Learning Services – NVSD44

A Strong Start to Early Learning In-Service

 The Learning Services Department started the year off with a focus on supporting instructional practices for Early Learning.

In-Service for Full Day Kindergarten Supervision Aides

On September 4th our Full Day Kindergarten Teaching Assistants were invited to an in-service hosted by early childhood educator Lindsey Buchanan and the district’s Early Literacy Facilitator Gretchen Tolfo.  The session, which took place at the new Education Services Centre, focused on exploring best practices for interactions and supervision in Kindergarten classrooms.   Participants were later asked to share their thoughts about the in-service and their experiences working in classrooms through follow-up emails.

Their positive responses illustrate the effectiveness of the in-service provided by Lindsey and Gretchen and their passion for helping support a smooth introduction to Kindergarten for our students….

Thank you for the very informative session. I am really enjoying my time with the kindergarten classes and I have used many of your useful suggestions.

Love the kindies – love SD 44. Thanks for all your help and advise.

I’m absolutely enjoying working with the kindies. They amaze me with how well they get along and help each other. It’s fun to join them at snack time and discuss hand washing, healthy food and who’s got what in their lunch bag. I really look forward to seeing them each day. The teachers and staff are great too.  Oh…. and the grade 1′s that I met last year come over to say hello and I’m thrilled. Hee Hee to much fun!

StrongStart Start-Up and Pro D

North Vancouver School District welcomes new StrongStart Facilitators Christy Judd (Montroyal) and Sara Montazemi (Seymour Heights).  The StrongStart team of facilitators met in early September to plan in-service specific to their work with our youngest students.  Topics for this year include: learning styles, Tribes, self-regulation, pedagogical narration, and nature-based learning.  StrongStart centres are located in seven of our elementary schools.  Please refer to the school district website for more information on the StrongStart program, locations, and schedules.





Big Finale to a Strong Start Year!

To celebrate the end of the school year, Westview’s StrongStart facilitatator Carol Lundrigan invited all StrongStart families to participate in a pot luck lunch and sing-along on June 26th.  The event was a huge success and well attended by many families in the community.


Experimenting with iPads at Ross Road!

Last week a team of teachers from Ross Road hosted a debrief session to highlight the results of their Collegial Conference action research using iPads in classrooms.  It was a pleasure for Monty and I to attend that session and hear about the learning that had taken place – for students and teachers!

It was apparent that this project had had a positive and lasting impact on the teachers involved, all of whom spoke of how the iPads had enhanced their ability to engage students in their learning, differentiate instruction for a wide variety of learning abilities and styles, and begin to shift to a more paperless style of teaching (e.g. using blogs to publish student writing).

The teachers had  thought through the necessary components of the project: required technology (iPads purchased by the Parent Advisory Council), a mentor/lead teacher (an intermediate teacher who is very tech savvy), and a process for collaborative planning, teaching and reflection.   It was also apparent that they had spent a great deal of time carefully planning classroom experiences designed to empower learning with iPad technology.

But did the teachers plan the sequence of learning that unfolded for themselves? What these educators spoke of with great passion was the opportunity the project had provided for them to learn and grow as professionals within a safe, collaborative, and emergent learning environment.  They talked about how the iPad technology was new for most of them, how they had simply leapt in with both feet and learned as much as they could, asking for guidance and mentorship from the lead teacher when they needed it.  They talked about stopping often during the project to ask themselves, “Where are we going with this?”  Most of all, they talked about the value of collaboration, discovering together with their colleagues new ways to engage learners and enhance their teaching practices.

This group of educators learned about, through and from their action research in a manner that was unplanned, unrehearsed and unpredictable.  No design required.  Just a spirit of inquiry, trust and collegiality.

J. Robertson


KLASSIC Animation – Where the Wild Things Are!

Check out this delightful animated film version of Maurice Sendak’s classic children’s picture book – Where the Wild Things Are.  Produced by the talented students in Keith Lynn Alternate Secondary!


Ready Set Learn a Success at Westview School!

Ready Set Learn events are opportunities for parents and their 3 year old preschoolers to engage in play-based learning opportunities at their local school, and find out information about early learning services and programs  in the community.   In North Vancouver all Ready Set Learn events are now complete.  Here are a few photos from the last scheduled Ready Set Learn event at Westview School.

Parents, grandparents  and their 3 year olds explored water and ice with StrongStart facilitator Carol Lundigran, and gathered for songs and a story with Kindergarten teacher Debbie Holliday.  The North Vancouver City Librarian also shared resources and programs to support our young learners.

Water Play was the theme for Ready Set Learn 2012 in North Vancouver

Reading with Grandpa!


Personalizing Learning in North Vancouver

Our school district has recently produced, in collaboration with the students in our Digital Media Academy at Argyle Secondary,  a Personalized Learning video that highlights many of the core values of learning in the 21st century, including:

Enhanced parent and community partnerships

Innovative and inclusive teaching practices that emphasize key competencies like critical thinking, inquiry, creative problem solving, innovation, cross-cultural understanding, and collaboration

Learning that is empowered by technology (smart use of iPads, laptops) to advance students’ digital literacy and research skills, and their competency in using current and emerging technologies

Learning opportunities that are tailored to the needs and interests of students

Greater flexibility and choice in learning pathways for students (reflected in our Distributed Learning programs)

The Personalized Learning in North Vancouver School District is now posted to our school district website.

