School Name: Dorothy Peacock Elementary
School District: SD#35 Langley
Inquiry Team Members:Victoria Woelders: firstname.lastname@example.org
Mike Morgan: email@example.com
Erin Milne: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Land, Nature or Place-based learning, STEM / STEAM
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Understanding Salmon Survival Through Gamification
Scanning: The four questions allowed me to see the perspective of a child. I notice that the experiences of my learners are important because they bring to us an understanding of how successful the project was. In the OECD principles of learning and the First Peoples Principles of Learning there is an importance in valuing ourselves and our community. The Salmon Synergy Project allowed students to connect with our local McClughan Park and help understand the importance of salmon in our community, province and country, as well as the challenges they face, especially in regards to pollution.
Focus: I selected this area because it was meaningful. Many of my students do not regularly explore the outdoors with their family. It is sad that we have lost a connection our backyard environment. This project was to dove tail our outdoor education experience and also to promote understanding of the destruction, pollution and predators of our local salmon.
Hunch: My hunch that the video gaming would bring a deeper connection to my students local environment were correct. There was also a building of confidence in our students who struggled socially, physically and emotionally. These project brought our students together and some of the students who struggled with social relationships were able to help other kids because of their strengths in coding.
New Professional Learning: I was able to connect with Microsoft and their rep – Toby Sheldon – and he was able to come in and do some sessions with us. We also connected with Code Jeunesse which offers free lessons from real coders. We were lucky enough to have Saju Abraham because he lead us through a six week program of using a Scratch template of the Tunnel of Doom to create a Salmon video game. When my colleagues came in to my class I was able to explain to them what I was doing and creating with the students. Some colleagues had never even seen the Scratch coding program. It was so awesome!
Taking Action: Some strategies that we used were the online classroom accounts with Scratch. I would highly recommend not using this classroom platform, yet getting the students to create personal accounts with their guardians. The classroom accounts were glitchy and there were challenging default settings that the teacher could not manipulate or change. For example, each student received an account, yet they were allowed to create endless projects. This is good, yet can be challenging as a teacher because we had the unfortunate experience of one student saying something inappropriate. After deleting some of the work, I realized one student had over 137 projects. This takes time and energy to scan through these projects. When I reached out about limited the projects to 3 only. The forum responded No. In addition, I had a student move, I wanted to delete the single account. I was told No again, and that I would need to delete all of my students accounts, if I was going to delet one. This was very challenging with my colleagues, because I spent many hours on my own time trouble shooting. In the end, I would recommend the guardians setting the child’s account up and then the child can have a legacy account and continue to work throughout the summer and into the following school years.
Checking: There was a difference in group work and attitude in my class. My students because better communicators with their peers. They loved Toby and Saju coming in. We were very satisfied. I could tangibly see attitudes and demenour change in my class when I said we were going to our Salmon Synergy Project. The answers to my four questions this month were valuable. I could see how connection to staff and positive attitudes around school improved.
Reflections/Advice: I learned that a device is a reinforcer/regulator/tool, not a reward. Some of children felt that technology was their strength. It was amazing to see those kids with low self-esteem smile and become leaders by helping other kids code. For those that are interested in a similar project, I would recommend the children creating personal accounts with their parents, and perhaps having a classroom group accounts through the teachers portal (yet have it monitored highly). I would also suggest connecting with Code Jeunesse. As I conclude, my final thoughts are that I am going to do the coding project again next year and Saju wants to start a Coding Club at our school. Thank you for giving me the opportunity to participate. It was a wonderful experience! I am grateful.