From our scan, we decided on a focus and made some hunches. We collectively decided that we need to explore learning opportunites for our students that continue to focus on developing thinking skills, but also align with student's passions and interests. We asked our staff: "how can we make learning more personalized for our students while still focusing on the core subjects of reading, writing and math. This question has created curiousity around the benefits of multigrade classrooms, integrated, exploratory and expeditionary studies. A team of teachers and administrators has since travelled to Vancouver to tour Norma Rose Point- an innovative school on the UBC endowment lands.Please follow the link for more information about the school and its philosophy: http://go.vsb.bc.ca/schools/normarosepoint/Pages/default.aspx or visit https://rosafazio.com/norma-rose-point-school/
Here are some photos we collected on our visit.
The above shows one of the primary learning communities. Their inquiry project was about birds and the teaching community follows Reggio's teaching around space as the third teacher.
The above image shows their medicine wheel, contextually based in place. It follows the teaching of their First Nation band and anchors all learners in that community with the four pillars of the local First Nation community. Students all contribute to the visual representation of their beliefs as a learning community.
The above rubric serves as a road map for the school in their future planning. They use the seven principles of learning to meet learner needs.
The above image, shows the planning board of one of the primary learning communities. As a Professional Learning Community, the teachers and support staff sit down regularly each week to determine their various roles to support student learning. The teachers authentically engage in collaboration everyday to improve teaching and learning for their students.
In this school, there is a Kindergarten Learning Community, a Grade 1-3 community, Grade 4-5 learning community and a 6-8 Learning Community. From our visit,we learned innovative ways to design teaching and learning for our students to harness their interests and passions as well a grow their core competencies. We explored strength-based reporting of student learning and collected data to inform decision making at our school. One of our favourite quotes shared with us at Norma Rose, from Rosa, the school principal was the quote from Nelson Mandela that states: "Let the choices you make be based on your hopes, not your fears." This is a mantra for them at their school as they engage in teaching practices that reflect the kinds of learning environments they hope will be the best for their students. They believe strongly in the OECD's 7 Principles of Learning and have centred their school around this research:
With this in mind, they have developed multi-grade classrooms and with the redesigned curriculum and created learning opportunities for students that meet all 7 of the reccommended principles. We have spent time as a school reviewing the research and many of our classes have decided to work together next year in learning communities.