Many thanks to the students and staff in the Digital Media Academy for their leadership on this school district project, and to the many students, educators, and community partners who participated in the film.

J Robertson


Art Classes for Teachers!

Artists for Kids presented a series of five workshops this year for teachers. Led by Julie Pappajohn, the classes offered teachers the opportunity to explore  a variety of mediums and expand their repertoire.  Teachers attending the series thoroughly enjoyed the process. Look for more teacher workshops in the arts next  year!

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Pedagogical Documentation for Primary Teachers

On April 19th Dr. Margaret Macdonald from Simon Fraser University returned to North Vancouver School District to present an in-service on Pedagogical Documentation to over 40 kindergarten and early primary teachers. Dr. MacDonald discussed the use of pedagogical documentation as a way to encourage deep listening and reflective practice in early primary classrooms.

Pedagogical Documentation or Narration  has been in practice for many years among early learning educators and is a key principle of the Ministry’s Early Learning Framework.  Pedagogical Documentation focuses on the process of children’s learning and growth and can be effectively used in primary classrooms as a vehicle for assessment for/as and of learning.

According to BC’s Full Day Kindergarten Program Guide, Pedagogical Narration involves observing, recording, and reflecting on ordinary moments, sharing observations with others, collectively building new meanings that make children’s learning visible, linking the experience to the Prescribed Learning Outcomes, and incorporating documented learning into planning process. Documenting evidence of learning in these ways serves a variety of purposes, including
- creating a historical record of a child’s learning, for example over the life of a project
- helping children become aware of their own thinking and learning
- allowing teachers to share a child’s learning and show which outcomes have been achieved
- interpreting observations that form the basis for revisiting experiences
- informing parents and making them aware of their children’s learning processes.


Students Speak out en français! Concours d’art oratoire 2012

On April 5, 2012  French Immersion (and FSL) students from across the school district came to the Leo Marshall Curriculum Centre to participate in the District finals for the Concours d’art oratoire (public speaking contest), an annual event co-hosted by the Canadian Parents for French and the North Vancouver School District.

Elementary Student Participants

Secondary Student Participants

As I listened to the 14 elementary and 17 secondary participants present their (3-5  minute) speeches, I realized just how many important, 21st century life skills are developed and demonstrated by students who participate in the concours d’art oratoire competition at both the school and district levels.  I was impressed by the topics students had chosen to explore, and by the range of their writing style, from the informative to the persuasive, philosophical, personal, and at times, political.  Equally impressive was the calm and confident manner in which these students delivered their speeches, before a panel of judges, as well as an audience of their parents, teachers, and peers.  And all of this in the French language!

And ‘Les gagnants’ (winners) were…
Elementary: Parsa Riahi (Grade 6 Late Immersion), Parsa Seyed Zehtab (Grade 6 Early Immersion), Sylvi Booth (Grade 7 Late Immersion), Braden Mamen (Grade 7 Early Immersion)

Secondary: Austyn Jasper (Grade 8 Immersion), Mathea Heinrichs (Grade 8 Francophone), Gillian Lonergan (Grade 9 Immersion), Alexandra Kropova (Grade 10 FSL), Harniesh Takhar (Grade 10 Immersion), Irene Carrasco (Grade 11 Immersion), Samantha Buffotot (Grade 11 Francophone), Maya Guttman (Grade 12 Immersion).

Grade 6 and 7 Early and Late French Immersion Category Winners

Secondary French Immersion, FSL and Francophone Category Winners

Winners at the School District Finals will now represent the North Vancouver School District at the Provincial Concours d’art oratoire Finals to be held at SFU Surrey Campus on Saturday, May 5, 2012. We wish them all ‘Bonne chance’!!

Special thanks goes to Sue Saliba and Lisa Cartwright (Canadian Parents for French), Maria Power (Cleveland French Immersion Teacher), Concours judges (Yolande Lissett, Pierette Vézina, Claudine Verdin, Olivette Cyr, Catherine Sanchez),student volunteers (Max Oldendorff, Sean Robertson, Nadia Saliba, Darian Hooshi, Connor Bishop), and the Learning Services office team for their support in organizing and hosting this event!

CPF Chapter President Sue Saliba with Elementary Student Maître de Cérémonie and Chronométreur Volunteers

J. Robertson


Personalized Learning vs. Differentiated and Individualized Learning

Defining Personalized Learning for the 21st Century is challenging.  Some educators and parents have been confused by the terminology and often think that personalized learning is synonymous with differentiated instruction or individual learning plans.

Check out this chart, developed by Barbara Bray and KathleenMcClaskey, that illustrates the differences between Personalized, Differentiated, and Individualized Learning.



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