Learn ▪︎ Teach ▪︎ Inspire (March 2021)

On-the-go Professional Learning

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Recognize and Celebrate Your Resilience!

As we all continue to adjust to the changes we have experienced over the last year, the term “RESILIENCE” has been referenced and extolled many times. From the Japanese proverb of “fall down seven times, stand up eight” intended to inspire perseverance and hope to the children’s toy Weebles and the iconic phrase, “Weebles wobble but they don’t fall down,” we are buoyed up by the idea of increasing our resilience and through that our capacity and strength through all we experience. The video below illustrates this idea in a teaching/learning context with children.

Closely connected to the concept of resilience is that of how we respond to adversity – those things we perceive as having an adverse impact on our lives, hopes and expectations. Dr. Paul Stoltz presents the following four key elements of what he defines as our Adversity Quotient:

  1. Control: The extent to which you perceive how well you can influence whatever happens next. Folks with high AQ’s have a strong influence over their destinies post disaster.
  2. Ownership: The likelihood that you will actually do anything to improve the situation, regardless of your formal responsibilities. Folks with high AQ’s have a strong sense of responsibility and ownership.
  3. Reach: The extent to which you perceive an adversity to “reach into” or affect other aspects of the situation and beyond. Folks with high AQ’s tend to perceive the reach of a disaster to be limited.
  4. Endurance: The length of time whereby you perceive the situation or adversity will last or endure. Folks with high AQ’s know that any adverse situation will not be permanent.

Evidence of resilience and making a profound difference to the lives of students and all those we associate with continues to be apparent in all we do. Success breeds success and that is why you keep going, growing, and succeeding. That is why we should be celebrating the heights we reach from going through the adversity we experience.

–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

Clarity in Learning

In his 2009 book Visible Learning John Hattie reported on a meta-analysis around teacher clarity in the classroom (Frank Fendick, 1990), and the incremental effect it can have on student learning. There are various factors that contribute to clarity in learning, but constructing and sharing learning intentions and success criteria with our students is an essential place to begin. They provide a clear roadmap for both teachers and students and, when used intentionally and effectively, help to create the conditions in which students can take authentic ownership of their learning.

Learning Intentions:

  • describe what learners should know, understand and be able to do
  • connect teaching and learning activities to assessment
  • allow effective skill transfer to other contexts
  • referred to and visible during the learning experience

Success Criteria:

  • link success to the learning intention
  • make the learning explicit and transparent
  • provide a clear scaffold and focus for learners
  • enable accurate feedback between learner and teacher and peers

Learn more about the power of learning Intentions and success criteria to move learning forward in this video featuring John Almarode. He and Kara Vandas are co-authors of Clarity for Learning: Five Essential Practices That Empower Students and Teachers (2018).

–Submitted by Tannis Niziol, Learning Facilitator, 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

Play, Participation, and Possibilities

Play, Participation, and Possibilities is the current Early Learning and Child Care Curriculum Framework for Alberta. Due to COVID-19 and a recent deep freeze many Early Learning programs have found new ways to bring programming to life. They have found ways to bring the community, cultural practices and build the significance of family virtually and through writing letters.

To help build connections, early learning teachers have their classes write letters to members of the community including: care homes, business owners, mail carriers, police, firefighters for a few examples. Students are completely engaged in their letter campaigns and the process has been able to bring folks together in a new/old way.

–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

Google Updates

Google has recently announced some great updates in its Google Workspace for Education tool suite! Click here for a short ERLC perspective on the BEST new and coming soon Google Workspace features that can amp up the potential for rich learning interactions in your classroom. Curious to learn more about how these updates can be used mindfully in teaching and learning? Sign up for our March 23 after-school Instructional Strategies and Educational Technology session.

–Submitted by Janet Bell, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

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

Fave Google Updates 2021

Alberta Hāpara Community of Practice

If you are leveraging Hāpara to support student learning with your students in Alberta. We are the group for you. Come join our bi-weekly drop in sessions to learn new ways to leverage Hāpara for learning. We share ideas, workspaces and ways to build student agency.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session to further explore Hāpara.

First Nations, Métis, Inuit

Palisades Indigenous Education Professional Development

ERLC is excited to partner with Grande Yellowhead Public School to present the annual Palisades Indigenous Education Professional Development on April 15, 2021. This year’s event will take place on one day and will be a virtual event.

