Friday, May 8, 2009

New School Structure

I've had to take a break from blogging over the past month or so due to my involvement in my school's restructuring for next year. Our school board has undergone a renewal process and launched the opportunity for schools to propose a new innovative school structure that involves teacher collaboration, project and inquiry based learning opportunities for students, flexible time tabling, mixed groupings and a focus on literacy and numeracy skills. Our school decided to take the board up on its challenge and submitted a proposal. In the end, we are one of ten elementary schools and four high schools to be chosen. We are very excited about next year.

I'm most excited to be moving into a classroom with a SMART Board. I will be moving into a larger classroom that will have room for students to work on project-based learning opportunities in the afternoon. I will also get to use the SMART Board for my literacy and numeracy blocks in the morning.

The structure we proposed is outlined in a Power Point presentation I created to present to our staff and parent council. I have posted it to Slide Share to include it in this post. I have also included the draft of the handout we produced to distribute at our Board's Annual General Meeting last week. I don't have a digital version of the final draft.

As we embark on this new structural innovation, I would love to hear from others regarding our plan. Have you implemented similar plans in your school or division? How have you used SMART Boards in your classroom? Do you have other ideas or suggestions after reviewing our plan?


  1. Sounds exciting. Keep us posted.

  2. Thanks Dean! I'm sure I will be posting about this a lot over the next year.

  3. Sounds like you have a year full of learning and adventure ahead. Learning to use SMART board technology or something similiar takes a lot of time and "playing" but the resource is great!

    In November of this current school year a handful of teachers at my school got something called an Activslate which is great resource. However, many of us have not really learned how to use them fully because they take a lot of time to figure out. As you know, something we teachers don't have a lot of time to do.

  4. EVERY classroom in the UK has a SmartBoard of similar of another brand (interactive whiteboards, they are called as a category). I really enjoy them, but wish they hadn't completely replaced whiteboards. I like that I can have notes for more than one lesson prepped at once, and I like that the students don't have to read my messy writing. However, I wish I also had a whiteboard or chalkboard to use just to jot notes or other random things as the mood hits me. It's possble to use them for writing, but due to the nature of the pen and board, the writing is a bit blocky and you therefore have to write rather big, so you can't fit much on the screen.

  5. Wow, what an adventure. We have quite a few smartboards or interactive whiteboards in our schools across the district. What we've found is that those who have access to our district's Learning Technologies teacher team (there are 4 of us)as well as some funding for learning are the ones who move ahead faster. We have a 30 member staff development team whose sole mandate is to support teachers in their learning. We go out to the schools and role model, collaborate, consult, team-teach, or support. Each of our groups have funding in order to release teachers to have the collaborative conversations. The smartboard is a powerful tool and to use it seamlessly is a challenge. Quite a few of our math people have used it in conjunction with tablets. For example, Kidspiration3 at primary level has a great option in math place value and rods which some classes do as a rotation small group station. The secondary math/science teachers have incorporated video content in their work.
    Good luck with your journey.