Friday, June 3, 2011

As the year winds to a close...

It's been a couple of weeks since my last post, since I have been relying more heavily on email and personal contact as we move into the final hectic weeks of the year. This being my first time going through the year-end process, I'm amazed at the amount of work that has to be done to wrap things up. We have picked up the pace in a few areas of the curriculum, and brought some very interesting ongoing projects to a close. I am participating in an External Review today, so thought I would catch you up on a few things while I'm off for lunch.

We wrapped up our Personal Projects 2 weeks ago, with a grand day of presentations in our classroom. It was a chance for students to showcase all of there hard work, and to see what others had been up to. Although I had been quite involved in the classroom/conceptual side of the project, I hadn't yet seen what students were working on at home. I was, to put it simply, amazed by what I saw. The projects ranged from written texts to movies, with everything in between. There was a Japan-themed boardgame, a model CN Tower, a scale reproduction of the invasion of Utah Beach, and even Viking lemonade!

It was open to the whole school and parents, and the most frequent comment I got was that they were amazed that all students had started off with the same assignment. Each set goals, planned carefully, reflected and altered their ideas when necessary, and ended up with a very cohesive project that was a reflection of their interests, skills and expertise. Since the intent of the project was to maximize the use of students' abilities and differentiate my own assessment models, I think it was a great success. Students and parents embraced the idea, and I look forward to doing it again next year.

We had a great trip to the GEO Centre earlier this week, as an introduction to our final unit in science. We had a great time, and I think that the pace and focus of the lessons they taught had great effect on the kids. So many children in the elementary grades react very well to hands-on learning, and this was no exception. I wish I could do something like this for every unit, since it makes it so easy to reference concepts and topics when they have already seen and manipulated them first-hand.

Lunch is drawing to a close, but I will give a further update and an idea of things to come when I can post again later.

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