Professional Development – I was fortunate to be able to attend a two-day workshop with Jay McTighe, via the Coast Metro Consortium. Jay’s working partner for many years was Grant Wiggins, who unexpectedly passed away in 2015. McTighe and Wiggins’ books have been very formative for me, particularly Wiggins because of his blog.
I have a couple of McTighe and Wiggins’ books, Understanding by Design and Essential Questions: Opening doors to student understanding, so the content of the workshop wasn’t all that new to me. However, it was a fantastic opportunity to hear about the more subtle aspects of UbD, the kind of thing you can only learn in person. It was also a great chance to collaborate with like-minded people, I feel lucky to have attended. Thanks go out to my Principal, Ranjit Bains, for getting me into the workshop! With respect to my previous post on this blog, Jay really emphasized that “covering content” is not in the best interest of students and that he and Grant explicitly decided to focus on quality rather than quantity. Sacrifices may need to be made in order to achieve the most important things in education. I think that in terms of UbD this means that
To top things off, I was lucky enough to have Jay sit at our table for lunch the second day! Four of us got the chance just to chat about education and share our interesting experiences.
The pictures above come from some collaborative work we did at our table, working on a financial literacy unit for Math 9.
Pro D – I spent a fair bit of time today putting together some new unit plan ideas for the new curriculum part of Atomic Theory for Science 8. I delved into some of the materials that the Perimeter Institute have put together.
No classes – I don’t have a photo to share but today our teachers got together had a chance to learn more about the social-emotional side of teaching. It was a good day and gave us a chance to reflect on the behaviours of kids that we see in the school.
Science 8 – Today there was a province wide professional development day for learning and collaborating about the new curriculum. The above graphic is from the science 8 curriculum. One thing I noted on this day was the importance of the kinetic molecular theory. I believe it will be a crucial unit for going through the curricular competencies. This is the unit where students will be using mass balances, graduated cylinders, collecting data, graphing, etc. I think that topics such as density, viscosity and pressure will all fit into this part of the curriculum. While I don’t think that learning viscosity has any large importance for students, it is clearly a good topic to investigate in order to learn and master certain process skills.
As an aside, a friend told me a story about the kinetic molecular theory. Apparently Richard Feynman was asked about what he thought would be the single most important idea or theory that should be passed along to a new civilization, if we could pass on only one. His answer was the kinetic molecular theory: that all things are made up of small particles which vibrate faster as they heat up. Or something like that. Anyways, it’s important.
I don’t have a classroom photo today, as we had a professional development day. I visited the STEM teachers at John Oliver Secondary today, along with a couple of other teachers. We saw some of the things they are working on with their junior STEM program, and got a chance to discuss what others are doing in the district.