Developing Innovative Minds is Vital for Future Ready Students

How do we prepare our students for the 21st century? This is a question that educators have asked for years. Teaching content no longer sets our students up for success. Many of the jobs our graduates can get now will no longer exist in a number of years. Of course, teaching the basics is important and we must teach the basics in the context of developing innovative minds.

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Strategies to Teach to Responsibility at School and at Home

How do we teach RESPONSIBILITY? As teachers, we often complain about students who do not take responsibility for their learning. It seems difficult for them to make good choices e.g. as to where they sit and they have a bad habit of side conversations. We worry about these students and their progress. As teachers, we work very hard to make lessons compelling and spend time scaffolding and planning. And sometimes it seems we work harder than our students! We sometimes say to ourselves at points of frustration, “Well, you can lead a horse to water, but you can’t make him drink.” What if there was a way to teach responsibility?

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Empowering Student Voice in the Classroom

While examining the plight of modern refugees by living inside a story, students reflect on their own journeys and those of “change” in their families. This inquiry-based learning unit is a model for deepening understanding and social/emotional learning with themes of equity, inclusion and well-being.  Students experience learning in "first person" as they build empathy, compassion and a growth mindset.  Personal well-being is nurtured through immersion in the arts.  Storytelling, drama, dance and visual arts are central to this cross-curricular unit. As well, Language Arts, Current Affairs and Social Studies expectations are integrated in the work.

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Working with Values of First Nations People

In this unit: game, writing, dance, drama; Grades 2-adult. Resource: “We are the Earth” by Bobbie Kalma Cooperative Game: Atom – One Teapot: 1 chief, 2 eagle, 3 whale, 4 grizzly bear. Information: Read and discuss pages 16 – 19 of “We are the Earth” by Bobbie Kalman. Minds On: Creative Movement: In a circle, body-storm ,the grizzly bear on the land, whale in the water, eagle in the air and fire in the forest.

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Francis Yap
Teach Learning Skills through Games

Learning through games and pretending is a simple way to describe drama. Games teach the basics of focus, cooperation, collaboration, decision-making, and other 21st century skills as well as character education. This lesson is a beginning drama lesson to set up students powerfully going forward.

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Francis Yap
Warm Fuzzies & Cold Pricklies Story

Social and Emotional Learning through Story. This story and the strategies is adaptable for grade 1 to adult. PRE-LEARNING: Students walk about in the space when the leader calls a number. The students form groups and create a statue/tableau with that group. They must remember where they are in the space and what shape they made so when that number is called again, they quickly recreate that tableau.

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Francis Yap
An Approach that Connects Deeply

Its August 1st, I am in Montreal and attending a workshop. We are in groups of 5 and it is time to open up and share stories of our childhood. I pause, I look to the corner of my mind and in an instant, Teresa my doll pops vividly into my head.  “I poured all my love into that doll.  She was my little precious Teresa and I loved her and she was taken from me. In an instant, my little friend was lost. ” My group of 5 develops a short play about my story.  It pulls at my heartstrings as I was 5 years old when my favourite doll was so worn and ripped and then one day I couldn’t find her.

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Building Empathy for Disabled People

In this unit: game, choral reading, dance; Grades 2-adult. Resource: Poem: “I Have No Legs” (below). Music Suggestion: Kaleidoscope 2 #13 Lake Louise-Magical by Soundtrack Performance Group. Materials: 7-8 different objects in total i.e. 6 beanbags, 6 badminton birdies, 6 ties, 6 bowls, 6 cups, 6 bread tags, 6 elastics, 6 plastic forks, 6 plastic spoons, 6 pencils, 6 paper plates…

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Francis Yap