Last week, staff and Trustees gathered for an evening of sharing and learning at our second annual LRSD Ignite.
Event presenters serve up short, Ted Talk-like presentations focusing on ah-ha moments and best practices in education. Presenters get 20 slides which automatically advance every 15 seconds. The result is a fast and fun presentation that lasts just five minutes.
Event coordinators and LRSD Instructional Support teachers Cathy-Ann Winters and Kimberley Adair-Gagnon have done an excellent job leading this initiative and encouraging it to grow and take root in LRSD, with assistance from their Instructional Support Team colleagues.
The event serves to strengthen and grow LRSD as a LEARNING organization. Attendance doubled this year, with 63 staff, Trustees and presenters converging at the Board Office on their own time to be part of the conversation.
In Cathy-Ann's opening remarks, she mentioned the importance of pushing oneself as an educator. "We know that in order for learning to take place we sometimes need to feel uncomfortable or push ourselves further than maybe we first intended. And in choosing to present this evening, these colleagues are demonstrating that a culture of learning, and a culture that values risk-taking, is most-definitely flourishing in LRSD."
All 12 presentations were inspiring and ignited my curiosity. Here is a listing of them with short descriptions. You can also learn more about the ideas that were shared via Twitter, searching the hashtags #LRSDIgnite and #LRSDInnovate.
Embracing the Spark of Learning to Ignite a Fire of Passion
Annick Rauch teaches grade 1 at École Sage Creek School and shared her passion for innovation, leveraging social media in education and collaborations with George Couros and educators in Australia.
Establishing Worldly Connections to Promote Sustainable Happiness
Brent Atkins teaches grades 7 and 8 at St. George School. Together with his students and larger school community, they have built the St. George Freshwater and Ecological Institute (awarded the 2016 Manitoba Excellence in Sustainability Award). The Institute serves to promote unique experiential learning opportunities that combine curriculum, sustainable development, traditions and technology to develop innovative and capable twenty-first century learners.
Thinking in the Math Classroom
The dynamic duo of Alyssa Rajotte and Colleen Chaput co-teach grades 7 and 8 at École Sage Creek School. They shared how their students are melting away math phobia by making their thinking visible in the math classroom.
The Power of Personalization in Phys. Ed
Kris Funk teaches Physical Education at J.H. Bruns Collegiate and is a proud new dad to baby Westin. Kris shared his eagerness and passion to instill the value of active living in all his students and the ease with which he tries new strategies to engage the most resistant. He also spoke about his journey to implement Personalized Learning into physical education to meet the needs of his diverse students.
Twitter and Student Voice
Trustee Sandy Nemeth is the Chair of the LRSD School Board and strives to ensure LRSD students have a rich, fulfilling and successful K-12 experience. She encouraged staff to consider empowering students to take on the responsibility of curating their school's Twitter account and learn about engaging responsibly with social media by being the social media ambassadors of their schools.
Learning with Purpose: Curiosity and Play
Dulce Creighton teaches Kindergarten at General Vanier School and is a big proponent of play as learning. Dulce demonstrated her love of learning through play for all ages.
Ignite your Classroom with Whiteboarding
Greg Speiser teaches at Nelson McIntyre Collegiate. Greg shared his passion for a guided inquiry approach known as Modeling Instruction in Physics. After taking the plunge in 2016, he transformed the way he teaches and can't stop talking about it.
The Hero's Journey: Outcome-Based Assessment
Benjamin Storie teaches science and mathematics at Glenlawn Collegiate. He shared with entertaining storytelling and visuals his hero's journey to transform his instructional practice by embracing an outcomes-based approach to assessment. No more grades!
Assistive Technologies in LRSD
Warren Hart teaches Grades 7 and 8 at Niakwa Place School. Warren shared his passion about learning new skills and technologies that enrich student learning. Warren is a masterful mentor and evangelizer to many (many) teachers in LRSD. He is a Microsoft Innovative Educator Fellow and Skype Master Teacher. In 2018, he was one of four teachers selected nationally to represent Canada at Microsoft's Educator Exchange Program in Singapore.
Right Place – Right People
Carly Friesen is a Student Services teacher at Glenlawn Collegiate and Dionne Deer is the Principal of Glenlawn Collegiate. Together, Carly and Dionne shared their journeys to find out "what one stands for," finding that "something" within yourself. Dionne and Carly spoke about taking a risk in applying for a new position and being prepared for that interview and possible change.
The Power of Authenticity
Charlene Smallwood is the Principal of Nelson McIntyre Collegiate. Charlene shared her insights about one of the key tenets of Project-Based Learning: Authenticity. Helping students connect to their learning, find their voice, and thereby grow to their full potential has always been her passion.
Conquering the Imposter: How I Found my Footing as an Educator
Jennifer Oldfield teaches grades 11 and 12 English at Collège Béliveau. She has a master's degree in Adolescent Literacy and is interested in what inspires lasting change to improve instructional practice. This was Jennifer's second year presenting at LRSD Ignite. With a wonderful sense of humour and humility, Jennifer shared how she is her own guinea pig when it comes to pushing the envelope of improving her instructional practice and leaning into discomfort.
Thank you to Cathy-Ann and Kim for all of their hard work facilitating this event, and to Anne-Marie Plamondon and Enid Webster for supporting the evening.
Thanks as well to the presenters and attendees for valuing risk-taking and innovation in learning and igniting my curiosity on a cold evening in January.
I look forward to enjoying another evening with colleagues next January at Ignite 2020.
Pictured above: The presenters of Ignite 2019.
-Christian Michalik, Superintendent