Friday, May 29, 2015

SLT presentations at RCSS

The afternoon of our PD Day today had each School Learrning Team present what they worked on this school year. At first glance I thought this was going to be a waste of time as I have 101 other things that need to get done. However, at the conclusion of the day I must say that this was a valuable experience to me as a guidance counsellor.  Too often I'm disconnecting from the classroom and don't see what types of pedagogy my colleagues are using on a daily basis. The SLT presentations opened my eyes to what my colleagues are doing and wow, they are doing some amazing things.  From science who is connecting their curriculum to the interests of the students through the use of GAFE tools, Math/numeracy using data to determine what strategies work best to increase grade 9 applied students EQAO scores (spiralling the curriculum, pathway changes, IEP's), English teaching an enriched/AP program at each grade level and working through the challenges and differences associated with this sting and sometimes overachieving students.
Overall, these presentations gave me insight into these program areas and I feel this knowledge will help me better counsel students into appropriate pathways and better explain specific courses.  I look forward to the next batch that will be presented at our staff meeting in 2 weeks. 

Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Google Sympiosium at Resurrection


Rolland Chidiac and Jessica Weber

What's the purpose of technology in education?  is it going 'revolutionize how we teach and what we teach?  Check out this video from veritasium
We are not limited by the experiences we can give to students. What limits learning is what can happen inside the students' heat. That is where the important part of learning takes place. ~Veritasium

The impact of technology integration on student learning has allowed students to be more engaged in the learning process because students are working in/with a medium they use everyday and are  comfortable in...i.e. technology.  Students also feel they have control over their learning as technology gets weaved into pedagogy.  The importance is not to use technology because it's technology but to use technology to help improve pedagogy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

University Dialogue 2015

Phil Hedges from Ministry of Education provided an update from a Student Success Perspective. Below he outlined all the student success initiatives the ministry is funding in Ontario Secondary Schools.  The biggest 'take always' I felt from his presentation are the following. 
- the Key Elements of Student success is what works with one student might not work with another. That's why the ministry has provides lots of different strategies
- The role of the guidance counsellor is to work with students to help them learn the skills to make their own plans. NOT tell them what to do with their life.

Below is listing if student success initiatives. 

5 Year Cohort Graduation rates have increased from 68 to 84% since 2003/2004

Strategies to regain credit.

  •  Full course repeat, summer school, credit recovery.
  •  Majority repeat course, then summer school, credit recovery.
  • Another failure in grade 10 most successful was summer school
Currently 214 secondary schools involved.
76% of school that focused on math saw an improvement.
8000 returned
2788 graduated
Taking some responsibility for their plan and have the confident in their ability to implement it.
Combine multiple courses together
Gr. 5⁄6 students are clients, gr. 11/12 students build apps.
- does not capture accurate data,  need to include apprenticeship, and out of province schools. 
12% of students are involved in coop program.
Disengaged and underachieving students
Footprint 3.7%
Retention 88%
Success 88%
Post secondary conversion: 31% applied to college two years later of those 82% registered.
Growth of 8 sectors to 19 sectors
600 to 44000 students
Footprint 12%
How are Universities supporting acknowledging SHSM
46% of crown wards graduated high school.
  - fact access
  - early identification  

School support initiative.
Targeted support to selected secondary schools

Achievement gap between applied and academic are doing in EQAO math 42% to 38% from 2009-2014 Gap is increasing in literacy 35-44%
Re Engagement Initiative 12 & 12+ 16000 contacted

Creating Pathways to Success Education and Career life planning program
Goal is to leave high school with a PLAN.
Expansion of experiential learning
help kids connect learning in the classroom to learning outside the classroom. teach student what reflection is and how to use it to deepen their learning.
Pilot projects

Transition rates from secondary to college / University

Coop Footprint

Dual Credits

Specialist High Skills Major

Pathways to apprenticeship OYAP participants 24849

Children and Youth in Care\

Mental health and addictions strategy priorities
  - Help for vulnerable children and youth with unique needs 

Monday, May 11, 2015

Catholic Education Week

Last week was Catholic education and I had the pleasure of participating in a number of activities at a Resurrection. Topics and events included silent Christian meditation, Daily prayer over the announcements, Speaker Sister Miriam, full school mass with Father Ted Hughes.  The ultimate theme and message I took away from the entire week was that about living the Gospel.  Too many times we as Catholics preach and talk a lot about what people should be doing and how they should living their lives as Catholics. The more important message to portray is one through action. Each of us should be living the gospel in our own lives and treating others with the respect and dignity they deserve. Catholicism should not be about acting out of fear because you are afraid of going to hell or because of the wrath of God but out of love for one another and an undying willingness to serve others.

