au courant

March 23, 2015

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21st Century Literacies

Given we are well into the 21st century, we need to look at these literacies as current practices we are employing and skills/understandings we are deeply engaged in developing. the following article does a terrific job of outlining the digital literacies we should be embracing. It's a clear and simple read, and it links to resource information!

Visual Literacy

Visual literacy has been defined as the “ability to understand, interpret and evaluate visual messages” (Bristor & Drake, 1994). According to Wikipedia (2011), “Visual literacy is based on the idea that pictures can be ‘read’ and that meaning can be communicated through a process of reading.”


This is certainly supported by Alberta's ELA Program of Studies which requires students to understand how to communicate with and interpret "oral, print, and other media texts". Other media texts include art, photographs, web pages, posters, and films.


"We are a visually illiterate society. … Three R’s are no longer enough. Our world is changing fast—faster than we can keep up with our historical modes of thinking and communicating. Visual literacy—the ability to both read and write visual information; the ability to learn visually; to think and solve problems in the visual domain—will, as the information revolution evolves, become a requirement for success in business and in life." —Dave Gray, founder of visual thinking company XPLANE

CARP: A Tool for teaching visual design

CARP (Contrast, Alignment, Repetition, Proximity) is a resource you might want to use for developing visual literacy. This one is specifically meant for teaching design principles to elementary students.
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Staffing Update

Carey Flewelling is planning to return to work for the fall of 2015, but has requested half time. We look forward to having her back on the team. :)


Margaret Goode is planning to request another LOA for next year. She is enjoying her grandson and all kinds of travel and good works. Hopefully she will continue to drop by the school between trips. :)


Megan Drolet is currently on a short LOA. We have started interviewing for a replacement teacher, but in the interim, we are likely to do some internal covering.

A comprehensive, but user friendly,

guide to using assistive tech to support students in classrooms. Tier Two Intervention!

Tuesday's Staff Meeting

The purpose of the meeting is to make sure everyone is aware of the Buddy Bench updates. We hope they will soon be installed by WC's maintenance folks now that it's spring. We want to be ready for them as soon as they appear on our three playground areas. Natasha Gustafson has been instumental in bringing this initiative to our school, so she will accompany the Buddy Bench committee members in presenting on Tuesday.

First Aid Training

Carol Stewart is a staff member at ELJHS who provides first aid training. According to one of our staff members who attended her session at the support staff conference, Carol does a terrific job. She is tentatively booked to run a session for us on May 1 from 8:00-12:00. She can take 18 people for this session, so let Barb W know if you want to attend asap. If we need to run a second session to accommodate more people, we will look into that.

ATA Induction! More members of this exciting and rewarding profession!

The Date: April 15, 2015

The Venue: Lacombe Golf and Country Club

The Time: 5:00 cocktails, 6:00 supper, induction ceremony to follow

The Inductees: Vanessa Labrausseur, Tanya Greck, Cherise Martens, Ashley Burns, Lindsay Mackay, Alandra Dufresne

Fountas and Pinnell Training

On April 17th, we will have CRM meetings in the morning, and Cheryl Gascoyne will present on using Fountas & Pinnell for assessment, diagnoses, and remediation.

The September 2015 Tech Symposium is now taking registrations...

Since it is mandatory for teachers, Barb W will register all continuing contract teachers before May 1 to get the early bird special rate. Support staff members are not mandated to attend, but can attend if they want to use their PD $ towards the day.


Unfortunately, at this time of year, there are many staff members who are not guaranteed a position for next year (as always), so anyone in that position will have to wait to register.

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A Word on Contracts, Evaluations, and Staffing for 2015-16...

I'm sure all teachers who currently have temporary, interim, or probationary contracts are anxiously anticipating word on next year. Anyone on a probationary contract will have had 2 evaluations by the end of this year. Having 2 successful evaluations does not automatically mean a continuing contract will be forthcoming; it depends on Wolf Creek having available positions. Even the French teachers have to wait until Jayson gives the go ahead to hire staff, which he does not usually do until late spring.


Teachers who have had temporary or interim contracts are not precluded from getting contracts for next year, but they will likely be temporary or probationary contracts, as you can't go from temporary to continuing. Of course, these contracts also depend on positions being available.


As for staffing positions, there can be no looking at next year until the government's budget is announced on March 26th and the school division makes decisions as a result of the budget news. There is an administrators' meeting on April 8th; after that, we should have a better idea of what government cuts will mean for JSM. In the meantime, Larry is telling us to prepare for some significant changes in Wolf Creek. For example, he is considering taking over the schools' funding and apportioning staff rather than letting school-based administrators make the main budget decisions. Chinook's Edge (under Kurt Sacher) moved to this strategy a few years ago, but I don't know exactly what it would look like in WC. It's just one possible idea at this point. Larry wants us to be open to new strategies that will cost less but still allow us to provide excellent learning environments for all students.


Change is not to be feared in itself; we have a strong, collaborative staff, and we need to keep our energies on how we will work together to stay focused on being goal-driven. It's what we've been doing, and we will continue to support each other in meeting the needs of our students.

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SAMR

If you missed the Tech Coach's session on the SAMR model, here is a quick explanation.
SAMR in 120 Seconds
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Seriously... bring Minecraft into your educational environment.

It provides excellent thinking and creating opportunities on its own, but if you want to connect with the minecraftedu site, here is the link. http://minecraftedu.com/
MinecraftEdu for Beginners Part 1