A bit of a unique post for me. I wasn’t in class this week and instead of writing about the presenters I wasn’t there to see, I’ll write about my week.
WestCAST. WestCAST (Western Association for Student Teaching) is an education conference held annually by the Faculties of Education in the western provinces of Canada. This year it was in Nanaimo British Columbia on Vancouver Island. There were over 400 students and faculty memebers together engaging in conversations that are relevant in today’s world of teaching.
Shelley Moore. Shelley was one of the keynote speakers who talked about inclusion and special education in classrooms. She gave many everyday scenarios that we think are inclusion classrooms, but in reality are not. This video she made about her PhD focus is a fantastic 3-minute summary of her talk.
Escape Rooms. I’ve always liked the concept of escape rooms. The puzzles. The techniques. I went to a session by Charlotte Dobson from the University of Winnipeg where she talked about encorperating escape rooms into her classroom. (She did this during her placement). She then divided us into groups and we all had the opportunity to participate in one of the escapes she had set up during one of her placements. I definitely want to do this in my classroom. I feel that it could be a fantastic summative assessment for a unit!
Thinking outside the books. This was a session by Peter Bjornson that encouraged us as teachers to think outside the books. He challenged us to take some risks and create lesson plans to engage students in experiential learning. His focus was on history. To get his students to catch a glimpse of homelessness he had them build their own shelters by gathering material from around town (Gimli). He also created an archeological dig site for his students in his backyard. He shared many more. In the end he asked us what we noticed about all of these activities…none of them required any technology. I liked that. We focus a lot of time on how to use technology in our classrooms, but it’s hands on activities like these that create great learning experience as well. It’s all about balance.