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Physical Education - Professional Networking Day

The Calgary Science School is hosting a PD day for Physical Education teachers who work at Calgary Charter and Private Schools on Friday September 24, 2010.

We feel that much of our work as PE teachers is in isolated and unique situations - whether it is the actual physical building, the location of our school, the mandate/philosophy of our respective schools and so on. We feel there are few opportunites for PE teachers to meet and share their practices, particularly amongst teachers at private and charter schools. We also feel that each of us possesses experience and teaching resources that might be of benefit to other PE teachers.

With that in mind, we are inviting any interested PE teachers to join us on September 24th for a day of professional development. We are viewing this day as a way for our PE teachers to share what they do in their PE programs and how they do it, as well as a way for our teachers to create a professional network. The Calgary Science School will host this event; however the purpose is to allow for presentations from any attendees.

Presentations can range from particular approaches to PE units, coaching, to healthy school initiatives, etc. Or it could also be as simple as an overview of the unique situation and challenges your particular PE program faces. Teachers could also bring issues or problems they are currently facing, using this networking day as a way to receive assistance or spark discussion amongst the attendees. Again, the purpose of this day is to share elements of our practice and in return, leave the day with new resources and contacts.

Regarding the presentations, we are hoping that teachers will present for around 30 mins each. We have facilities for both active (demonstrating a particular game or technique) as well as lecture/discussion (Powerpoint, etc) style presentations. We will provide projectors and internet access for those who require it.

CSS will broadcast Mayoral forum for Calgary Schools

The Calgary Science School and Youth Can Vote 2010 ( are partnering to host a panel discussion, providing an opportunity for the Calgary Mayoral candidates to speak with students across the city.
This 90 minute Mayoral panel discussion will be held at the Calgary Science School (5915 Lewis Drive SW) and will be broadcast on the Internet, allowing a wide range of Calgary schools to join in. During the live panel, grade 9 students at the Calgary Science School will host the event at the school and present questions prepared for the panel. At the same time, the event will be broadcast using Ustream ( to allow students and teachers from schools across Calgary to watch and respond with real-time questions.
The link for the live broadcast will be made available on this site the day of the event.
The purpose of the event is to help students understand the impact that political decision making has on the lives of citizens. As part of this exploration, Calgary Science School students will be examining the role that media, particularly social networking and digital media, play in the campaigning process.
To help our students connect with the world of political campaigns, we are hoping to have numerous Mayoral candidates respond to issues such as:
  • Local issues (with a particular focus on issues affecting young people )
  • The use of social media and technology in the political process
  • Engaging young people in local politics
  • Young people’s perception of Calgary
  • The motivation behind their decision to run for Mayor
We are still finalizing the times and details of the event, but we're looking at Sept 22 or 23rd for the event. It will take place during typical school hours, either 10-12am or 1-3pm.

In addition to allowing students and teachers to pose questions through Ustream during the live broadcast we would love to gather questions for the candidates from a number of schools before hand. Please comment below if you are interested in sending in questions for the candidates - or just post your questions below.

If you are a teacher at a Calgary school and would like more information about this project, please comment below. We welcome feedback and suggestions as we plan this event.

We will continue to post updates about this opportunity as they are finalized over the next few weeks.

What we've learned about Digital Portfolios

Last year we moved our Fine Arts courses away from traditional report cards and onto digital portfolios as the primary form of assessment.

Moving 600 kids onto portfolio based-assessment was a massive undertaking for our Fine Arts teams, and they did a commendable job of embracing the possibilities of these digital tools.

The Fine Arts team, with the support of our administration, was given time throughout the year to wrestle with the move to digital portfolios, including the creation of one unified rubric.

This video captures the story of our first year of the project. We're so excited about the learning from the first year, and have already started our second year of the initiative with new ideas and enthusiasm.

If you have any questions or feedback about our move to portfolio-based assessment, please comment below.

Podcasting Mathematical Understanding

Last year our grade 8 math teachers held a math fair with their students, supported by the Galileo Educational Network. Students were introduced to a number of classic mathematical problems and brainteasers, and were allowed to choose what medium would best represent their solutions.

The Galileo site has a number of resources on math fairs, including lists of problems, and three different rubrics (here, here and here).

This student-created video solution was a response to the Babushka Squares problem. This video is exceptional in it's clarity and depth. The student skillfully uses the medium of video (made on iMovie) to demonstrate how powerful student voice can be in demonstrating understanding in core curriculum areas:

A Deeper Focus on Teacher Collaboration

The 2010/2011 school year means the introduction of a number of new initiatives at the Calgary Science School. It is our plan to share these new programs in a series of posts over the next few weeks.

Inquiry-based Learning is what we do
Teacher Collaboration how we do it

The first of these new initiatives involves a greater focus on teacher collaboration as the foundation of our school's professional development and teacher growth plan.

Historically at the Science School we have allotted agreat deal of time and resources toward opportunities for our teachers to meet and plan together. Time and time again we have observed how protected and collaborative planning time is foundational to the design of strong inquiry-based work. Teachers need time to brainstorm ideas and create learning experiences that are engaging and build deep understanding of core concepts.

What is Inquiry-based Learning? A Student Perspective

Last June at the end of the school year, the grade 8 students at the Calgary Science School were invited to re-imagine what schools might look like, now and in the future. In groups, students chose educational topics to examine such as assessment, physical space, and the relationships within a school, all designed to give students a voice in how education might be re-imagined.

One group of students used this opportunity to examine the type of teaching and learning at our own school. They wanted to analyze our school-wide focus on inquiry-based learning and so they created and distributed a survey for students and staff. One of the interesting findings that these three grade 8 boys uncovered was that within our school community we have a wide range of definitions and understanding of what inquiry-based learning is.

With that in mind, the boys decided to help bring some clarity to this complex issue. They created a video and a poster of strong examples of inquiry-based projects and have presented their findings to our staff and board of directors.

With that in mind, here's their grade 8 perspective on Inquiry-Based Learning: