We were very happy to see so many families at our Meet the Staff breakfast today. There were lots of familiar faces and conversations everywhere you looked. Parents' involvement in events like this lets your child know that you recognize the importance of our school and your child's learning.
As you have read on our Twitter feeds, students are already getting back into comfortable routines. Our classrooms are filled with students reading and problem solving while getting to know their new classmates and teachers.
Please remember that it is our expectation that all students will read or be read to for at least twenty minutes per day. In weather like we have had in the last few days, taking a book outside to read is a great way to spend some time.
Planning for this Year
Based on data gathered last year, our teachers have identified Math as an area requiring our attention. We spent one full day before students returned to school reading and discussing current research around how students learn mathematical concepts.
One of the videos that we watched to spark our discussions was Five Principles of Extraordinary Math Teaching. If you would like to see what we are talking about, click on the image to open the video.
Last year we made the decision to move to a multi-age classroom configuration. This decision was shared at the School Council meeting in May. It was made in part because of the ongoing need to change our configuration because our population changes, but more importantly it is based on reasoning around what is best for student learning.
Each year some parents express concern that the unique learning and social needs of their child may not be met within a classroom that includes two grades of students. While this does present some challenges, our teachers come to know their students very well and are aware of the needs of each student. In most cases students will stay together with their classmates during the day, however for certain tasks it is in their best interest to be grouped with others for their best learning. Our teachers plan and work together in grade teams, allowing maximum flexibility for learning. Having multiple classes of the same grade grouping allows teachers to group students based on their learning needs and interests within tasks.
Within any classroom there are many diverse learning needs. Each classroom is formed to include students with different genders, learning, language and social strengths to provide a balanced community. Teachers form these classrooms based on what they know about students in June, having been with them for the current school year. We consider friendships and the impact that those friends have on student learning when making those decisions.
Multi-aging allows students to grow and learn together, creating a sense of community between the grades on both sides of your child's grade. It encourages older students to demonstrate leadership skills by encouraging and guiding younger learners, both academically and socially. For the most part, the students within a class will be placed together for two years, moving from the position of being the youngest to being the oldest.
Typically the first few weeks of learning are devoted to instruction around building a sense of community, creating rules, and establishing a safe learning environment for students. In multi-age classrooms, since approximately half of the students are familiar with the teacher and learning expectations, that time is significantly reduced.
We will be discussing this at the next School Council meeting in September, and if you have concerns about multi-age learning, or your child in particular, we urge you to speak with your child's teacher or the principal.
PE FOCUS - Soccer
Monday, August 22
Remember to check out our school website - http://schools.cbe.ab.ca/b347