Our Learning Story
Implementation Day 2016 is where our learning story began. The focus of that day was based on creating our school's vision and mission statement. The day engaged all staff (teachers, CEA's, Indigenous Advocates) in conversation and reflection. Our goal was to align our values and collaboratively create a direction for our school.
Using the First Peoples' Principles of Learning "learning requires exploration of one's identity" we focused our work that day on honouring the voice of educators in creating the value statements that we as a collective group hold in the highest regard.
We engaged in a structure to demonstrate the importance of a systems approach and the necessity of staff alignment. Everyone needs to be working towards the same goal. This structure led us into the first stage of our Spirals of Inquiry Process. At this stage we began our scan by prompting our staff to respond and reflect on the question "How do students find success at KLO?"
In small collaborative groups staff created a visual image of what success at KLO looked like. Images emerged with analogies like a growing plant, completing a puzzle, building a home, etc. The trend was apparent. Our staff valued the whole child.
Words such as: belonging, inclusion, diversity, contentment, emotional wellness, ownership, growth mindset, resiliency, happiness, mindfulness, metacognition, etc. were present in all of our groups' sharing sessions. This was a powerful moment as the staff recognized the alignment of our values.
At the next curricular leaders meeting all of the groups' visual representations were reposted for review. Through a reflective process the team identified common themes. Those themes were then brought to the entire staff again where the vision for KLO was emerging.
Through a collaborative process, we created our direction with our Mission and Vision statements.
As we are building our Spiral of Inquiry around our school goals we feel that we have asked the right questions and are moving in a direction filled with purpose. In order for this process to be meaningful and relevant, we have been quite deliberate in our SCAN phase. Once we completed the creation of a School Vision and Mission Statement, we moved into focusing on key concepts such as differentiation and inclusion in order to develop hunches and deepen our learning. We also worked on embedding the concepts the First Peoples Principles of Learning as well as the concepts of Character Strong into our school as we believe in helping our students become responsible and proud citizens.
Our next steps are based around continuing our inquiry in relation to French Immersion, Literacy and Numeracy at a middle school level. As an admin team, we believe in a clarity of shared purpose with a collective understanding of where we are going as team of educators in order to support students and parents alike.
Implementation Day 2016 - we continued our journey into building a learning environment based upon the principles that were established in our Vision and Mission statements. During our staff meetings, we focused on building capacity around the concepts of inclusion and differentiation. Our aim is to use the process of inquiry to guide our learning and develop our hunches. Our Leadership Teacher Team read the book School Culture by Design by Phil Boyte.
"Consistently maintaining and fine-tuning culture is how a school becomes great. This book provides the means to both create and sustain great school culture with proven methods, real world examples and insightlful encouragement." Don Schaffer CADA
Implementation Day 2017 - we expanded our work on our Vision and Mission statements by incorporating the concepts of the Character Strong Program. "CharacterStrong is an organization that provides curricula and trainings for schools internationally. Our trainings help educators infuse character and social-emotional learning into the daily fabric of any classroom or campus. Our curricula focus on character development in order to help students cultivate social-emotional skills, their emotional intelligence, and help them develop a stronger identity and purpose in school and in the world." CS website
Implementation Day 2018 - this year, we will be "Diving into Inquiry" with Trevor MacKenzie.
"Trevor MacKenzie has written a heartfelt book on student inquiry where his passion for growing a culture of inquiry and students feeling a sense of trust and empowerment are front and center. His clarity of message and practical examples of how to co-create this experience in other classrooms is inspiring. He offers fabulous examples of student voice, social construction, and self-discovery."— Allison Zmuda, author and education consultant, USA
Implementation Day 2019 - This year we looked closely at our School Vision and implementing concepts associated to the Instructional Core . Our focus was based on adjusting the dials in education - the changing roles of our learners, our curriculum and environment/resources.
As a team of educators, we worked on the following question. How are teachers adjusting the dials in the Pedagogical Core?
Role of the Teacher
-Teachers as learners
-Teachers as researchers (documenting learning to determine next steps)
-Teachers as community members
-Making thinking visible
-Approaching teaching collaboratively
-Teachers making decisions based on educational research around best practice
-Teacher provides opportunities for students to explore their passions/strengths and to grow their competencies
Role of the Student
-Students make their thinking visible
-Students contribute to the collective knowledge of the class
-Students own their learning through setting goals, reflecting, and conferencing with the teacher
-Students engage in feedback cycles to help each other improve
-Students build their skills while actively exploring learning that is important to them
Environment and the Use of Resources
-Environments are created to enhance learning (safe and comfortable to learn)
-Resources are expanded beyond texts and internet and include experts, peers, prior knowledge, images, videos, hands on materials, thinking materials, community, environment, etc…
-The environment allows students choices of different learning spaces and tools
-Resources are available and teachers trust students to access them when needed to support their learning
Design of the Curriculum
-Competency driven curriculum that explores meaningful questions
-The child as the curriculum (teachers connect the curriculum to the interests and passions of the students in their class)
-Learning is personalized and designed to meet the learners where they are at
Implementation Day 2020
The focus of our implementation day on Friday October 9th was wellness and learning together. Due to COVID restrictions, staff members were given the opportunity to meet in one of three learning spaces. They met in either the library, the gym, or our cougar den in groups of 25 people. Our activities included creating understanding around the Four Food Chiefs which is central to the Enhancement Agreement of our school district. Our KLO indigenous advocates led the learning and the sharing of knowledge. Once we completed our activities, our staff members were encouraged to participate in a wellness walk. These walks in the community allowed our staff members to reflect on the learning in relation to the Four Food chiefs. Our goal was to support all our indigenous students in finding success in our school.
