If you are like me, when your child comes home after school and you ask them "What did you do at school today?", you usually hear something like "Not much!". Our hope is that yesterday, when your child came home, you heard something very different! Because we know that sometimes "to innovate, you must disrupt your routine", on Friday, April 27th, École Sage Creek School's Grade 1-8 students and staff certainly did just that. We had an amazing opportunity to explore interests and pursue passions, develop skills, get to know new people, all while having fun. Students from different grades from both the English and the Immersion programs came together, based on their interests, for an amazing afternoon of Coyote Explorations.
Choice and Voice
Both students and staff were able to make decisions based on their "Choice and Voice". To prepare for this initiative, staff selected one of their passions or interests that they wanted to share with students. We prepared a menu of AMAZING explorations topics and students were able to select, based on their own interests and passions, from the list of varied interesting and fun exploration topics. Students were placed into an exploration group with students from other classes, grades and program (French Immersion and English). Students will be meeting with the same exploration group four different times and working and learning together with the same teacher (not necessarily their typical classroom teacher) and the same group of students in the topic selected.
Why is letting students select their top choices so important? It is obvious that when a person has options and makes a decision related to what they will be doing, they will be much more engaged in that activity. If we "force" someone to take a "Coding" activity because we know the benefits of coding, but that student is more interested in art, cooking, photography or gardening, how engaged will that child be in the Minecraft activity? When students have choices, we are essentially empowering them to take ownership in their own learning. Their interest and excitement for the activity makes all of the difference.
Because we know the importance of focusing on relationships, the sessions started with ice breaker activities to ensure that students and staff (who don't usually work together) began by getting to know one another. These activities help build trust within the group, to ensure that students and staff could take risks together. Although we already do various activities where classes collaborate with other classes from different grade levels (reading buddies, math buddies, etc...) this gives students another opportunity to meet and interact with students and staff that they may not have worked with until this point. This building of community and sense of belonging is so important to a school's culture of learning.
It was amazing to visit the 29 different sessions being offered and seeing the energy in each of the rooms. You will note in the list below that some sessions were related to technology, but many were not. Although we know that many of our students are very interested and engaged with technology, many are not. Variety is the spice of life and, as you will see, our sessions offered a LOT of variety. Students and staff were so engaged, learning new skills, having fun, getting to know one another.
The Grade 1 - 2/3 topics included:
- Coding with Mme Annick
- Storybook STEM with Mrs. Didyk
- Photography – Kids and Cameras with Mrs. Grabowski
- Minecraft with Mme Meg
- Fish Art Fun with Mme Caelin
- Art using picture books with Mrs. Krahn
- Felting with Mme Nicole (from the Library)
- Gardening & Composting with Mme Philippot
- Garden Box with Mrs. Grenier
- Drama – Reader's Theatre with Mrs. Peck
- It's a SOUPER world with Mrs. Bunkowsky
- Cooking with Mme Klowak
- Gymnastics with Ms. Lagimodiere
- Yoga with Mme Tétrault
The Grade 3/4-8 topics included:
- Crochet with Mme Rajotte
- Macramé with Mme Stephanie
- Zentangle with Ms. Englot
- Painting with Mrs. Rheault
- Video Game Drawing with M. Crockford
- Drama with Mrs. Hagan
- Card Magic with Mme Nycol
- Yoga with Ms. Herdman
- Spanish with Mme Daley
- Game Shows with Mme Boudreau and Mme Mangin
- Coding with Scratch with Mme Chaput
- Coding Robots with Ms. Danielle
- Video-making with Mr. Cohen
- Geo Cache Club with Mr. Fillion
- Board Games with Ms. Girling
- Percussion with Mrs. Styles
I would like to thank our amazing staff who selected various topics that answered our students interests and who also prepared awesome activities that engaged our students in their learning. I would also like to thank our awesome students who participated actively, took a risk by trying something new and working with new students and staff, and most importantly, had a lot of fun learning!
Although every day at ÉSCS is amazing, this afternoon was very special. This disruption was an amazing team-building opportunity where students and staff interacted in a very different way, learning while having fun. That is what it is all about and is yet one more amazing way we are building an awesome learning community at École Sage Creek School.