Navigating The World Of Technology With Our Youth

Last night we had a great turn-out for our PAC meeting where Mr. Davids discussed how to navigate the world of technology with our youth. With many students and parents getting new devices at home, this interactive presentation was an opportunity to share not only the ins and outs of Apple devices, but also to talk about how to keep children safe while they are online and what learning opportunities are available with Apple products. Parents were able to use an iPad (either from home or the school) to learn how to be efficient with the device while learning to set different the different settings and restrictions available. There was a lot of interest in the “find my iPad” feature of the device as well as some security options.

The last half of the presentation included an opportunity to explore some of the apps that are being used at West Langley with the students. As was mentioned yesterday, it is vital that there is a connection between home and school in all aspects of a child’s learning. When it comes to technology, there is no exception. Student being able to use the same kinds of apps we are using at West Langley once they leave the school, allows learning to continue beyond 2:30. Some of the apps discussed were Edmodo, Book Creator, iWrite Words, Bridge Basher and iMovie. A more complete list of apps can be found by clicking here.

Based on the interest shown last night, we are planning on having a dialogue based on technology and education as a part of each PAC meeting for the rest of this year. As we continue to work towards engaging students through inquiry-based learning empowered by technology and move West Langley towards being a 1:1 school, it will be important that parents understand how the devices can be an integral part of student learning and what their role can be. So in preparation for our meeting next month, we are looking for some feedback from you. Please give some thought to the following questions and offer some feedback by leaving a comment:

1. What other types of things would you like to know about using Apple devices?

2. Are there any particular apps you are most interested in knowing more about?

3. What concerns do you have about using devices in schools?

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New ERASE Bullying Initiative

Back in June, the BC Ministry of Education announced its new ERASE (Expect Respect and a Safe Education) initiative to fight against bullying in schools. There is a tremendous amount of information at their website, www.erasebullying.ca for students, parents and educators.  As many of us know, bullying has been an issue in schools for many years and certainly has been in the public eye/media for the past couple months. And while most would admit that issues of bullying are certainly not isolated to the school grounds, it is certainly the place where we work hard to deal with the problems that arise. We have made many strides in working with students and parents at West Langley on how to deal with and prevent issues of bullying and will continue to education students on how to interact with each other is a respectful and caring way.

As part of the ERASE initiative, the government has set up a website that allows students to go online and anonymously report instances where they feel they have been bullied. Students are able to go to a website (click here to check it out)  and report incidents where they themselves have been bullied or have witnessed bullying. That information is sent to the School District office who in turn, talk to the school about the issue. And while there can certainly be issues with this form of reporting, it is the hope of the ERASE initiative that any unreported issues of bullying are brought to the attention of those who may be able to help.

As you may expect, we are very interested in how this new initiative will play out. We are also very interested in feedback from our school community on the issue of bullying at West Langley as well as your thoughts on the new Ministry website. Please consider the following questions and share your feedback by adding a comment:

1. What is your general sense about the issue of “bullying” at West Langley?

2. How do you feel the school could work to better reduce issues of bullying at West Langley?

3. Do you feel the new ERASE bullying initiative and reporting website are a good idea? Please explain why.

New Waste Diversion Program: How You Can Help

Over the past month, a joint initiative between the Township of Langley and School District #35 was introduced to schools related to waste diversion and recycling. And as we continue to work at West Langley on creating successful learners in the 21st Century, we saw this as a great opportunity to include our students as a vested and authentic part of solving this important problem. We have a group of dedicated leaders in grade 5 and 7 who will be taking a large role in helping retrain our students to sort their garbage into organics, recycling and waste. These Lion C.U.B.S. (Children United for Better Sustainability) had the idea that we send a blog post home to parents to let them know what they can do to help reduce waste that ends up in our landfills.

WHAT CAN YOU DO AT HOME?

  • Work with your child to create a “waste-free lunch” that utilizes reusable containers instead of throw-away bags. Click here for a great website with helpful tips on how to do this.
  • Encourage your child to bring home any food they do not finish at school to be eaten later or by someone else
  • Show them at home where to look for the recycling code on plastics. Remember the numbers that can be put in the blue bin are 1,2,4,5
  • Help children remember to rinse containers before putting them in the blue recycling bin.

Some feedback from you would be great. Please write your comments below this post. We are interested in the following:
1. Do you currently separate your waste at home? If so, what ways have you helped to retrain the habits of your family?

2. What other tips would be useful for parents at home related to waste diversion?

3. What other ways can we help re-train the students here at West Langley?

3. What can we do at school to help students become better at sorting their garbage.

WLE & The BC Education Plan

As many of you may already know, a few months ago, the province of BC came out with a comprehensive plan for Education in the province. And while it has certainly been a lightening rod for much controversy at the political level, here at the school level, there is a lot in this document that is worth exploring and discussing regarding the learning of students.

We have been working at West Langley to move our students forward into the 21st Century using the ideas of engagement, inquiry based learning and empowering technology. We feel we are in line with the direction of the province and more importantly, the real-life needs of children as they progress into adulthood. While a strong foundation of information and skills is a necessary attribute, students need to be able to learn, unlearn and relearn in order to adapt to a world that is changing at a very rapid pace. In using the BC Education Plan as one resource, we feel we are able to truly prepare our students to be successful citizens of our local community and the global world.

If you want to read the entire document, you can click here however I would suggest you watch this short 3 minute video that outlines the plan in a succinct way.  We are interested in your feedback on the BC Education Plan, specifically as it pertains to West Langley and the learning of our students. Please comment below on the following questions:

1. Do you agree that the BC Education Plan has an appropriate view on the direction needed in education in BC?

2. At West Langley, how are we already moving towards 21st century learning skills and attributes for our students?

3. At West Langley, what obstacles do you see as interfering with any progress we need to make to improve learning for our students?

Welcome to the West Langley Lions Den

This is an interactive website for staff, students, parents and all those that are part of the West Langley community. As we move forward in the 21st Century, it is vital that all of us are working together to help our children receive the best education possible. As a school, we are working towards engaging students through inquiry based learning, empowered by technology. We want to ensure their elementary experience not only prepares them for high school, but for the world that awaits them as an adult.

On a regular basis, we will be posting different articles, videos and questions and we want YOUR thoughts, opinions and feedback. Only with all of us truly invested in the dialogue, can we improve what is already an amazing school. You only need an email to offer a comment. We look forward to having you as part of the conversation.

Doing School Different Instead of Better

Click here for a short video by educational thinker Will Richardson. (Follow Will on Twitter @willrich45).  This is part of a longer Ted Talks presentation he gave (click here for full presentation) talking about the need to do schools differently and not just better. While coming from a US perspective, his thoughts about how information transfer is no longer the primary function of schools has global implications. In fact in his book Why Schools? he questions what role schools will have during a time when information and knowledge is in abundance and at the tip of our fingers.

At West Langley, we are asking ourselves the same question. If students can get information quickly through Google and other sources, how do we then teach them to learn, unlearn and relearn so they can adapt to this changing world. It would be great to get a parent perspective on this important idea.

After you watch the video, we would love for you to post your reactions/feedback/questions below. Simply click on the “leave a comment” box above. You only need an email to reply and all comments are approved by Mr. Davids. We are looking forward to having everyone as part of the conversation.