by Terry Taylor
Superintendent and Secretary-Treasurer
SD10 (Arrow Lakes)
How do you build teacher capacity, share innovative practices across your district, and communicate about student and professional learning to parents, community, students, educators and the world outside your own school district? Creating short video examples of teaching and learning is one of the ways that SD10 (Arrow Lakes) has discovered we can make a difference.
So — Welcome to SD 10!
In “small-is-amazing” School District 10, a growing collection of eight- to 10-minute films showcase student learning and teacher professional learning. The films are helping the district define its narrative, showcase its vision and talents, and broaden its impact. For example, our district’s signature pedagogy is place-conscious learning— yet how this pedagogical vision is manifested changes depending on the learners, the teachers, the school and the community context. The film, Mountains as Teachers, illustrates engaged students and their innovative teacher from Lucerne Elementary Secondary School in New Denver as they connect learning about science, social studies, language arts and social responsibility in wilderness environments of the mountain culture that surrounds us.
In a similar vein, Edgewood School’s primary program entitled Walking Wednesdays demonstrates K-3 students and their talented teacher integrating 2.5 hour weekly walks into the local environment surrounding the school. This multi-aged primary class creates learning opportunities which integrate visual art, writing, science, math and social studies. The students’ “Thinking Trees” in the Enchanted Forest surrounding the school allow each student a personalized space for mindfulness practice, play and learning.
In Reconciliation Through Art, a cross-district initiative weaves learning from diverse indigenous artists in K-12 classrooms across the district. Elders and artists work with teachers and students carving, storytelling, weaving with cedar bark, and dancing – to enhance all our students’ understanding about Aboriginal cultures, and about residential schools and their impact on Aboriginal peoples and on Canada.
The film, Outdoor Education and Entrepreneurship showcases how place-consciousness and outdoor learning with Grade 10-12 students at Nakusp Secondary and Burton Academy results in students learning cross-curricular skills in outdoor education and in building a small business. Students earn their Ground Search and Rescue, First Aid, and SuperHost certifications as they develop business plans and marketing strategies, and design and manufacture fishing flashers. Each year, the students sell their product at the Vancouver Boat Show and earn kudos for their business acumen and their resourcefulness, as well as the leadership of their committed teacher.
Innovations in district literacy practice which integrate Information Technology skills and digital citizenship are highlighted in two of the district films to date: Facebook Literature Circles and Rocking the Page. Both initiatives connect learners with one another using digital technology as they enhance their skills in reading, writing and communication.
Facebook Literature Circles connects two secondary classrooms in the district using Facebook as the platform. Students and their forward-thinking teachers discuss books centering on the theme of identity in online literature circles. While integrated in the learning, students also explore their digital identity and learn about online privacy and respectful ways to converse online.
Rocking the Page is about Grade 4-12 students and a cadre of professional writers from across BC and as far away as Ontario, connecting with students to inspire a joy of writing. The student and professional writers use WordPress as a platform for posting work and getting professional feedback on their writing. The film highlights how student writing improves as students and their dynamic teachers from three schools in SD 10 and two schools from other districts and the professional writers become a powerful connected learning community. Check out the project blog!
Another way in which our films capture innovative practice is by documenting our teachers’ professional learning journeys. Student Inquiry shows how one teacher engaged in a district professional team, takes her inquiry question and captivates her students through their personalized inquiries woven through every curricular area in her multi-age Grade 4-7 class. Students learn about the periodic table, the history of the world through time and much much more all through the lens of their own inquiries. The work of one of our district Professional Learning teams is captured in Collaborating to Engage All Learners. As one teacher describe the team – it’s a “gang of rebels” all committed to working together to improve teaching practice through the lens of inquiry and engaging all the learners in our classrooms.
There are lots of films in our growing video gallery all located on our SD10 website at — check out what’s happening where we in the Arrow and Slocan Lakes aim to live our tagline: World Class Learning in a Rural Environment.