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.