumming Workshop in Kelowna


Once again, YouLearn students in the Okanagan (Oliver & Kelowna)were privileged to participate in a drumming workshop led by Bobby Bovenzi.  Bobby lives in School District 53 and is a sought-after drumming workshop leader who travels throughout the province.  Students learned a variety of drumming patterns on a great variety of percussion instruments.  One of the highlights was the re-creation of a frog pond complete with rain, frog calls, and a magic flute.  Bobby makes drumming a great deal of fun and gives everyone the confidence to believe they have rhythm inside them that longs to be let loose.

Sunday, 23 April 2017

Too Early for Post-Secondary?



Recently, my children started migrating home for summer from their post-secondary institutions.  Three of my children are in post-secondary, two of my in-law children are studying and one child and one in-law have completed their post-secondary programs.  It got me thinking about post-secondary.  All of my kids are either in, or have completed, post-secondary programs.  I think there are some obvious reasons why this has happened.  
1.  My wife and I have always valued education and attended post-secondary ourselves
2.  We set up RESP's for them which instituted an expectation that they would go to college
3.  We made course choices in high school which led to post-secondary
I am sure there are many more reasons but I want to encourage all parents that the seeds of post-secondary are sown early.  The years fly by quickly!  Do your best to prepare your kids to have the option of post-secondary when the time comes.  

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Spark: Exercise and the Brain


I recently finished the book Spark.  This book has been on my "need to read" list for a long time and I finally got around to reading it over the Christmas break.  It is a fascinating read and it clearly makes the case that physical activity is not just good for the body, but good for the mind as well.  In fact, the author would argue that physical exercise is crucial for growing your brain.  Physical activity actually increases your brains ability to function and increases its capacity.  As the weather gets nicer, I encourage all of you to get active (parents and students) to benefit your body and your mind.  I would also encourage you to find this book at your local library or buy a copy.  I am sure you will find it very interesting.  

Saturday, 4 March 2017

Celebrating BC Education

Image result for PISA study


The most recent PISA study was recently released (Programme for International Student Assessment).  The study always assesses Math, Reading and Science of 15-year-olds across the globe with a different emphasis on one of the three subjects each time it is administered.  The test takes place every three years. In 2015, the latest administration of the test, the emphasis was Science.  As a country, Canada ranked seventh internationally in Science.  However, if BC were ranked internationally, it would be third (behind only Singapore and Alberta).  In Reading Canada is ranked third internationally while BC is first internationally.  In Math, Canada is ranked 10th internationally while BC is ranked 9th internationally.  As far as the 10 provinces go, BC is first in Reading, and second in Math and Science.  I point this out simply to celebrate the many good things we do as an education system in our province.  If you would like to look at the study more in-depth, go to: http://www.cmec.ca/Publications/Lists/Publications/Attachments/365/Book_PISA2015_EN_Dec5.pdf

Saturday, 25 February 2017

Social Responsibility




The final core competency in the BC ministry's redesigned curriculum is Social Responsibility and also falls under the heading of "Personal and Social".  This competency is comprised of four components:
1. Contributing to Community and Caring for the Environment
2. Solving Problems in Peaceful Ways
3. Valuing Diversity
4. Building Relationships
This competency has a 5-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements range from "With support, I can be part of a group" all the way to "I build and sustain positive relationships with diverse people, including people from different generations".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Social Responsibility competency.  These illustrations can be found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but all serve to illustrate each level of the competency.
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP (click on the triangles).
 

Saturday, 18 February 2017

SEL at YouLearn

YouLearn's Kozy Korner
Our school district has several initiatives in place.  One of the most far-reaching of these is "Social and Emotional Learning" (SEL for short).  I say far-reaching because it spans all schools and all grade levels including YouLearn.  To that end, YouLearn has created a space in our school where students who are struggling with their emotions can find space, time and some tools to help centre themselves.  This space is pictured above.  Some of the items for student use include:
- a mindful board which allows students to draw with water alone
- a small sand box with a small rake to create designs
- detailed colouring books with markers
- a chalk board filled with positive messages
- an electronic photo frame with peaceful scenes and positive messages
- a bubbling, gurgling water feature
- electric candles and plants
- access to an iPad filled with applications that are designed to calm and centre students
- comfortable chairs and headphones
- a CD player with several CD's of nature sounds and soothing music
It is our hope that students find our school to advance them academically as well as emotionally and socially.

