Eyes on Innovation

Winnipeg School Division Newsletter for Innovation

October 14, 2015

In this Issue...

The purpose of this newsletter is to share information and experiences from throughout our division and beyond focused on innovative practice. Innovation being defined as the process of generating ideas and putting them into practice in order to improve. In this case we are talking about improving the learning for our students. Please let me know of ideas that should be shared.

Ben Franklin writes, "Tell me and I forget, teach me and I may remember, involve me and I learn". Learning is doing. This issue will explore the topic of fostering creativity in our students and building opportunities to support our students as doers, inventors, makers and creators.

Fostering Creativity


Destination Imagination

Destination Imagination is an organization which offers opportunities that inspires a global community of learners to apply 21st century skills and creativity. The DI program is a fun, hands-on system of learning that strengthens students’ creativity, courage and curiosity through open-ended academic Challenges in the fields of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics), fine arts and service learning. Students learn patience, flexibility, resilience, ethics, respect for others and their ideas, and the collaborative problem solving process. Teams may showcase their solutions at a tournament.

Innovation in WInnipeg School Division

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George Couros Visits

During the 2015-2016 year, educator and innovative thought leader George Couros will be working with the Winnipeg School Division students, parents, educators, and administrators to develop 21st Century Programming, with a focus on creating environments that advance innovative teaching, learning, and leadership. Mr. Couros will help develop the “innovator’s mindset” at all levels, to help stakeholders, not only learn ideas, but to help create new ideas for improved learning and student engagement. Opportunities will be made available for staff and students to create, learn, and share with the global community.

On September 29 and 30th George Couros visited schools across the division. He spent time speaking with students and staff and got a sense of what teaching and learning looks like in our WSD schools. He had the privilege of visiting the following schools during his first visit to Winnipeg School Division; Niji Mahkwa, Pinkham, Sargent Park, Grant Park, Grosvenor and Lord Nelson. Thank you to these schools for their hospitality. We look forward to our continued work with George Couros throughout the year!

For further information about George Couros visit his blog site or follow him on Twitter at @gcouros.

Design Thinking Process

In supporting our students' journey in creativity how do we best support them? What processes can we put in place to help them be most successful as creators, designers and inventors? Recently Kevin Mowat (WSD Library Consultant) and I looked to various design models including the Engineering Design Process, the DI Creative Process, the Scientific Method...to name a few. We couldn't find "one" that had universal application to teaching and learning in WSD, so we decided to create our own by taking the big ideas or best pieces from a variety of models to promote this notion of a "design thinking process". This is a model students could use when creating just about anything including a structure, sculpture, movie trailer, book jacket or when taking on a variety of tasks and challenges.

It is a model currently being piloted in our STEAM centres, and will be used with Destination Imagination teams, and with students in our Makerspaces once those are up and running. This is our first draft and a work in progress. If you use it with your students in your classrooms and have feedback and suggestions to offer, or questions please let us know.

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Destination Imagination in WSD

It is exciting to see so many WSD schools getting involved with the Destination Imagination program this year. We have a handful of schools piloting the STEM & Literacy Pathways for Early Learners, which uses an inquiry based group learning model and promotes problem solving, questioning and the creative process in our youngest students.

Other schools are using the instant challenge component of the program regularly in their classroom to give students the opportunity to use the four C's; critical thinking, creativity, collaboration and communication. The instant challenges are either task or performance based and typically a big hit with students of all ages.

Two schools are taking on the Team Challenge component of the program as a extra-curriular club in their schools this year. Congratulations to Marcel Laroche from Ralph Brown, and Crystal Lachance from Sisler who are our first DI Team Managers in WSD! Good luck with your teams! Any educators also wishing to explore this opportunity with their students, please contact me.

Food for Thought

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Thank you for taking the time to read this and please direct any suggestions, questions, or inquiries to me directly.

Shauna Cornwell

Enrichment & Innovation Consultant

Winnipeg School Division