Learn ▪︎ Teach ▪︎ Inspire (June 2021)

On-the-go Professional Learning

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Finish the Year Strong and Start the Next Year Even Stronger

With students back in schools there is the opportunity and deep passion to have a very connected and strong finish to the 2020-2021 academic year. There is also a desire to make sure that we take everything we have learned as “Practitioners” and apply it to our planning to make next year even stronger, more successful and designed to have a greater impact on student learning than ever before. In meetings across the ERLC region, leaders have identified the area of Social Emotional Learning as a critical priority for professional learning opportunities going into 2021-2022. They are sensitive to and focused on the need to meet the needs of students in building their capacity to thrive in a world where they have experienced varying degrees of disruption, anxiety and trauma. There is also a request to support teachers in their capacity to infuse Social Emotional Learning strategies into their classroom practice. As you plan for next year you are encouraged to consider the benefits of integrating purposeful practices in SEL that will make a significant difference to the lives of your students next year and beyond. The following two videos are provided to support your knowledge and awareness of SEL in our classroom practices at every grade level.

Have a great June!

–Submitted by John Waterhouse, Executive Director, ERLC

To request Professional Learning support for your division, contact:
John Waterhouse, Executive Director
email: info@erlc.ca
phone: 780-444-2497

Curriculum and Assessment

Leading the Conversation: The Pedagogy of Assessment

The ability to assess student learning, whether in person or on-line, is a critical capacity in the professional practice of each and every teacher. The information provided by skilled assessment practice is the foundation upon which teachers design learning opportunities that impact student success.

According to Anne Davies, a recognized expert in assessment: “Researchers in the field of classroom assessment and practice in classrooms all reach the same conclusion – assessment for learning has the greatest impact on student learning and achievement ever documented”.

We welcome you to join the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) three-day conference, Leading the Conversation: The Pedagogy of Assessment! The goal of this virtual event is to bring together our various stakeholders, thought-leaders and classroom practitioners in the area of assessment and pedagogy from across Alberta and beyond. Through thought-provoking keynotes by world renowned leaders in pedagogy and assessment, and engaging concurrent sessions by experienced practitioners and instructional leaders, ERLC will lead a conversation that affirms the promise and power of classroom assessment practice.

For further details – Keynotes and Schedule – please visit the Conference website.

–Submitted by John Waterhouse, Executive Director, ERLC

Contact a member of our team
Tannis Niziol, Adelee Penner, Tim Coates, or Irene Heffel
to book a professional learning session that explores this and other
Curriculum and Assessment topics.

Early Learning

Anti-bias Education in the Early Years

A new film has been released based on the 4 interrelated goals of anti-bias education from the work of Louise Derman-Sparks and Julie Olsen Edwards. Reflecting on Anti-bias Education in Action: The Early Years a film by Debbie LeeKeenan • John Nimmo • Filiz Efe McKinney features vignettes of anti-bias strategies in early childhood classrooms interspersed with teachers reflecting on their practice.

We know anti-bias education is not doing occasional activities about diversity and fairness, rather it is an ongoing embedded language and culture in our classrooms. The strength of this new resource is that it is made up of strategies from the classroom ready to use in your classroom. Check out the trailer below.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Adelee Penner or Kelly Gibbs
to book a professional learning session to further explore this or other Early Learning topics.

Educational Technology

Tidy Up your Google Classroom

‘Tis the season… to tidy up our Google Classroom classes, and quickly (as in, “right-click → Copy”) set up course templates that will save a ton of time next Fall! Use this End-Of-Year Google Classroom Checklist, as well as the video demo below, to check that you’ve covered your bases!

What else have you done to ease the transition from this year to next year for your students and yourself in your Google Classroom? Let us know and we’ll share on Twitter @erlcpl.

–Submitted by Janet Bell, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Janet Bell
to book a professional learning session that explores a variety of Ed Tech topics.

Video Demo: End-of-Year Google Classroom checklist

First Nations, Métis, Inuit

National Indigenous Peoples Day

In 1996 National Aborigial Day was proclaimed by then Governor General of Canada, Roméo LeBlanc. On June 21 2017 the name of the day was changed to National Indigenous Peoples Day.

June 21st was selected as the date in collaboration with Indigenous groups as Summer Solstice is the time of year when many Indigenous groups celebrate their culture and heritage. It’s an opportunity to deepen our understanding and awareness of the unique adversities that Indigenous Peoples face and have overcome.

You may want to add the showing of ôtênaw: uncovering the layers of community made by Conor McNally featuring Education professor Dwayne Donald to your celebration this year. Conor joins and films Dwayne Donald walking along the river valley in Edmonton. Donald uses the walk to paint a picture of the Indigenous history of the river valley surrounding the University of Alberta’s North Campus and tell traditional Cree stories. The film, ôtênaw, which is Cree for “a settlement” or “a city”, gives viewers the chance to explore what Donald calls “the pentimento” or layers of Edmonton. To contact Conor you can email him at clockworkconor@gmail.com to show the 40 minute film as part of your celebration.

Check out Summer Solstice Indigious Festival for inspiration to create your own marketplace, creative workshops, culinary experiences, and to connect with other events happening in Canada on June 21st 2021.

Indigenous Corporate Training Inc. located in Port Coquitlam BC has some great suggestions for creating a virtual celebration.

If you are looking for support to fund activities on National Indigenous Peoples Day the Government of Canada provides resources, ideas for events and funding opportunities for celebratory events. While the opportunity to receive funding for this year has closed – you can get ready to take advantage of the opportunity for next year.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session.

