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What do you do on Pro-D anyways? November 30, 2010

Posted by burnabysouthadmin in General.
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So last Monday our school had a school-based Professional Development Day.  The students look forward to these days as a long-weekend and a recent conversation with a group of students indicated that some think school staff view these days in the same way. After this conversation I thought this was a great opportunity to shed some light on the great things that happen in schools during Professional Development.

Last Monday began with coffee and muffins and some great conversation with colleagues.  During the welcome period, videos played capturing the theme of our day – Personalized Learning.  The morning focussed on the role technology plays in 21st Century Education.  After a presentation exploring our topic we broke into groups to utilize technology in a brainstorming exercise.

This led to eight different break-out sessions that further explored some key themes in Personalized Learning including differentiated instruction, assessment, social media in the classroom and Tribes Learning.   Staff signed up for one of the smaller group workshops to provide an opportunity for each participant to focus on an area of personal choice.

Following lunch we resumed a closer look at Personalized Learning.  Click here for the slide deck to my presentation.  The afternoon portion of the discussion focussed on 21st Century Learning separate from technology, focussing on a Paradigm Shift that is beginning to take place in public education.  This shift focusses on the way students learn, how they become engaged in classes and how we can continue to best meet the needs of all our learners through a variety of different approaches.  We managed to pack all of those activities in before 2pm when staff returned to their specific Departments to continue the discussions that we began throughout the day.

The above description captures the essence of what we explored throughout the day at our school.  At other schools I know that there were a number of exciting opportunities where teachers also engaged in meaningful and important discussions about topics that are relevant to their students and those staffs’ professional interests.  These types of Professional Days model the pursuit of lifelong learning and capture the spirit of our Personalized Learning.

I hope you found this useful in creating a visual for the next time you find yourself wondering what happens in schools during Professional Development days.

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I Remember… November 11, 2010

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Having worked at, and attended, schools in BC for most of my life I have recently rediscovered my appreciation for the work that people have done over the years to secure the environment I live in. Every year I have joined others to pause in a moment of silence to honour those who have given their lives and risked their future so I may live in peace.

Working at Burnaby South I am humbled to say that I have begun to truly appreciate the risks that my great grandfather WW1 and two grandfathers WW2 and Korean War took for us.

Last year, I contributed in the organization of our school’s Remembrance Day Assemblies. In a school of our size we hold 4 assemblies throughout the day in the setting of the MJF Theatre.  Here the VPA Department performs music, song, dance and video paying tribute to those men and women lost to war.   This year I was able to observe these performances and later talk to students. In these discussions, it became apparent to me that several students who are new to Canada have never participated in these ceremonies. They are visibly moved that we honour these people and they are equally thankful to have the opportunity to say a silent thank you.

It has been the discussions with students coupled with the moving performances that have made me realize how appreciative I am. Despite participating in these assemblies each year and honouring those who have given their lives, it has been the past two years that have made me realize I still have the opportunity to say more than a silent thank you. With that in mind, I will bring this to a close, I need to phone my grandpa.

Mr. Tyler

21st Century Leading for Learning November 1, 2010

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In an effort to stay informed on current topics that are relevant to the delivery of education, I use social networking to connect with a number of educational leaders from the Vancouver area, across Canada and internationally. Through this networking I have the opportunity to explore initiatives from our own school district as well as others. Using the technology available to me, I have created my own PLC. As many of you are aware, the concept of developing a PLC is central to the rationale for creating our collaboration program within Burnaby South.
Among the many people whom I have interacted with in this network I have met George Couros a K-6 Principal in Alberta, Chris Kennedy, the Deputy Superintendent of West Vancouver School District, and internationally recognized educational leader Sir Ken Robinson. I do not use these names as means of self-promotion, nor name-dropping, I use them to illustrate the power of social networking when it is used responsibly.