Posts tagged lovemyhaltonschool
Gratitude for your PLN
Do you have a professional learning network (PLN)?

When you are planning a lesson, thinking about pedagogy, or learning about something new, do you have a group of people you turn to for guidance and support?



It used to be the people who worked in our teaching offices or schools that we would rely on the most.  Today, access to social media gives us a much deeper pool of colleagues to draw ideas from. If you have an idea for a lesson, chances are there is someone else online who has done something similar and can help.


So while The Shift has lots of people we rely on in person to bounce ideas off of, we also have a much wider PLN online that we can draw inspiration from.


After June 4th and the #LoveMyHaltonSchool event, it would appear that this is true for many of us!  Just how big is the PNL of teachers in Halton? How far does it reach?



Surprisingly, pretty far!  There were almost 400 different twitter accounts active on Monday tweeting about why they love working in Halton.  All together, they created 1,569 tweets that were seen by 162,000 people! Our messages of love were view over two million times.  That’s a huge Professional Learning Network!



Importantly, it benefits our own wellness as educators to express gratitude for the things we love.  There is shown to be strong links in positive psychology research between gratitude and improved mental health and happiness.  There are even apps that are used to journal and track gratitude on a daily basis! (of course there is...there is an app for everything)  So it is important in our working lives to take stock of our Halton schools, staff, students and community.  Expressing our appreciation for these things can only make our day to day work easier. So thank YOU Shifters for brightening everyone’s day, and taking the time to share why you #LoveMyHaltonSchool.




#LoveMyHaltonSchool
Last year, the Halton District School Board ran an event called #LoveMyHaltonSchool where they asked students, staff and parents to share (via Twitter) reasons why they love Halton.

This year, the event is back!

You can participate by tweeting on June 4th, reasons why you love working and learning in Halton using the hashtag #LoveMyHaltonSchool

We've been travelling around Halton over the past two weeks talking to students and teachers and already have been given a long list of great reasons to love Halton.


Guess what...there are prizes too!
FREQUENT TWEETER: The school who tweets the most on June 4th
EARLY BIRD: The first school to tweet on June 4th
SELFIE: The school to tweet the most selfies on June 4th
MOST LIKES: The school with the most likes on their #LoveMyHaltonSchool tweet on June 4th
NIGHT OWL: The last school to tweet on June 4th
Tweets must include the #LoveMyHaltonSchool hashtag to be eligible.  

We can't wait to follow along on June 4th.

Wonder Walks
This semester, interested teachers in Halton were able to apply for funding for projects that explored Innovation.  That is, projects that will improve a Process, Product or Understanding.




All in all, 49 applications were received with 18 of those projects receiving funding.  Matt and I have been busy trying to connect with as many groups as possible with the intention of blogging about what we’ve learned.  However, we’ve found that many of the groups want to talk about their learning in their own words.


Kelly Bourassa is a Grade One teacher at Brant Hills Public School.  She’s working with her elementary school colleagues at Norton and MacMillan Public Schools on peer to peer collaboration around open ended inquiry projects.


Finding innovation Outdoors


Every Friday morning my class goes on a ‘Wonder Walk’ in the forest near our school. It is my students’ favorite part of the week. The children are free to explore and commune with nature, some for the very first time. When I first ventured outside the classroom I had a plan, an agenda of what we were going to do in the woods. I felt that I was not doing my job if I didn’t assign them a task or a focus for their learning.


Over time I have watched the students as they discover this space and I have learned that to encourage creative minds and innovative ideas, you often need to abandon the lesson plan. You need to trust the innate sense of wonder and imagination that children have and let them lead the way to innovative ideas.  During their exploratory play they work cooperatively to build structures, create games and toys, and find treasures. The students are mindful, they self-regulate and cooperate. They make observations about the environment that lead to some amazing wonderings about the world. This is where I find my purpose as a teacher. I listen to their conversations and prompt further inquiry and discussion. This journey has allowed me to shift my teaching approach. I realized that I can cover curriculum expectations and encourage the development of global competencies through these authentic interactions.




We are beginning to recognize the importance of teaching transferable skills in order to meet the needs of the 21st century learner. This is going to require moving away from the current structured program and incorporate time in the weekly schedule for practicing interest based inquiry. Long journeys begin with small steps, perhaps in the forest.

~ Kelly Bourassa
The Power of Social Networks

Yesterday was a great day.  Matt and I spent much of our time simply watching the #LoveMyHaltonSchool tweets roll in.  We laughed, we liked, we retweeted, we saw things that were happening in other schools and we talked about how to bring that greatness to our building.

And this is why we think sharing our best practices is so important.  We both work in a great school, with supportive colleagues and students.  But we can’t continue to improve as teachers if we only look within our building for inspiration.  We have to broaden our horizons by looking outwards.  Yesterday, everyone who participated by tweeting opened a window into their classroom or school.

Watching the tweets were fun, but we couldn’t help but wonder about the reach of the hashtag.  Was a small group of teachers just tweeting at each other?  Were we making an impact online or were we all just yelling into the void?

Well of course, there is an app for that.  We found a free hashtag tracker and the story it told was impressive.  By the end of the day 212 users had used the hashtag and sent almost 700 tweets.  At peak times, we were sending 115 tweets per hour...breaking that down a bit, that’s almost two tweets per minute.  Pretty impressive, but that’s not the best part.

Ask yourself, how many unique individuals do you think saw the #LoveMyHaltonSchool tweets yesterday?  Think of a number.

Was it over 100,000?  Because that is what happened.  Over 100,000 unique individuals saw tweets yesterday about why teaching and learning in Halton is amazing.  We think that, in and of itself, is pretty rad.


HashTagStats.png