Archive for the ‘french immersion’ Category

primary teachers study group: inquiry in science

Posted on: April 17th, 2016 by jnovakowski

In its thirteenth year, the Richmond Primary Teachers Study Group chooses a focus each year to guide their professional collaborative inquiry. This year, building on the focus on inquiry in BC’s redesigned curriculum, teachers wanted to investigate inquiry across curriculum areas and we’ve chosen one curriculum area as a focus for each term, with the second term focusing on science.

We did an overview of the science curriculum framework on the BC curriculum website, paying particular attention to the curricular competencies.

Anticipating (or hoping for) some winter weather, we shared some “winter books” that might inspire students to ask questions about the season, particularly during time outside.

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This term we have four picture books to inspire inquiry in science – The Story of Snow: The Science of Winter’s Wonder by Mark Cassino, Over and Under the Snow by Kate Messner, Flashlight by Lizi Boyd, and Stella, Queen of the Snow by Marie-Louise Gay. The whole Stella series of books is excellent for modelling curiosity and asking questions, as Stella’s little brother is full of questions!

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One of the articles we referred to that outlines a grade 3 teacher’s yearlong journey with inquiry is the following article from the NSTA journal Science and Children:

Inquiry Takes Time

The teacher/author describes three inquiry projects moving from structured to guided to open inquiry.

As a group, we co-constructed some inquiry-based experiences for our students and then shared how these went with our students at the next session. Unfortunately, we only had one very light dusting of snow this winter so teachers will be saving the snow books for next year!

Many teachers used the Flashlight book to use the structure “what do you notice? what do you wonder?” and to inspire students to play with and investigate the properties of light, darkness and shadows.

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Our second session of the term was hosted in Louesa’ K classroom at Thompson as she usually has a science/nature provocation table…

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Louesa shared some science inquiry projects she had been doing with her Kindergarten students, including looking closely at frost and noticing trees in their local environment.  Students also chose areas of interest to them and some of them engaged together in inquiries into rainbows or dinosaurs.

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As the weather warmed up, students have found worms and snails outside and have had lots of questions – Sharon and Stephanie have started inquiries with their students beginning with their questions about worms and snails. Louesa and her K students have been discussing “How are living things in our community connected to one another?” beginning with considering how to bring “life” into their classroom and what that living thing might need.

Many of the teachers’ science inquiries are very much focused on connecting to place, which will overlap nicely with our group’s third term focus on inquiry in social studies.

~Janice

google expeditions at Homma

Posted on: March 16th, 2016 by jnovakowski

Peter Ritchie, a grades 6&7 teacher at Homma, organized a visit to his school from Google Expeditions. Anna and her Google Expeditions car along with two class sets of 3D viewers with phones (Google Cardboard). Classes each were scheduled for a half-hour time slot to go on a virtual field trip. The classroom teachers chose their field trip based on the class’ current units of study – Ancient Egypt, the Coral Reef, the Moon.

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Chris Loat, Gordon Powell and I were asked to be some extra sets of hands for the day and it was such a great experience. The students had so much fun and were screaming out in excitement, often having troubles sitting still and wanting to move around (which is a bit of a safety issue when you have viewers covering your eyes) and the students were often reaching out with their hands to touch things they saw in their 3D viewers. The teacher uses an app on a tablet to choose what students are seeing, although students can move their heads to see a 360 degree view of the location. The teacher can also pause the screen and click on different notes on his or her tablet to read aloud or explain to the students. Many of the teachers used the What do you notice? and What do you wonder? frame to engage students and to continue the experience back in their classrooms.

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A video of our morning together can be viewed HERE.

~Janice

 

~Janice

Science Jam 2016

Posted on: March 2nd, 2016 by jnovakowski

SJ 2016 logoThe Richmond School District is celebrating its thirteenth year of Science Jam, a featured event of Education Week.

Science Jam is BC’s largest non-competitive science fair, bringing together students in grades 4-7 from across our district to share their science inquiry projects. This year students from 11 schools participated choosing to do projects under three broad themes – environmental sustainability, going local and looking at the redesigned curriculum.

IMG_2732Two French Immersion students from William Bridge Elementary conducted the opening ceremonies with welcoming words from our mayor and superintendent, introduced our board of school trustees and honoured the event’s sponsors.