Environmental Stewardship Day on Tuesday, October 8th, 2019.
Considering the current social activism among youth, KLO's CAT team was proud to present our Environmental Stewardship DAY. Our focus was to build awareness about sustainable choices in order to protect our environment as well as the future of our planet.
Opening Assembly- Keynote Speaker Assembly Bill Darnell co-founder of Green Peace
Optional Environmental Lesson #1 - classes will be called down by teacher to sign "whole-school pledge"
Optional Environmental Lesson #2 - classes will be called down by grade at 12:00pm for a photo with the pledge
Optional Environmental Lesson #3
Closing Assembly- Zero-Waste Assembly presented by Shayne Meechan of Green Okanagan https://www.greenokanagan.org/
Our actions items moving forward:
- Keep our pledge visible in our Cougar Den
- Plant a tree in recognition of our cause
- Bring in a recycling system for our KLO students
- Coding video games to provide education about how to use the waste stations
For the past several years, we have been engaging in several literacy initiatives.
In the fall of 2017, we took a look at the data from our School Wide Writes, a writing assessment that is implemented with all students, grades 7-9, at KLO. The results showed us that there were several trends showing deficits with writing conventions. We noticed our students needed more support in identifying these in their writing, as well as providing skill building activities focused on writing conventions. In collaboration with a team of English teachers and members of our district Instructional Leadership Team, Literacy Lands was created. This is a teacher created, online resource that engages students in identifying strengths and deficits in their writing, and provides practice to build specific writing skills. The creative team piloted this project with their classes and received positive feedback. We are in the process of continuing to develop Literacy Lands to include skill building with meaning, style, and form.
In the fall of 2019, our Humanities department engaged with an inquiry that focused on literacy. The goal was to scan our students to hear their voice on what reading means to them. In order to fully engage with this process, we wanted our teachers to also be thoughtful about what reading means to them. The Instructional Leadership team led our teachers through some thoughtful activities for us to consider the question "What does reading mean to me?" First, we were given several thinking materials to creatively express thoughts and feelings about reading.
This led to a rich conversation around the many definitions and purposes of reading. We heard many different personal stories about what the meaning, value, and purpose of reading was to our staff.
We then provided this same opportunity to several of our grade 7,8 and 9 classes. Students engaged in this process in surprisingly meaningful ways. They appreciated the opportunity to express their thoughts creatively without necessarily using words. The message we heard very clearly from our students was that they enjoy reading, when they are given a choice in what they read.
From this student driven information, several literacy initiatives were developed that provide student choice in book selection, expression of understanding, and creativity. Our grade 9 students created literacy "Bento Boxes" that combined novel reading, thoughtful representation of themes, and digital literacy.
Students read a book of their choice, and were led through a series of mini-lessons that provided opportunities to look at different aspects of character development, theme, and mood within their book. Students then chose visual representations of each of these aspects and integrated them into a digital project. Each object in their presentation was digitally linked to a short piece of writing that explained why they chose this image to represent their thinking. Students then shared their projects with other English classes at our school.
Projects such as these have provided students with a variety of ways to engage in reading on their own terms. Choosing their own novel, creatively expressing their own thinking, and focusing on curricular competencies that encourage the student to connect with what they are reading, extend their thinking, and respond to texts in personal and creative ways.
We have also spent a significant amount of time and resources digging into inquiry based learning in our Humanities department. In the fall of 2017, Trevor Mackenzie spent a day guiding us through the different stages of inquiry, student-centered approaches, learning how to ask meaningful questions, and steps to implementing inquiry in our classrooms. Providing opportunities for students with this approach to learning has engaged our students in thinking creatively and critically about topics of interest. They are connecting current events with historical events in meaningful ways that encourage curiosity and engagement. Learning maps are being used to capture how students are able to connect, comprehend, communicate, and creatively express their learning. Students are asked to provide evidence of these aspects, and then in conversation with their teacher, areas of success and growth are examined.
As a step to further explore this learning, we are moving toward all grade 9 Social Studies classes to be entirely inquiry focused and driven.