Cedar Hill School Growth Plan Goals 2015-16
Goal #1: To deepen students’ conceptual understanding in both Literacy and Numeracy by teaching them to represent their knowledge in a variety of ways.
Current research in Literacy development highlights the practice of predicting, questioning, self-reflection and making personal connections as key to deeper conceptual development. Teachers have determined that though students may be successful in completing most language assignments, their ability to self-monitor, create and check criteria for quality work, and use a variety of metacognitive strategies is impeding their ability to justify their thinking, and demonstrate their learning through a variety of methods.
A significant portion of the Math Learning Outcomes for the middle grades emphasizes the ability to demonstrate understanding of concepts concretely, pictorially and abstractly, yet this has not been a focus in more traditional teaching methodology. Our students may be able to “get the right answer” on tests, but generally lack the ability to justify their thinking, or illustrate concepts in multiple ways. Our school action research in Numeracy has revealed the need for instruction to focus on the use of manipulatives and “real life” applications of mathematical reasoning through more complex problem solving.
Goal #2: To deepen students’ level of interest and engagement in their learning by creating more opportunities for personal choice, and by promoting the application of concepts in “real life”, relatable problems and contexts.
Preparing students for success in a “21st Century” context, means helping them become creative, resourceful, flexible and independent problem solvers. The Cedar Hill staff has devoted much of their professional development focus on exploring innovative methods of bringing a more current, global context to our students through the use of technology and the internet. We have now highlighted the need to move from embedding these technologies in our teaching, to also helping students independently use them in their learning. We also recognize that the traditional aspects of the curriculum do not easily mesh with the activities and interests of the middle schoolers of the “digital age”, and we need to design instruction to help bridge that gap. This is in step with the Ministry of Education’s move toward Personalized Learning.