 

 

 

Science World started off Science Jam with a *bang* with a science surprises show.

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And then it was time for our district’s young scientists to share their projects with “celebrity scientists”, parents, community members and each other.

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A video with highlights of the event can be viewed HERE.

~Janice

intermediate storytelling at Homma

Posted on: February 20th, 2016 by jnovakowski

I visited two classes at Homma Elementary in February to introduce oral storytelling using materials to inspire stories that consider the First Peoples Principles of Learning.

Carrie Bourne and her grades 4&5 French Immersion students have been using loose parts to represent ideas. We combined their collection of loose parts with a table full of natural materials and fabrics to create story settings, paying attention to the big ideas of self, place and the power of story. We first came together in a circle and the students shared some of their thinking about stories. We discussed big ideas around immigration (a focus of what they were studying in Social Studies) and made connections to books they have been reading about Indian Residential Schools, like Shi-shi-etko by Nicola Campbell (which is available en francais). Students shared their ideas about coming, going, leaving, arriving, connecting and dis-connecting with a focus on place. Students could choose to work by themselves or with a partner, as they created stories, inspired by the materials.

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After about an hour of the class circle and creating their stories, we asked the students to share their stories with another classmate or partnership. As students orally “rehearse” their stories, they are playing with ideas and language, synthesizing the theme or message their story. The students then captured their story using iPad technology by taking still photographs and using the app 30Hands to orally narrate their stories.

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Here are two video clips students practicing their stories:

Shi-shi-etko 

Grades 4&5 story

And here are some of the students’ stories that the captured using 30Hands and then posted to their Fresh Grade portfolios:

Grade 4&5 EFI Homma – place

Grade 4&5 EFI Homma – transition

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In Peter Ritchie’s grades 6&7 classroom, we began by watching a short video of Dr. Jo-Ann Archibald telling the story of Lady Louse (can be found HERE). We asked the students to pay attention to her storytelling technique and the students shared their observations about how she used her hands, varied the use of her voice and how she repeated the theme or message of the story in different ways throughout the story. They also noted how the story didn’t have a typical resolution in stories like they are familiar with, but left you thinking.

Peter had collected various plants and mosses from his brother’s property in Squamish and the students used these along with various other materials to create settings for their stories. We discussed the importance of creating an authentic environment and if they were using animals in their stories, to consider the place of the animal within the ecosystem.

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sharing our worldMany of the students were aware of animals portraying values or metaphors in stories from different cultures and we referred to the book Sharing Our World, for students to consider animals they might want to include in their stories. Possibly inspired by the materials presented them,  many of the students’ stories involved environmental themes. I noticed the students at this age (and also very fluent with using iPad technology) were  focused on creating detailed settings and used different camera angles and backgrounds to make sure there weren’t distracting items or people in their photos. As with Carrie’s class, they used the 30Hands app to load their photos and narrate their stories.

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The following are some of the students stories:

The Story of the Fox

Appreciate What You Have

Listen to Elders – The Hike

On the February 19th professional development day, the staff led a morning of looking at teaching and learning through the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and storytelling with materials was something that the staff engaged in themselves.

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I’m looking forward to hearing many more stories from Homma Elementary!

~Janice

 

elementary math focus afternoon: January 18 2016

Posted on: January 26th, 2016 by jnovakowski

On the afternoon of January 18, we hosted staffs from eleven elementary schools at Byng Elementary for our second Elementary Math Focus Afternoon of the year. About 160 educators attended an opening presentation followed by a choice of several concurrent sessions, over two time slots.

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Schools were also asked to bring something to share by putting it out on display in the gym – something new we were trying and received positive feedback from schools staffs about.

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Sessions available to teachers included kindergarten programming, supporting all learners in mathematics, screencasting using iPad technology, high yield routines, mental mathematics, inquiry and geometric thinking.

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During the second time slot, we also tried an “EdChat” format where teachers came together around an area of interest (primary, French Immersion, etc) with a facilitator and were asked to bring something to share that they have tried since our last focus afternoon or a question that they had. This collaborative type of participatory professional learning is new to some teachers in our district and we will continue to think of ways to nurture this structure in future events.

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As always, we ended the afternoon with teachers discussing with each other what they were going to try in their classrooms, connected to the redesigned curriculum and of course, there were draw prizes!

