Thursday, October 22, 2015

BC's New Curriculum - a plan for the middle years

Introduction

As you might have heard, the BC Ministry of Education is in the process of revising the curriculum for all students from grades K-12.  As you can imagine this was a huge undertaking and not without its challenges.
Our local school context is that we have a middle school organized into teams.  Each team has students in grades 6 to 8.  Our goal was to find a way to spread the key concepts over three years and connect science and social studies along with the competencies which include personal and social, communication and thinking skills.

Key Features of Draft Plan

The plan that is shared below is designed to bring together the curricular and learning compentencies.  Teachers will be able to use this a one-page visual guide to assist with planning lessons.  The socials and science plans run in parallel to make is easier for teachers to plan integrated units, teach with themes and big ideas. You'll also notice that the rows below the 'concepts and content' incorporate our school community priorities.

BYOD and Technology Integration - we are a 'Bring Your Own Device' school and most (80%+) of our students have a digital device on a daily basis.  We have adopted two initiatives for this year: FreshGrade student portfolios and Microsoft Office 365 as our collaboration and communication space.

Environmental Connections - the school has an amazing natural setting surrounding the school so it is appropriate to find ways each year to integrate environmental science into the curriculum.  For example this year we will look at the science concepts around survival needs of organisms through the study and observation of our local ecosystem with includes several major, salmon bearing streams.

Sharing of a Draft Plan

Thanks to Barb Buczewski for kicking off this process being willing to share with other teachers.

Feel free to share the plan with others that would find it useful.

Science years ABC plan

Comments and Suggestions?

I fully accept that this draft is a work in progress and revisions are needed.  My hope is by sharing, others will do the same and together we can find ways to engage all our students!  Leave a comment below to join the conversation.

~James

Monday, February 23, 2015

Improving How Your Children Use Technology for Education


Do you ever have conversations with your adolescent child about what they did at school and get little or no information?  It is possible that when you ask them about what they are doing with their personal technology at school you may get even less information.  This might be because children perceive adults of 'not knowing how to use technology'.  While it may be true that children are very capable at tasks like gaming and instant messaging, there are lots that we as adults can offer them.

One of the frameworks that is provided by the BC Ministry of Education is called the ICTI Performance Standards.  This stands for Information and Communication Technology Integration.
"The ICTI Performance Standards focus on four aspects of how students use information and communications technology to gather, organize, and present information and to analyse and interpret information. The emphasis is not on information sources or software applications associated with specific technologies but on the student’s representation of their learning and the steps they used to construct their knowledge."

Here are some questions to consider asking your son or daughter on their use of personal technology at school.  These examples fall under the heading of collecting information and resources.
  • How do you make decisions on how to select the best tool to use?  When is it better to find a print resource or digital resource?
  • How do you know if the information you have selected is accurate and appropriate for the lesson or task at school?
  • Can to work with other students to socially gather and construct information such as surveys or mind-maps?

Consider supporting your son or daughter to help identify their strengths in these performance standards and ways in which they can practice and improve their achievement. 

The ICTi Performance Standards website can be found: http://www.bced.gov.bc.ca/perf_stands/icti


Feel free to share ideas/thoughts/comments below!

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