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ConnectEd Canada 2013

Registration Opens and a Call for Discussion Facilitators
The details are coming together for the second ConnectEd Conference. The discussion proposals that have been submitted so far have us very excited about round 2. We are looking for more proposals, please don’t leave it too late. We would rather have a tentative outline of a discussion now while we plot the schedule. We will be in contact with you for a more detailed description to print in the program early in the new year. The list of discussions from 2012 can be found at:

Using Infographics with Student Learning Plans

Calgary Science School students have been learning more about themselves this year with their Student Learning Plans (SLP's). During the learning strategies time in the schedule, classes have been discussing their personal learning styles and work habits. The information gathered through surveys, quizzes, conversations and observations are adding up. We needed a way to encapsulate this information into a summary that the student can reflect upon and share with teachers and family.

Infographics have been popping up for some time now online and in the news. These graphics are a great way to present information in an easy to understand and visually engaging way.

The Struggle to be an Instructional Leader

Darrell Lonsberry Principal

I don’t know that there can be any debate that the primary responsibility of school administrators is to provide sound instructional leadership. Certainly, this aspect of administration is recognized in the Alberta Professional Practice Competencies for School Leaders. Our own superintendent, Dr. Garry McKinnon discussed the importance of this aspect of school leadership in a previous blog post. Additionally, I haven’t yet met a school administrator who doesn’t want to make a positive difference in the quality of teaching and learning in their school through working directly with teachers. With all of the reasons why school administrators must be focusing on providing sound instructional leadership, there continues to be significant restrictions and limitations in place that often prohibit leaders from realizing their potential as instructional leaders. I suffer that same sense of frustration from time to time as the Principal of the Calgary Science School.

Grade 8 Light and Optical Systems

Mission Impossible

Our grade 8's have been trying to avoid our motion detectors this week in their study of how light is reflected, transmitted and absorbed by different materials. Our school has several motion detectors as a part of our alarm system, the students were challenged by their teachers to avoid detection. A motion detection light was also mounted in their classroom for testing.

Using the scientific process, students hypothesized what movements or materials would enable them to get close enough to the treasure (candy) without the motion light being triggered. Each pair of students had to devise and submit at least 3 different hypotheses and test them.

National Philanthropy Day

On November 15, 2012 the Calgary Science School grade 9 students, along with the grade 8 ‘Me to We’ elective students, were invited to participate in the National Philanthropy Day Youth Forum in the Palomino Room at Stampede Park. This generous invitation was extended by the Association of Professional Fundraisers who also organized a simultaneous luncheon for Calgary’s philanthropic community to highlight and celebrate the generosity of our city’s many benefactors.

Inquiring into Plant Growth and Changes in Grade 4

Amy Park and Deirdre Bailey

Earlier this year we had a pretty cool opportunity to connect with Mount Royal University professor Dr. David Bird to co-present on Plant Growth and Changes for the Calgary Science Network. We were most eager for an opportunity to ask Dr. Bird what one one thing he wished his university students came in with that we might be able to foster in elementary school. His answer was unhesitatingly curiosity. He wished his students arrived at university with a desire, confidence and ability to ask scientific questions. Overwhelmingly, many of them arrived reluctant to explore, preferring instead to wait for instructions on what to think or how to deliver in order to "pass the course".

Launch of the Imperial Oil Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics Initiative

Dr. Garry McKinnon

Dennis Sumara, dean of the Faculty of Education at the University of Calgary, talks with Grade 4 student Sasha Longley, left, as Bruce March, chairman and CEO of Imperial Oil talks with Grade 4 student Owen Leveille, right, during their science class at the Calgary Science School after Imperial Oil and the University of Calgary announced a major partnership.
Photograph by: Leah Hennel , Calgary Herald

One of the 16 descriptors of Exemplary Teaching in the Calgary Science School makes reference to a research focus where classrooms are thriving places of active research and teachers and students are learning together and from each other. Another descriptor highlights a focus on inquiry where students and teachers explore real-life questions to develop a better understanding of our world. These two descriptors and several others in the exemplary learning and teaching frameworks were very much in evidence on November 6 when some very special guests came to the school for the launch of the $2.5 million Imperial Oil Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics initiative (IOSTEM) in partnership with the University of Calgary. The members of the Calgary Science School community were very pleased to host the official launch of this exciting initiative.

Spelling with Substance

Mike Neufeld

As a teacher in an inquiry based school, I thoroughly enjoy approaching the curriculum with students in a manner that accommodates flexibility and open-ended exploration. This manifests itself easily in larger, inquiry-based projects, yet I always find that I ask myself, “What does Inquiry look like for smaller, day to day lessons?” With this in mind, I was curious as to how I might take spelling beyond rote memorization of lists and paragraphs and into something that was more individualized for the diverse students in my classroom.

Envisioning Exemplary Collaboration at CSS

Ivy Waite

Here at CSS, we are privileged in our school’s approach to collaboration and the time that we are given to work together. The inclusion of collaboration in the Exemplary Teaching and Learning frameworks is not just another indicator. Collaboration is at the heart of the amazing things that happen at CSS. That being said, the actual, lived experiences of collaboration are vastly different from one teaching team to the next. Teachers do, however, seem to agree that relationships are key to successful collaboration, and evaluating such dynamic processes is difficult.