Monday, 30 November 2015

How do we connect?

We love big questions, and thinking of our interconnected world.  Today, what does it look like to connect with experts when going beyond classroom walls?

This week there have been two examples of classes taking their questions up in ways that weren't available to us not so long ago.

Learners at Healthy Living School at Vivo had a class question they weren't quite able to ask face-to-face so they asked it in a different way:
Learners at Aero Space School at the Aero Space Museum had a similar experience.  Looking at "unseen forces" they weren't quite sure how to interpret some symbolism on artifacts that were grabbing learners' attention:

Do you have an example of how you're able to connect and question differently today because of the learning tools available to us now?

Friday, 27 November 2015

West Springs School Hosts Healthy Living Expo

Grade 4 students at West Springs School began their school year immersed in the ideas of healthy living and habits of mind in preparation for their week at Campus Calgary Healthy Living School at Vivo.  Their innovative teachers Becky Jackson, Lori Braun and Andrew Lawson created a year of inquiry around Art Costa’s 16 Habits of Mind.  Through these, students began to investigate the habits of successful people and in turn became experts on identifying these within themselves and others.

Their weeks at Campus Calgary Healthy Living School matched students with experts to uncover the curriculum. They participated in active breaks with activities that included yoga, DancePlay, swimming and Zumba. Students became advocates for bringing the effect of these back to their school, their family and community. Students also worked alongside experts at Vivo such as Search and Rescue members, a community Police Officer, National Sport School athletes and Panther Physiotherapy Clinic to gain further evidence of the importance of healthy habits.

One class was invited to represent their school and share their generational voice at the Leadership Roundtable 2.0 hosted by Vivo, Mount Royal University and The City of Calgary.  The adult change makers at this event valued and appreciated their expertise and knowledge sharing.  A truly collaborative initiative, student voice was a powerful addition to this event.

The following day, all three classes celebrated with a Healthy Living Expo at West Springs School.  All classes, parents and community were invited to attend to interact with the students and their informational and interactive displays.  The learning continues through the year as students expand on their ways of knowing and application of healthy living choices.

Thursday, 19 November 2015

Universal Children’s Day - November 20th

Did you know on November 20, the world will celebrate children? That’s right! It is Universal Children’s Day, recognized internationally as a reminder of two historic events: the 1959 signing of the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child and the adoption of the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child in 1989. You can check out the following link for a youth friendly format of this important document.

“There are many reasons to celebrate children, but most of all because children deserve to be recognized as important members of our community.
  • All children have the right to an adequate standard of living, health care and to play.
  • All children have the right to express their views about things that affect them and to
    participate in communities, programs and services.
  • All children have the right to be protected from abuse, neglect, exploitation and

    All 3 orders of government in Canada recognize the importance of National Child Day in some way. The City of Calgary is offering many free, fun family events at various locations around the city to celebrate. You can find them on The City of Calgary’s website. Just look up National Child’s Day events!

    This year’s theme for National Child Day is “It’s My Right to Learn. In Canada, every child has the right to attend school. Although some days students would rather not go, there are children in other parts of the world who desperately want to get an education. Watch this video to see just what lengths some children take to get to their schools.

    After watching this video, has your thinking changed?

    Maybe you will decide to more closely examine the UN Declaration of the Rights of the Child or the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. 

    Contributed by Jody Danchuk, City Hall School coordinator

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Monday, 16 November 2015

Teachers' Convention

This year's Calgary City Teachers' Convention is being held February 11th and 12th, 2016.

Campus Calgary / Open Minds is pleased to be providing a number of sessions for Calgary educators.

Planning for 2016/2017?

Are you interested in learning more about Campus Calgary / Open Minds?

Friday, February 12th, join us from 9:00 to 10:15 for a Campus Calgary / Open Minds 101 overview session.  Our overview will remind participants that Campus Calgary/Open Minds is an innovative curriculum based program that moves the classroom into the community for an entire week alongside experts. The experience is a catalyst for learning throughout the year. This session is an introduction to the program to explore possibilities for a variety of contexts, disciplines, and ages.

Are you interested in applying for Campus Calgary / Open Minds in 2016/2017?

Friday, February 12th, join us from 11:00 to 12:15 for What's the Big Idea? A Proposal writing hands-on workshop for Campus Calgary / Open Minds. This working session assists in considering full year big ideas/questions as they relate to program applications. Participants may also consider attending session beforehand for overview of program.

**Our Friday morning sessions are intentionally back-to-back with the conference-wide break in the middle.  This allows you to attend either session or both combined depending on your previous experience.  Both Friday sessions are at our City Hall School classroom in the main atrium of Municipal Plaza, steps away from the Telus Convention Centre.

What's new this year?

Interested in knowing more about Ministerial Order competencies and how learning experiences can be brought alive?

Thursday, February 11th at 1:00pm to 2:15 join us for a rich discussion on Living the Competencies: Dynamic Classroom Experiences.  The competencies in the Ministerial Order impact teaching and learning across disciplines and age groupings. From literacy/numeracy development in younger grades to High School Redesign with more experienced learners, how can we meet the complex and changing needs of learners and classrooms? With Campus Calgary/Open Minds as a potential model and tool, discussions will consider many related possibilities and approaches.

This session is being held at Hyatt Regency Hotel: Neilson 3 (3rd Floor) (700 Centre St S, Calgary, AB T2G 5P6).

Interested in knowing more about local government?

Thursday, February 11th, at 9:00 to 11:45 am join Jody Danchuk, our City Hall School site coordinator, for an all-morning session on Citizenship, Democracy, and Municipal Government.  This session reminds participants that voter turn out is declining. How can we lay the foundation for youth to understand the importance of citizen engagement and participation? This half day session will provide opportunities to learn about municipal governance from those working within The City of Calgary. Resources will be shared supporting teachers to embed local government understanding and engagement within their classrooms.

This session is at our City Hall School classroom in the main atrium of Municipal Plaza, steps away from the Telus Convention Centre.

We hope to see you at this year's convention!

Friday, 13 November 2015

Site Coordinator Collaboration

Values become beliefs become actions.

Campus Calgary/Open Minds has 11 classrooms across Calgary.  Regularly, site coordinators meet to collaborate and share ideas between sites.

This week, coordinators met at Stampede School and discussions evolved into future actions from our previous discussions sharing values related to experiential learning and our dynamic programming.

A key highlight from our discussions was not just seeing the world, but noticing it.  As a team, we feel it is our responsibility to provide learners with the tools to truly notice the world, engaging all our senses, as we consider what makes each site--and our city--unique.

We also considered our attention and learner assessment as a coordinator and teacher team.  We used the first and final minutes of  Demo: The Movie to consider times when our learners' attention is where we intentionally plan it to be--perhaps a candle demonstration as in the film clip--so that our attention can be on them.

"Your beliefs become your thoughts.
Your thoughts become your words.
Your words become your actions.
Your actions become your habits.
Your habits become your values.
Your values become your destiny" --Gandhi
Interesting to have this discussion as we embark on International Day of the Child on November 20th.  What do we value in terms of our children as learners?  How does this translate into belief?

And action?

We look forward to many more rich discussions as we continue to see Campus Calgary/Open Minds evolve and grow.