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~Janice

playful storytelling project

Posted on: November 23rd, 2015 by jnovakowski

We are into our third year of a playful storytelling project that focuses on the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Blog posts about the first two years of the project can be found by clicking on the QTL category in the right side bar. The first year of the project was part of a Ministry initiative looking at Quality Teaching and Learning and since then it has been a district-based project. This year we have added three new schools – Debeck, Tomsett and Bridge, to bring the number of schools involved up to ten. Each school has a team of primary teachers, and often a teacher-librarian or learning resource teacher, that are engaging in professional learning and classroom-based experiences.

The goals of the project focus on creating opportunities for oral storytelling experiences in primary classrooms, with connections to place through the use of local natural materials and local plant, animals and stories. We also explore the language of place with the language of the place where we now live, work and go to school being the language of the Musqueam people – hən̓q̓əmin̓əm̓.

Teachers new to the project along with members from our Aboriginal Success Team joined Marie Thom and I on the afternoon of October 27th for a lunch together, an introduction to the goals of the project, some gifts of materials and resources and time to plan together.

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School teams received baskets of materials and resources from Strong Nations, Native Northwest, FNESC and story baskets from ThinkinEd.

Diefenbaker teachers Kelly Hinks and Michelle Hikida, who have been involved in the project since the first year, shared some ideas and experiences from their classrooms and shared what they have learned and gained from being involved in the project. Both teachers commented that they both have more confidence teaching with Aboriginal content and through the First Peoples Principles of Learning and that this has come with increased knowledge and rich professional learning experiences as part of this project. They have also noticed increased awareness in their students of our local Aboriginal communities and high engagement in storytelling experiences.

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We are looking forward to documenting lots of wonderful stories being created in Richmond classrooms and are using the hashtag #sd38story to share on Twitter.

-Janice

elementary math focus afternoon: September 28

Posted on: October 14th, 2015 by jnovakowski

On the afternoon of September 28, about 220 educators from 15 Richmond elementary schools converged upon Steves Elementary for our first of two elementary math focus afternoons.

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After an overview of current updates to the redesigned curriculum in mathematics and some thoughts to connect us as we work together, there were many sessions for teachers to choose from during two “break-out” times. Each sessions focused on at least one of the key aspects of the redesigned curriculum such as Big Ideas, a core competency or the First Peoples Principles of Learning. All of the sessions were facilitated by Richmond teachers – math mentor teachers, teacher consultants and some of the teachers from Steves.

Here is a link to the program for the afternoon and an overview of the sessions provided:

Elementary Math Focus Afternoon Sept 28 sessions

Please contact the presenters or myself through Richnet if you are interested in more information.

Three professional resources that were recommended throughout the afternoon are:

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We have a growing number of educators in Richmond becoming active on twitter. Any tweets tagged with the hashtag #sd38math for the day are archived HERE through Storify.

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Some of the resources shared during the afternoon:

introduction_math Aug 2015 – Introduction to BC Math Curriculum, K-12

whatsnew_math – What’s New in Math, K-9

BCAMT BasicNumberFacts1 – BCAMT pamphlet for parents on basic facts

The Sum What Dice Game Jan2013 – Sum What Dice Game

FH final Turtle Pond coding – Fred Harwood’s coding resources

Financial Literacy primary resources – Primary Financial Literacy Resources (QR codes)

High-Yield Routines September 2015 – High Yields Routines, SD38, K-8

We are hoping that this afternoon was a great launch for the school year, especially for the 17 Richmond elementary schools that have math as a school goal or professional learning focus. We all know that an afternoon like this can be inspiring and teachers take away ideas to use in their classrooms but professional learning takes time. At the end of the day, we asked teachers to turn to each other and commit to trying one or more new ideas that they heard about during the afternoon. We hope that teachers will continue the conversation we began by sharing what they are trying on twitter, through blog posts or conversations at their schools so that we can make our professional learning visible and learn from each other.

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Looking forward to the second event on January 18th!

~Janice

I can see shapes at Anderson

Posted on: March 15th, 2014 by jnovakowski

Continuing our collaborative inquiry on ways to enhance students’ communication in mathematics, the kindergarten and grade 1 teachers at Anderson were introduced to the Book Creator app for the iPads last week.