French Language Learning

Encouraging French Speaking in the Classroom

Oral language is something that young children, and students entering Kindergarten in French Immersion, are exposed to on a daily basis with the early language focus being on recognising sounds (phonemes). The time spent listening and repeating increases their ability to identify and manipulate those sounds, which later combine into words, and then sentences, forging their ability to communicate verbally in a foreign language.

This time spent speaking, listening, mirroring, creating and developing social and academic language is just as important in the older grades, even once they have gained the ability to read and write well. All too often we, as teachers, default to the written content for proof of understanding, as it is easier to capture as evidence of learning. Let’s not forget that our older students find discussing concepts, debating ideologies, and sharing their learning in the verbal form to be highly engaging. The benefits of oral production in a French Immersion classroom are many, including the expansion and development of language through the unconscious or implicit memory system. Recall through implicit memory offers the automaticity and spontaneity we all wish for in another language, but it also develops the critical internal grammar ‘radar’ which assists with writing, fluidity in reading, and comprehension.

  • To engage older students in various forms of verbal communication please find examples here: Activités d’interaction verbales ici.
  • To evaluate competencies associated with speaking and presenting, please find examples here: Échelles d’appréciation des attitudes envers la communication orale.

— Submitted by Marylou Gammans, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Marylou Gammans
to book a professional learning session to further explore second language learning development for FSL and FR.IM.

Inclusive Education

Are our Classrooms Accessible and/or Inclusive?

I came across an article this week written by Cameron Chapman. Cameron comes from a design background and is the author of two web design books: Color for Web Design and The Smashing Idea Book. She writes about the difference between Accessible Design and Inclusive Design. When I read her article I immediately thought about our work in the classroom. She uses infographics to illustrate the difference between the two ideas.

The provocation for web designers is striking. It is a similar provocation that Shelley Moore and others use when coaching educators. As we start to plan for the next year, how are we creating opportunities for all of our learners? We don’t have typical or average students. How are we creating opportunities in the design of our learning experiences so that all students have access to what they need?

Check out her article and blog for further provocation as you plan for next year.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Kelly Gibbs or Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session to further explore this and other Inclusive Education topics

Instructional Leadership

A Leader’s Role in Fostering Hope

In the midst of our extended pandemic life experience there is no doubt that we are all feeling some degree of impact emotionally, intellectually and physically. Even with the amazing resilience, compassion and strength apparent in each of our lives, there is no question that we are looking forward to better times. We HOPE for those times to arrive as fast as they can and sometimes we see in our own lives or the lives of others that we experience varying degrees of hope the longer we face the adjustments resulting from COVID. There is solid research confirming the positive impacts of hope on the quality of our lives and our personal health. As an educator I was quite impressed by the thoughts expressed by Jim Knight in an article published in The Learning Professional under the title “How to Foster Hope in Tough Times”. In that article he stated that “I urge you to keep moving forward and support your friends and colleagues as they move forward”. He highlighted the steps of Facing Reality, Setting Goals, Identifying Pathways, Taking Action and Being Brave. He speaks to the teacher, colleague, mentor, coach and educational leader in all of us.

–Submitted by John Waterhouse, Executive Director, ERLC

Contact John Waterhouse or Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session on this or other Instructional Leadership topics.

Article: “How to Foster Hope in Tough Times”

Literacy and Language Arts

Developing Adolescent Literacy

Typically, we think of the primary school years as the time when students “learn to read” and the years that follow are when students “read to learn”. However, decades of research in literacy learning, specifically adolescent literacy, reveals that this perceived dichotomy paints a false picture of the apprenticeship students need as they encounter the literacy demands of increasingly complex texts in all disciplines. This puts a spotlight on the importance of making meaning across the curriculum and on the belief that the deliberate development of discipline-specific literacy skills is a shared responsibility. The Language Arts teacher, although a crucial driver of literacy learning, is but one member of the academic team whose role it is to embed authentic disciplinary literacy. Literacy consultant and author, Releah Lent, points out that this intentional practice ‘… respects the varied ways that students read, reason, write, think, speak, and, most important, participate in specific content areas” (Disciplinary Literacy: A Shift That Makes Sense). You can download the PDF of her chart listing the specific literacies that can be developed in each of the major content areas. Researcher Elizabeth Birr Moje also furthers our understanding of this vital shift toward discipline-based literacy in the brief video below, and in her handy Research Fact Sheet: How Students Learn to Read and Write Complex Texts for Success Beyond Schooling.

–Submitted by Tannis Niziol, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Tannis Niziol or Irene Heffel
to book a professional learning session that explores this and other
Literacy and Language Arts topics.

Math and Numeracy

Contact Ulana Soletsky
to book a professional learning session to further explore Math and Numeracy topics.

Mental Health

2021 Mental Health Academy – Improving Mental Health Literacy in a Shifting Landscape

The area of student Mental Health in our schools has long been an identified priority in Alberta and the impact of the pandemic has highlighted the need to address this in a system wide and systemic manner.

Improving student mental health in our schools is an ongoing conversation and ERLC is proud to support these efforts in as many ways as possible. In partnership with the Mental Health Literacy Project, the Edmonton Regional Learning Consortium (ERLC) presents the 2021 Mental Health Academy – Improving Mental Health Literacy in a Shifting Landscape. This virtual global conference will be held on August 18th, 19th and 20th and will showcase international speakers in the field of Mental Health Literacy. This online event allows registrants to access live keynote presentations, interactive workshops, panel discussions, on-demand post-conference content and more.

The conference theme, Improving Mental Health Literacy in a Shifting Landscape, invites educators, school administrators, and clinical professionals from all over the world to increase their mental health knowledge and mobilize implementation of the Mental Health Literacy approach in their districts.

For further details – Keynotes and Schedule – please visit the Conference website.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session on this
or other Mental Health topics.