What life thrives in the waters around Finisterre Island?
What magnificent things can children make with their imaginations using household items?
How can we stay connected to our community and deepen our connections to this place?
Can 320 children dance together during times of remote learning?
These are some of the questions we are wondering about as BICS begins Whole-School Wednesdays.
At the time of publishing, we are in week six of remote learning for students and families. We know that this is a trying time for many of our families and so we are trying to be as creative and responsive as possible in what learning opportunities we offer.
To that end, last week we launched “Whole-School Wednesdays”. These are days when every child from kindergarten through to grade seven learns about the same topic. We offer several learning opportunities that involve varying levels of parent/guardian support as we know with parents working from home many children need to be quite independent in engaging in learning. The initiative is intended to create new collaborations for families with students in multiple grades working together (possibly even with preschool-aged children too) with flexible, guided opportunities that develop essential skills in all levels of curriculum.
Our first Whole-School Wednesday was intentionally low-tech. We heard from many families that their children were getting a lot of screen time, even if much of that time was educational. We started with our school focus of place-based learning by providing lessons that took students to natural environments - be it their backyard or the beach (for some Bowen families, their backyard is the beach!) - where they could learn in and from the environment together. Many thanks to our local community volunteer experts that helped to support this initiative and special thanks to Bob Turner for filming our introductory film of the plethora of life around Finisterre Island!
Our second Whole-School Wednesday is about making something magnificent! From Kindergarten to Grade 12, students learn to engage in the design process, whether that be designing something that lives in the imagination, or is an actual physical item, such as researching how to build a better birdhouse for a certain type of bird or a bat house, or wherever the students’ inquiries lead them. Students are guided through the design process with the goals of helping them recognize the importance of creativity, developing resilience, and having fun.
It’s hard to believe that there aren’t actually that many more Wednesdays left this school year but we will also use Wednesdays for students to learn about and practice our spring concert/dance. With the support of Kelly Konno, students will be participating in a remote dance which we hope to share with families.
We have tried to pivot swiftly to offering a rich, adaptive remote learning model, and we continue to tweak things as we go in response to feedback from families.
For more information on Whole-School Wednesdays and our school, families can visit our website: westvancouverschools.ca/bics-elementary/.