You will have the opportunity to spend time with Senator Patti Laboucane-Benson, Matricia Brown, Dr. Sean Lessard, Dr. Dwayne Donald and experience the Edmonton Métis Traditional Dancers. Cost for the day is $5.00. Register here to attend this exciting event. Check out the full program of the day.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

Contact Adelee Penner
to book a professional learning session.

French Language Learning

Zoom In: Thinking Routine

In any classroom there are bound to be a variety of linguistic strengths and weaknesses to navigate, yet in an immersive context, there is an additional layer for teachers to examine in discerning between student challenges with language or content. Evidence of student thinking can be clarified with the use of Visible Thinking Routines offering access to simple, effective mini strategies that encourage oral speaking and the co-construction of knowledge. Learning a foreign language is a process, and Visible Thinking Routines help highlight that process of student thinking, over a final product. This approach will increase student capacity for observation, questioning and analysis. Of particular interest for French Immersion teachers is that they will also increase students’ linguistic security by putting their oral language to use in varied and authentic ways.

By choosing just a few VTR to integrate into your classroom, and by using them regularly, you will promote student self-confidence, creativity, critical thinking skills and vocabulary expansion. Please find a translated version of Zoom In to try in your classroom!

–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.

Instructions for Zoom In-Zoomer

Inclusive Education

Reading and Writing Ropes

The threads of a rope, when woven together, create a strong bond. When we think of these threads as individual aspects of reading or writing, as teachers what do we have to do to create the interconnectedness of skills that can be woven together to create skilled readers and writers? Once the brain has learned decoding skills, it is free to focus on the task of comprehension…and when writing, the brain learns skills that allow for more conscious choices for effective writing.

–Submitted by Kelly Gibbs, 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

Inclusion, Equity, and Diversity

How are you attending to matters of inclusion, equity and diversity in your school, authority, and with your supporting community?

The topic has surfaced in many conversations during the last few weeks. As School-based leaders are leading their learning communities to participate in Black History Month, Pink Shirt Day and various current social movements like “Black Lives Matter”, they are seeing some troubling behaviour and hearing some offensive language.

How are you maintaining a conversation with your school and supporting community that unpacks anti-bias, anti-racism, and restorative justice?

To participate in Black History Month check out the opportunity for your students to learn how to edit and improve content online by joining the Black History Wikipedia Edit-a-thon.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

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

Literacy and Language Arts

Whoosh! Bringing Stories Alive through Drama

This engaging and interactive storytelling technique enables any kind of story – simple or complex – to be brought alive. Students of all ages play characters, objects, places or events in the story: for example, a window, a church, a ship, the sun or a storm. The video below shows the technique in action, and the instructions on how to use Whoosh in your classroom can be found here.

–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

Do your students understand math or do math?

We can train kids to get the right answers, but that does not mean they understand what they are doing. For years I taught my students the ways to “do math” and it was not until I was in a PD session some 20 years ago where I learned how much fun math could be if I stopped giving kids the algorithm, and made sure I gave them more opportunities to reason.

Just because someone gets 90% on a math exam, does that mean they can understand it? Not always! Don’t be fooled! Could using an app like yHomework on your exam let someone get 100% on your assessment? If so, not a good assessment to use, as there is no reasoning needed. Does not mean the app understands the question, it has just been programmed to get the right answer. Your students are not robots and we should stop teaching them as if they are.

If math is not about the right answer, what should it be about?

Upcoming Sessions:

–Submitted by Ulana Soletsky, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

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

Mental Health

COVID-19 Student Well-being and Resiliency Study

— Kelly Dean Schwartz, PhD RPsych (Principal Investigator) www.covidstudentwellbeing.com

Dr. Schwartz from the University of Calgary has released the results from the Well-being and Resiliency Study conducted late last year and finished early this year. The purpose of the study was to ask students (12-18) in the metro school divisions – Calgary Public and Catholic, Edmonton Public and Catholic how they were feeling about COVID-19 and the present state of their mental health and resiliency in the first few weeks during the return to school.

The study and its findings are worth checking out. It would seem from the data that our youth have an appropriate response to COVID-19.

–Submitted by Adelee Penner, Learning Facilitator, ERLC

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