March has seen a flurry of activity at Prairie Waters!
- We are about to embark on our first PYP Exhibition at the end of the Month. We’ve held Parent information sessions, we’ve begun talking with the students about what Exhibition is, and what their roles are within it, as well as what are the roles of everyone else around them. We’re tuning them in to issues (local and global) that they are passionate about, that they could potentially take on in their Unit of Inquiry. Through our discussions, we’ve had the students reflect on their initial thinking about the Exhibition. You can read all about what’s going on in the grade 5 classrooms, see pictures documenting their progress leading up to, and throughout the unit, as well as the students’ reflections on our Prairie Waters PYP Exhibition blog. The Transdisciplinary Theme that the Exhibition falls under this year is How We Express Ourselves, and the central idea that the students will be focusing on is Passions and beliefs inspire people to action. If you’d like to come out and spend some time with our grade 5’s over the course of their Exhibition, to see what learning they are engaged in – the invitation is always open! The students are excited about sharing their passions and beliefs with a wider audience than their classroom.
- Our school based Professional Learning day last Friday saw our staff looking more deeply at Conceptual Based Teaching and Learning (check out the previous post in this blog, to see the learning that we were engaged in). It was a highly engaging day, with lots of ‘Ah-ha’ moments and great enthusiasm about the possibilities moving forward in our understanding and application of concept based instruction. My reflections on the day can be found on my personal blog. We also began looking at our whole-school Programme of Inquiry and started conversations about recognizing vertical alignment and construction of concepts, rather than repetition and recycling of the same ideas. A major practice of the PYP is that we provide ample time for our teachers to reflect on, and refine our Programme of Inquiry, to ensure that we are constantly building on students’ conceptual understanding as they move up in the grades, rather than re-doing and revisiting the same thing. While we acknowledge that revisiting concepts in crucial in a students deeper development of understanding, it’s important that we are also building and moving forward, rather than hearing the students say, “we did this already”. The process of fine-tuning our Programme of Inquiry will take some time, but the conversation has started, and we’ll continue working on it as we move forward into the next school year.
- We have been brainstorming the transformation of our library into a learning commons to shift the heart of our school to be more student-centered and flexible. Our committee has met several times to discuss the possibilities, and we’ve invited school staff and students to share their ideas with us as well, by drawing up a blueprint of what they think our learning commons could look like.
- Our final Community of Practice Professional Learning day on Monday saw the majority of our staff engaged in student digital portfolios. The day was an opportunity for teachers to put themselves in the shoes of the students, and try out some of the different web tools and apps available to our students to demonstrate their learning. We understand that reflection and metacognition is an important aspect of a student’s learning journey, and our digital portfolios will be the space where that learning can be captured, documented and reflected upon. It is a key piece in the Communication of Student Learning.
- Solar panels, from the action taken from some of our previous students at Prairie Waters have finally been installed! It is so fantastic to see the action that some of our former students took on, finally coming to fruition and making a difference in the energy use at our school.
Always exciting times at Prairie Waters! Wonder what April holds in store?