Sunday, 12 February 2017

Personal Awareness and Responsibility


I like the image above that intersects self-awareness with self-management to describe self-competence.  This is the aim of the second of three competencies under the heading "Personal and Social". This competency is made up of three parts:1. Self-Determination2. Self-Regulation3. Well-BeingThis competency has a five-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can show a sense of accomplishment and joy" to "I can use strategies to find peace in stressful times".In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Personal Awareness and Responsibility competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Saturday, 4 February 2017

Mindset Makes the Difference

Which mindset do you possess?
A book that has a profound impact on our approach to learning and challenges is Mindset by Carol Dweck.  She contrasts the fixed mindset in which the learner believes their intellect and skills are finite as opposed to the growth mindset which believes that effort and persistence can cause us to exceed expectations.  One of the most important words in developing this mindset is "yet".  Instead of saying: "I can't do fractions!", say: "I can't do fractions YET, but I can try!"  She challenges parents and educators to foster this mindset by praising effort and tenacity, which are viewed as limitless, rather than intelligence and talent, which can be viewed as finite.  
I was sent a video of one of our Yukon students, Anna Gishler, who was competing in gymnastics in Las Vegas.  I am confident she had to have a growth mindset to learn all of her moves.  You can see one of her routines here.  My fixed mindset says I cannot do what Anna does; yet with time, practice, persistence, why not?!  
Have a growth mindset in everything you do and I am sure you will surprise yourself with all you can learn and accomplish.  

Saturday, 28 January 2017

Positive Personal and Cultural Identity


The first competency under the heading "Personal and Social" is title "Positive Personal and Cultural Identity".  As the heading suggests, this competency is highly personal.  Each student has a unique identity which includes many elements.  The goal of this competency is to value the elements that make each child unique and celebrate them.  This competency is made up of three parts:
1. Relationships and Cultural Contexts
2. Personal Values and Choices
3. Personal Strengths and Abilities
This competency has a five-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can describe my family and community" to "I can reflect on my strength and identify my potential as a leader in the community".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the Positive Personal and Cultural Identity competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the green lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. 
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Sunday, 22 January 2017

Yukon Students Making an Impact


Liam Gishler


Two of our Yukon YouLearn students have been making an impact in a couple of significant ways.  
Liam Gishler is a young entrepreneur who has been making and selling a variety of wood products including candle holders, pencil holders and cheese platters.  His work has been featured in a CBC article found here and he was even interviewed on the radio.  Please read the article for more information about Liam's journey.
Liam was inspired by his friend Huxley who did something similar a few years ago and also had a CBC article.  He was dubbed the "wood block king".  In addition, Huxley was reading in a Social Studies book recently and noticed that agriculture in Yukon had been misrepresented on a map.  He wrote a letter to the publisher and received a response letter in which the company states "it certainly seems we presented the wrong information".
Well done, boys.  You are an inspiration!



Sunday, 15 January 2017

Critical Thinking



The third competency falls under the "thinking" category along with creative thinking.  It is called Critical Thinking.  This competency is made up of three components:
1.  Analyze and Critique
2.  Question and Investigate
3.  Develop and Design
This competency has a six-point scale which is described using "I" statements found here.  Statements are as simple as "I can show if I like something or not" to "I can make choices that will help me create my intended impact on an audience or situation".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the critical thinking competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the blue lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency. 
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 6-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.

Monday, 9 January 2017

Yukon YouLearn Year-End Celebration

Sleigh Ride at Dusk

On December 30th, the Yukon YouLearn families gathered for a year-end party.  Thanks to Kim Pearson for organizing this event.  This is her report:
"It was a winter wonderland! A beautiful day for a sleigh ride! Families came from near and far to enjoy some time together in the busy holiday season. The kids did some sledding down the snow hill, roasting hot dogs over the open fire, lots of playing and, of course, the highlight of the day was the horse-drawn sleigh ride through the fields and into the trails. We warmed up in the lodge and enjoyed the cookies and hot chocolate to end the day."

Here are a few more pictures of the event.








Monday, 2 January 2017

Creative Thinking

Creative Thinking
The second core competency of the Revised BC Curriculum is Creative Thinking.  This competency has three main components:
1. Novelty and Value
2. Generating Ideas
3. Developing Ideas
This competency has a 5-point scale which is described using "I" statements using the document found here.  The "I" statements are as simple as "I get ideas when I play" all the way to "I can persevere over years to develop my ideas".
In addition, the ministry is building a repository of examples that illustrate the levels of the creative thinking competency.  These illustrations are found on this page and can be viewed by clicking on the blue lettering.  Some are pictures and some are videos but serve as practical examples that demonstrate each level of the competency.
Once you have explored this competency, why not take some time with your child to make an assessment of where they might fall on the 5-point scale?  Most of you will find these embedded in your PLP.