Critical Thinking, Planning for Next Year, Upcoming Transition Activities
March came in like a lamb in the form of a wonderful day of learning with Garfield Gini-Newman, a professor from the Ontario Institute of Studies in Education from the University of Toronto. Mr. Gini-Newman has been working with the OCDSB in support of the key strategy in the Board Improvement Plan: critical thinking.
Mr. Gini-Newman worked ahead of time to co-plan a critical thinking lesson with Mrs. Irwin. On March 1 they taught the lesson together with an audience of 5 Principals and 4 KES teachers. The Principals and teachers discussed the elements of critical thinking they had seen in the lesson. Following that, Mrs Irwin kindly welcomed 8 other interested KES teachers to her classroom to observe the same lesson being done with two other classes.
All teachers also participated in a learning session with Mr. Gini-Newman during the day March 1. We learned more about the critical thinking strategies: background knowledge, criteria for judgement, thinking vocabulary, critical thinking tools and habits of mind. We learned how to “tweak” questions we ask our students away from direct knowledge and facts so that they involve critical thinking.
Our Superintendent of Instruction, Olga Grigoriev, has supported a proposal we made to follow up on this learning by funding some time for teachers to pair up and plan a critical thinking lesson together, teach it together or to observe each other teaching the lesson, and to debrief the lesson afterwards. This is research in motion at Katimavik by your highly professional team of life long learners: your teachers!
Planning for Next Year
The process of planning for next year is about to begin in early April. We have already been through the registration and transfer periods where the Planning Department gathers the most accurate information it can about enrolments so that our school can be accurately staffed for the fall.
Next is the process of assigning the number of staff we will have to work with next year. Parents can help ensure that we have the most accurate information by advising the school as soon as they know if their child will be moving out of the school next year, or for the first time in Katimavik history, if they will be changing programs from French Immersion to English.
If your child is currently in Grade 2 – Grade 7 and you know that your child will not be in the same program next year, or will not be attending Katimavik, please advise us in writing as soon as possible.
Thank you for your support in this important part of the planning process.
Another aspect of planning for next year includes class placements for students. It is at this time of year that we ask parents to provide any additional information that we don’t already have about students to share it with us for consideration in making class lists. Individual requests for specific teachers are not what we are looking for; we want information about learning styles, changes in medical, social, emotional or familial circumstances that we should consider in making decisions for class placements. It is fair to say that there will be significant changes to the teaching staff at Katimavik next year as a result of our transition to an English and French school with only Grades 3 – 8, so requests for a specific teacher are not something we can entertain.
Our goal is to find the best placement for all students and we consider a variety of factors, including but not limited to academic achievement, learning skills, learning style, social and emotional development, reading levels, learning support levels etc. You can find last year’s description of class list development under the title of “Class Lists: An Exercise in Critical Thinking”.
If you have any new information you would like us to consider in placing your child, please express them in writing to me, Mme Jewell before April 30, 2013.
Transition Activities Underway
In February, there was a large exchange of Valentines between Katimavik students and students at Glen Cairn and Castelfrank! This gesture of good will was welcomed by all students in all three schools.
In the next couple of days, the Katimavik Transition Committee will be launching a Logo Contest for all current and future students of Katimavik.
Why are we doing this?
- We want our students to have a voice in what their new school will be like.
- We know that positive school attachment is a indicator of good student achievement.
- We also know that the students in all three of our schools are positively attached to their schools and all students in all three schools are facing changes to their school life next year – be they attending a new school or welcoming new students to their existing school. It can be hard to let go.
The logo contest has at is heart a chance for students to have a voice in beginning the process of re-creating our identity as a new school community, a new ‘meeting place’ for the children in the Katimavik/Hazeldean community beginning in September 2013. The new logo will incorporate the idea of ‘meeting place’, community and learning and it will represent elements of all three of the schools who are coming together to create this new Katimavik. Who better than the students to develop and select the logo that will represent them?
The deadline for submissions will be April 15, 2013 and after a series of selection processes the new logo for Katimavik Elementary School will be revealed by the Mayor on May 2. Look for details for that exciting event!
During the next two to three weeks, Mr. Harry (Vice Principal ofKES) and I (Mme Jewell, Principal) will be doing a lesson with the students atKES, CES and Glen Cairn to solicit ideas about what the students think is an ideal school. We will use the information we gather to identify the most important qualities that the students value in their school to help us plan for next year.
We want the student voice to be heard and represented in our school.