April 14, 2013

On Light, Shadows and Experience

Co-authored by Jenna Callaghan
Cross-posted on the Calgary Science School's Connect!

We began a recent investigation into Light and Shadows in Grade 4 by posing the question “What is Light?” to our students. Before beginning the conversation, we reminded students that the world is not nearly as concrete or easily-understood as over-simplified statements of "fact" might often imply. We talked about how scientists are by nature inquisitive, always open to possibility and a reinvention of old ideas. We suggested that throughout our inquiry, they too might have the potential to share a completely new perspective, contribute to making new discoveries and either support or disprove current thoughts. With two of us in the classroom, we were able to capture some of our students’ opening ideas about 'Light' and have embedded them below.

April 9, 2013

Kindness - A Recurring Theme

Every once in awhile all the pockets of spark that I come across intersect and whether it's true or not it really feels like the universe is pulling together to communicate something important. Today I had to write about it. The trigger was an impromptu conversation with my student teacher about how sometimes, teaching core curricular outcomes gets set aside for a period and this is okay. Because sometimes it's important to have a conversation about how to be a good person; about what it means to be kind, to make a thoughtful decision, to show compassion or respect. If real teaching is inspiring the hearts and minds of children, then taking time for these conversations, creating space and modelling the kind of brave compassion that leads to hope and change is the most important thing we do.

April 3, 2013

Mentorship and Collaboration in Student Teaching: A Video Reflection

Co-authored by Jenna Callaghan 
Cross-posted on the Calgary Science School's Connect!

Working with a student teacher these past few months has been an exciting and rewarding experience. From our first meeting, it was evident that Jenna and I shared a similar pedagogical philosophy; with a strong focus on reflection and discipline-based inquiry. Jenna’s early ideas and questions were guided by an honest vulnerability that allowed for a number of frank conversations around assessment, engagement and lesson design in an inquiry based classroom. My understanding of collaboration - developed and deepened through a powerful team-teaching relationship with Amy Park - had led to a familiarity with how professional collaborative relationships might evolve and I was excited to incorporate my prior understanding and experiences.