Friday, May 8, 2015

Education on Air - Google Conference

What are the skills of the future?

21st Century skills are an important part of our job force today and for the future. Critical thinking, creativity, Communicating and Collaboration are key.

Source: Economist Intelligence Unit

Collaboration could be one of the most important skills to students because it mimics real life situations in the work force. Almost ever job people need to collaborate and bring their strengths to the table to complete a project/task.
It's also important to teacher students that Failure is okay. That is how we learn and grow as people. Failure cannot be seen as a negative.
memorization is not a key skill any more because information is at everyone's fingertips.  The important skill is to utilize that information and what you do with it.

Traits are also very important, traits like adaptability and flexibility

Monday, May 4, 2015

Google Hangouts in the clasroom

I had the opportunity to help facilitate a google hangout with Suzanne Smart's Grade 11 english class and Castleberry High School in Fortworth Texas.

To prep the students we had 2 class to class hangouts where the entire class spoke with the entire class at Castleberry.  With all new things there were some challenges that occurred.  The first hangout we tried with a chromebook, however, the audio was not very good and it was difficult to hear them and they could barely hear us.  The second hang out we used a USB webcam with a built in microphone. This helped the audio tremendously, however, we still had students sit in front of the webcam when they wanted to speak.
The hangout was set up with predetermined questions surrounding the play Macbeth to prompt the students for discussion topics. The grade 12's at Castleberry provide the prompting questions for both hangouts.  Students were receptive to speaking online and validating their ideas.  Some students were obviously shy about being on camera and others enjoyed the limelight.
Our final google hangout was set up with each student having their own chromebook and a partner student from Castleberry to discuss their Macbeth essay with.  In the days before the hangout the students created a shared google doc with their partner where they could commit and share ideas about the essay.  As we attempted to connect the students to each other through hangouts we ran into multiple challenges, some students were able to connect and beign chatting almost immediatly, others had to rely on the google doc to chat as the hangout was not connecting, and some students had no one at the other end (their partner was absent) - which was easily rectified by pairing them up with another student.

Overall the student were engaged in the conversations with their peers from Castleberry, chatting about their essay amongst other 'teenage' topics like upcoming prom and dresses.   Overall I think the concept of realizing that sometimes technology doesn't work exactly the way you want it to and letting the kids know that we need to problem solve the issue together and not let them see you get frustrated or stressed is an important take away form this exercise.  The experience was exciting as technology helps implement 21st Century learning skills into the classroom.

Monday, April 27, 2015

On the Rise K-12 Conference

On The Rise K-12 Conference

Keynote - Jessica Holmes

Take a look a all areas of your life. Should you be doing something different/better in an a specific area.  Be careful not to let all the areas in your life get 'low' you need a balance.

Who do you admire, 3 people? think of one quality that you admire for each person.
Willingness to help
Respect (for all to move forward.)

Tragedy + Time = Comedy (Character Building, Learn from it)

Get rid of Toxic people in your life!
Get an emotional divorce from them, don't worry about having them like you, get on their good side.
Don't focus on the areas we are not good.
Don't try to repair the areas we are not good at. Focus on the areas we are strong at.
Perspective can shift when on the offensive and not the defensive.
Start with small changes and you will see your outlook become broader.

Take chances in life to broaden your hoirzons.

Google vs. D2L Session
Log into google and D2L

Google - creativity and collaboration
D2L - Organization and management

Slide shows - enable commenting so students can comment.
Collaborate on google docs.

Branches of information
Benefits for students
- break down information (identify core concepts and relationship between concepts)
- power of mind map lies not in the map itself, but in the process of creating it.
- Supports inquiry based learning

Guidance, spec ed, SST uses to share information and increase Communication
Communication and collaboration within department and within school.

Tweet as a means of communication.
 Communication for students, staff, parents.
- understand social media to be able to teach to students.
Careers class,
Follow both local and global businesses
Summarize careers articles (140 characters)
May lead to business leaders wiling to commit to a 10 minute interview on twitter, could lead to SKYPE
Example game designers - come up with predetermined questions put on projector as twitter conversation occurs.

Remind - Sends text message to anyone who signs in.
Communicate Community service hours.
Students need to opt in.

How do you determine what goes out on Twitter vs. Remind

Use forms to collect info. transition meetings, SSR's, track back end support for students suspended, exit cards for graduating students, share strategies for specific students.
Be sure to share Positive information too!!

How to videos - Read CCS, Couirse selection, college/university applications

Engaging Parents with Brightspace(D2L)
Parents can get notifications for courses via email
Auditor tool connects multiple users (family members) to account
Driving student and parent access in the system to access announcements, learning activities, and assessment feedback.