IMG_0787I worked in four classes on Monday morning, beginning each class by showing the students the wordless book Shapes, Shapes, Shapes by Tana Hoban. The students could describe the shapes they saw in the photographs en francais if they were in the early french immersion kindergarten class or using English if they were in the other classes.

Next, I demonstrated how to take photographs with the iPad and the students were naturals! They each took a photograph of something in their classroom that had a shape of interest in it.

The students them worked in groups of 3 or 4 to then learn how to use their photographs and their voices to create an ebook using the Book Creator app. They were SO excited to hear their voices when we played back the narration they recorded for each page.

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The ebooks can be emailed and shared as epub files and published on the iPads and iooks but I have yet to figure out if there is a way to embed this kind of file in a blog post. I can embed the photos for you but hearing the students’ voices is priceless. For example, when flipping the pages through the ebooks, you will see a little audio icon in the middle of the page, like in the following photograph. When you click on the icon, the recorded narration plays.

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I made a short video of me viewing both french and english versions of the books through iBooks:

I can see shapes – English

I can see shapes – French

For young children, I think this is a great use of the iPad technology, using both the camera and audio recording features. The students “read” their books over and over again. Not one student hesitated in recording his or her voice…so this is an engaging way to nurture oral language use and to capture students’ language development.

~Janice

 

ways to make 5 in kindergarten

Posted on: January 16th, 2014 by jnovakowski

On Monday I spent my morning at Anderson in four of the kindergarten classes, both neighbourhood programs (Laura Daitz, Miran Lo and Shelina Rajani-Shakar) and an Early French Immersion class (Shannon Fitzpatrick). The early primary teachers at Anderson are working on a collaborative inquiry project this year looking at developing their students’ communication of mathematical thinking, including the use of math journals.

In each class we set up tables with different math materials and one table with five of the school’s iPads. After a short lesson on different way to “make 5” the students rotated through the table tasks in groups, showing different ways to make five and “reading the math”.

For example, this student read her groups of yellow and red discs as 4 and 1, 2 and 1 and 2 and the last row as 2 and 1 and 2.

I have learned not to make quick assumptions and asked this student to explain why some of her glass beads were not in groups of five. If you look carefully, you can see that she has used the beads to represent the equation 3 + 2 = 5 in the top section of her work mat. Miran Lo’s class is a K/1 class and some of the students included math equations in their representations.

For all four classes, this was the first time the students had used the iPads at school. As part of the short lesson at the beginning of each class, after showing ways to make five with a material, I then showed them how they could use the Doodle Buddy app on the iPads to represent apps. The students learned how to find the app, open it and use different drawings tools, change colours, use the stamps and then save and share their work. The students were asked to represent 5 in at least two ways.

The students were so excited to use the iPads for math and the teachers all commented on they could see how easily the iPads could be incorporated into their math programs. The teachers received the students’ work in their email inboxes and these images can be printed and included in the students’ math journals or embedded in newsletters or class websites.

~Janice

math screencasting in intermediate EFI classes

Posted on: October 2nd, 2013 by jnovakowski

On Tuesday, I visited Mme. Bird’s Grades 4/5 Early French Immersion class and Mme. Trewin’s Grades 6/7 Early French Immersion class at Bridge Elementary. Both classes had been learning about algebraic thinking and we used math materials and the Doceri app on the school’s iPads for students to communicate their mathematical thinking en francais.

The Grades 4 & 5 students thought of a pattern rule (ie. + 5) and the Grades 6 & 7 students thought of an algebraic expression (ie. 2n + 3) and then represented their increasing patterns using math materials. They then took a photograph of their patterns and opened the photo in the Doceri app. Using the app the students explained their pattern and created a chart or table using both the drawing features and the audio recording features of the app. The students were then able to play back their screencast to check it  over and then save it to the camera roll on the iPad.

Screencasting in mathematics is an excellent way to capture students oral explanations of their mathematical thinking, an essential element of our mathematics curriculum in BC.

Linked HERE  is a short Animoto video of some of the students from these two classes.

I also used the Vine app to capture the students’ french language use while they were screencasting and posted these clips to Twitter. If you go to twitter.com and search the hashtag #sd38mathandscience you will be able to view the Vine video clips we shared with the world!
~Janice