The National Sport School offers a unique academic
experience that allows Canada's high-performance athletes to complete
their high school education around their training and competitive
Personal Learning Plans continue to be used as tools for planning school and post secondary for students. To assist with learning needs for our traveling students, we have focused on developing more resources to support our traveling student-athletes through their desire to learn shells. This year we focused on the development of multimodal electronic learning resources to support concept development via the web. These resources were created using several resources including livescribe pens and Jing. These resources have not only become great tools to support self-directed learning, they also are used to reinforce concepts for students preparing for exams, reviewing material or furthering their depth of understanding of concepts. As well, these resources have translated into classroom based learning resources. Group projects, project planning and concept process development can be supplemented through the use of these tools.
Teachers and students have continued with last year’s work on Personal Learning Plans (PLPs) with support of Learning Leaders from the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement. Initiatives have included a teacher professional development (PD) workshop on personalization versus individualization of learning, as well as a PD day on strategies for promoting the development of academic vocabulary. At the classroom level, many students have participated in “goal buddies” a strategy that sees students sharing their goals with a partner and engaging in ongoing reflective conversations about their progress. On the technology front, some teachers have started implementing “e-Portfolio” with their classes. This is a tool that allows students to create a digital archive of their work and to invite others to view and provide feedback on that work in the secure environment of d2L. Opportunities to use e-portfolio will continue to grow as students and teachers explore its capabilities next year.
Personal Learning Plans
Teachers and students have worked with AISI Learning Leaders this year to explore personal learning plans (PLPs) as a tool to support National Sport School’s commitment to personalized learning. A PLP is intended to be a student-authored and student-owned space where they can capture the essence of who they are as a learner, and then use this space to communicate and work with teachers and parents around their learning. In doing so, students will become stronger advocates for their learning and be able to work with teachers in finding ways to optimize their learning environments.
Two groups of students have been directly involved in exploring possibilities in the content and format of these plans. Mr. Finlay’s TA class worked with Learning Leaders in exploring learning-style inventories and developing a specific learning inventory that guides students in their thinking and reflection around how they learn best at National Sport School. The grade 9 students looked at a variety of social networking sites in order to provide some feedback around the particular type of Web 2.0 tool that would work best for them in creating and developing their PLP.
Our focus this year was primarily re-configuring our courses to the new curriculum in many areas, adding more courses for students (Art 10) and further developing the online components of our course work to allow students more access to instruction.
Sustainable School Project
One project of note was the sustainable school collaboration. The possibility of the future new National Sport School presented us with the opportunity to create a collaborative project with Science, Humanities and CTS. Students were asked to investigate the idea of creating a more "Sustainable School". They listened to the architect in charge of the project as well as an architect who specializes in sustainable buildings. Students were introduced to the LEEDs criteria rating system and were challenged to meet Platinum LEEDs standards with their projects. The class chose to address 3 categories:
alternate energy sources
Students researched their area of interest, as well as the LEEDs criteria and then created a 2D diagram in Google SketchUp and a 3D model and presented their findings to the school.
2006 - 2007
The NASA Project is a multigrade, cross
curricular project where students examine the long-term effects
on the human body (muscles and bones) as astronauts travel to and
Students created a documentary that reveals
their understanding of microgravity, how it would affect their training,
how their training methods would have to be modified to counteract
the effect of microgravity. Students also became familiar with the
nutritional needs of high performance athletes, prepared a recovery
drink and explained how the preparation of this drink could be adapted
for space travel.
Three of the documentaries were selected to
be shown at a video conference with NASA, the Canadian Space Agency
and two other schools (West Virginia and New Zealand) which took place
at the University of Calgary on Mar 7, 2007.
2005 - 2006
In March 2006 the teachers at the National Sport School received an Innovative
Practice Award from the Alberta Association for Supervision and
Curriculum Development to acknowledge our accomodation of At-Risk
Students through our Blended Learning and Teacher Advisor Program.
As part of a 3 year Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI)
project, the National Sport School was involved in answering the question,
"How Does Inquiry Transform Learning Environments".
In a quick snapshot, the Grade 9 students were involved
in a water study, script writing and survey production and analysis;
in Grade 10, students constructed electronic portfolios, participated
in a video conference on Human Rights and Immigration and are in
the process of creating a show on sovereignty; in Grade 11 students
examined movements of social, political and economic change in the
world and the Grade 12’s debated the ideologies affecting
the Olympic Games. Overall, our findings are consistent with the
other schools in our area. Through inquiry, students take more ownership
for their learning, learning becomes more meaningful, there is increased
engagement for students and the quality and depth of work produced
by students improves. Our goal for next year is to continue to incorporate
inquiry projects and improve parent communication and involvement.
Year 3 AISI Projects (2005-2006)
The quality and quantity of projects increased
in this final year of the project. Below are some of the highlights
of the work done.