Parent has their own credentials to log in.
Can see daily activities, reminders, news, calendar.
Access student progress (evaulations, assessments)
Email teachers.
View ePortfolio artifacts.

How to set up 
- Create Parent Role
- set up desired permissions
Enrol parents in courses of their students
Enrol them is specific board courses.

Establish Auditor - Auditee relationship with appropriate paretns (grant access to send automated emails from teachers)

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

Positive Psychology

Watching a Webinar on Positive Psychology - This ties in very nicely with my previous post about Growth Mindset.

Traditional Psychology has looked at what is wrong with someone and fix what is wrong.
New theories (Positive Psychology) look at what is right with us and what makes us strong ...this will then in turn help build resilience.
Traditional thinking has been success causes happiness.
Positive Psychology finds happiness causes success.

Mindset can have a positive impact on well being and prevent illness (flu)

Thoughts on the negative impact of stress has a bigger negative impact on physiological health than the stress itself.

5 pillars of well being PERMA Well being

1) Positive Emotions
- Finding joy, happiness.
- Build psychological tools for greater resilience, happiness and well-being.
- Different than "positive thinking"
- Results from things we do...can also be occurred by reliving (thinking of event)
Positive emotions build intellectual, physical, social resources which improves psychological resilience.
How much positive emotion?  More Positive emotion than negative emotions.

Increase your positive Emotion
Eat a healthy lunch, spend some time outside, exercise, talk with a friend, dance, listen to cool music, watch a funny youtube clip

Decrease Negative emotions
Reduce time spent on social media, stop watching negative reality TV, wake up earlier to avoid fights with parents, spend less time with crabby people.

Don't have to be positive all the time but you need to have more positive than negative.

2) Engagement
Truly engaged in a task experience flow - lose sense of time, no self conscious.
When experience flow more likely to experience well being.
Meet a level of challenge with appropriate skill level can meet FLOW.
- Too much level of challenge = anxiety
- Level of challenge too low = Boredom

3) Positive Relationships
-Most critical pillar of all
-research shows that the greatest predictor of happiness is meaningful relationships.
"Other People Matter" - Chris Peterson
Why? we are hard wired for social connection - Social pain shows same areas of brain affected as physical pain.
Focus on Building positive relationships. (Appreciation Circles, Random Acts of Kindness, Positive Notes)

4) Meaning (& Purpose)
Feeling that your life has purpose and contribute to something bigger than yourself.
A way to bring greater happiness to your life is by doing something kind for someone else.
Altruism vs. Pleasure - Study found those that do altruism vs pleasure activities are happier

5) Positive Accomplishment
- Mastering a skill, achieving an important goal, succeeding at work or school or in a competitive event.
- Building Confidence and self efficacy
Angela Duckworth - What if doing well in school and in life depends on much omre than your ability to learn quickly and easily.  Once characteristic emerged as a significant predictor of success it was GRIT.

Many Psychologist add a 6th pillar - Vitality
- Physical Activity, eating healthy, sleep

Growth Mindset

In this blog entry i'm going to reflect on a PD session staff received on Growth Mindset.
Admin introduced the concept of growth mindset at our PD day with a video from Carol Dweck (the growth mindset guru).

The ultimate message is that people (students), can improve their learning, skills etc. with power of believing they can improve.  Changing their mindset to one that allows for exploration and even failure at the benefit of learning from your mistakes.  It was evident that failure is a huge part of learning, and must be reflected on in order to grow as a person/learner. I feel that this isn't a new message for teachers. Many of us are in the occupation because we love to work with kids and see them learn and grow as we empower them.  I think the biggest challenge for teachers today is having students embrace the growth mindset. Many turn their brains off if they don't feel something is relevant or even beneficial to them. As an educator we must engage these students in whatever subject area we are teaching to allow them to grow and learn to the best of their ability. I am very interested in the growth mindset not only for my students but also for myself professionally.  I feel our PD session only scratched the surface of the growth mindset and I look forward to learning more about it in particular how teachers can motivate/engage students to embrace the growth mindset. I've included a great image of the growth mindset that was created by Sylvia Duckworth. 

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Moving Forward

Moving Forward is a blog I've decided to start to help me reflect on ways that I can move my life forward in all aspects.  As a father, husband, friend, teacher, guidance counsellor, Catholic and coach. I look forward to discussing topics, strategies, and articles that can help me move my life forward . While also looking at ways to help move forward those I deal with on a daily basis, whether its my family, students or colleagues, we can all continue to move forward in our lives.