OCT OEEO

PS_September_2016

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27 September 2016 | Professionally Speaking The OCT featured in this department has been recognized with a national teaching award and exemplifies the high standards of practice to which the College holds the teaching profession . time, a local MP spoke out against what he felt was an unrealistic timeline for welcoming fleeing Syrians to Canada, which triggered lively discussions around immigration. A girl in Grade 7 wasn't the only one asking, "Why do we have to take them in? Aren't they going to take all of our jobs?" Many felt differently after Myles played an animated YouTube video that explained the facts surround- ing the refugee crisis. When that MP visited Myles's classroom, the students asked him tough questions. And, what of that girl? Now she wants to be a human rights lawyer. "I want them to be critical thinkers," says Myles. "Don't just take what people say at face value — and that includes me. Listen to viewpoints, learn the facts and make up your own mind." To foster those skills, Myles favours assignments that provoke higher-order thinking. She often gives students a say in which activities they'll do and involves them in defining the success criteria. As she says, "I don't want to read the same book report 25 times!" For a final assignment on The Breadwinner — an award-winning novel about an 11-year-old who disguises herself as a boy to support her family in war-torn Afghanistan — they crafted Jeopardy-style games, rewrote the story's ending and designed alternative book covers. "I find that when you give choices, they take ownership and produce work that's of higher quality," she says. In science, they staged a mock Dragon's Den: the Grade 7s pitched ideas for inventions that would help people in developing nations transport water from faraway wells; one involved strapping a water bucket to a repurposed stroller. "Breanna gets right into the curricu- lum and looks for experiences that make students better critical thinkers," says principal Kim Kaufman-Harbinson, OCT. "I'm always getting emails late at night or on weekends when she's coming up with awesome lessons, activities and field trips." Kaufman-Harbinson says that no teacher organizes more outings than Myles — who likes to take students off school property to better create links with the commun- ity. They go for runs on the Bruce Trail, curl at the local rink and visit the public library. On trips to Ottawa and Toronto, she arranged meetings with their MP and MPP so students know who to contact if they want to write letters on subjects they care about. They learned about the natural gem in their own backyard on a camping overnight in Bruce Peninsula National Park, where a boy who struggled in class due to a mild intellectual disability flourished outdoors. "These trips are so important to show that learning doesn't just happen inside four walls," says Myles. When inside those walls, Myles leans heavily on technology. The fifth-year teacher uses minimal paper (crumpled paper-toss notwithstanding), projecting lessons on her whiteboard. Google Classroom (classroom.google.com) elim- inates the curse of forgotten binders and allows everyone to submit and access work online with classroom iPads. She relies on Sesame (sesamehq.com) for assessment — students can upload photos and videos of their work to show how, for example, they solve a math problem. Google Cardboard (oct-oeeo.ca/1UnU7sl) is a $15 viewer that simulates a virtual reality experience that practically transports the teens by retracing their teacher's steps in the Arctic. "Technology allows me to bring the world to them in ways I can't do by simply talk- ing. Videos and images are as close as I can give them to a real-life experience." If the class's culminating projects are any indication, the messages about global citizenship are getting through. At a May assembly for the whole school, the young people presented their plans for taking local action on a global issue. One student orchestrated a basketball-a- thon to collect money for sports equipment in connection with the UN Global Goal for good health. Another staged a community potluck and food drive to raise aware- ness about ending hunger. "I can't just tell them to care — that doesn't work," says Myles. "I empower them with infor- mation because I believe that awareness will be enough to inspire them to take action. I think that's the best thing I can do as a teacher." PS Since National Geographic Grosvenor Teacher Fellow Breanna Myles, OCT, can't fly her class to the developing world, she travels online to look for ways to simplify big issues, bring ideas to life and make learning fun. Check out her favourite web checkpoints en route to creating global citizens. YOuTuBe Myles uses YouTube (youtube.com) daily. But instead of just browsing, she bookmarks what she encounters on sites like Reddit (reddit.com) and Upworthy (upworthy.com). She also subscribes to YouTube channels set up by UN Global Goals, non-government organizations, etc. The "GeOGraPhiCS" Canadian Geographic (canadiangeo- graphic.ca) and National Geographic (nationalgeographic.com) offer teacher resources and lesson plans. Myles's students follow the Classroom Energy Diet Challenge (energydiet. canadiangeographic.ca), which aligns with Grade 7 geography. Girl riSiNG Celebrity voiceovers grab the attention of young people, while gripping stories about the power of girls' education around the world draw them in to this documentary, which Myles screens to illustrate gender inequality. Get teaching resources at girlrising.com. GOOGle iMaGeS Visiting developing nations teaches the impact of being there. Myles brings stu- dents as close as possible with Google Street View photos (google.com/ maps/streetview). These images from around the world are presented along- side photos, videos and 360-degree views that have been uploaded by users. orld W Bring the to the cl assroom

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