David Hall Assessment, PLCs
Here’s what’s happening in the world of assessment and evaluation. AFL Math and Reading AFL Math and Reading field tests will be underway at the end of September. Provincial Math and Language Arts AFL assessment are being collated to be distributed within the next few weeks. Kindergarten report card The Kindergarten report card committee intends to develop a system-wide document that should be ready for use next year. Alberta Assessment Consortium See great assessment resources of the Alberta Assessment Consortium. Check out some excellent resources that complement our own initiatives in assessment for learning. We are members. The website is and PSSD teachers can access the resources with the following login information: Username: PSSD; Password: CURR08. PLCs - I am anxious to be of help to any principals or team leaders that require assistance this year. Current Literature I am researching the current literature on the following topics: • ethics involved with assessment and reporting

• strategies for student
involvement in assessment


Learning Excellence
C u r r i c u l u m
I S S U E 2

a n d

L e a r n i n g
O C T O B E R 2 0 0 8

• production of an overview of

• reporting assessment results
Documents on these topics will be available for your use as they are completed. Thank you to so many who have wished me well at the start of my work here in Prairie South; I appreciate the warmth and sincerity of your welcome.

Sandi Kitts Superintendent of Curriculum and Learning
I have two main responsibilities in curriculum and learning: to report measures of accountability and to improve learning with students and educators. Both play an important role in the planning we lead in the school division. New Curricula All grades will soon have new curriculum. Rollout plans: Middle Years late October Elementary by spring High School within 2 years One major shift in new curricula will be to student learning outcomes & indicators. We can expect approximately 20 learning outcomes per subject per grade. The other shift is how teachers use assessment and instruction to improve learning. The next year is a time of transition as teachers get used to the new format. For an example, see: What do we want students branches/curr/evergreen/ to learn? math.shtml To support new curricula changes, the curriculum team will base their work on the following graphic organizer.

Improve Learning

Yasmina Lemieux FRENCH
Intensive & Enhanced French A new group of Intensive French students began classes at École Palliser Heights School this fall. Their teacher is Kariann Robinson. Kariann has taught the follow-up program, Enhanced French, for the past two years, and partook in the first ever Saskatchewan-based Intensive French training session during the summer. Intensive French is an enrichment of the Core French program through intensive

exposure to French, with a focus on oral communication and student-centered learning. In one school year students will receive up to four times the number of hours of instruction normally devoted to Core French. In Saskatchewan, Intensive French takes place in grade six. French Immersion The Ministry of Education is in the process of renewing curricula for French Immersion programs. Renewed curriculum documents will have a common look and organization, will be clear, concise and educative, and will strengthen the best of

what already exists. French Immersion teachers from École Élémentaire Gravelbourg, Gravelbourg High School, École Palliser Heights and Central Collegiate will be participating in several Curriculum renewal workshops in Moose Jaw. These workshops will present the content and strategies that are common to all renewed curriculum documents. Core French The AIM (Accelerative Integrated Method) offers an interactive, gesture-based approach to Core French learning. Several Core French teachers from our division will participate in AIM professional development sessions in early October in Saskatoon. For more information, please visit: http://

Learning Goals We have developed learning goals (link) to give us direction and to report to the Ministry CIF Document August 2008 and the Board of Education Strategic Plan. Our main goal is to improve student learning. In order to do so, goals need to be aligned and supported throughout the school division, from the daily work in classrooms and schools to the work at the division level. The most important aspect is what students and teachers do in classrooms. Systemic Implementation Recent change theory indicates to improve the learning of ALL students, changes need to be supported systemically. This means over 90% of educators must implement effective teaching strategies so they are habitually and fully embedded in daily practice. We have started to work with leadership teams from every school to implement effective practices at all schools. While the strategies may not be new, all teachers are called to use the strategies with their students. When implemented in full design, they are key to improving student learning. They are based on research and successful use in other school divisions. Grading All schools will participate in an awareness workshop this year to introduce proposed changes to grading practices that will take place over the next few years. Grading Practices Document We encourage your input and suggestions to improve this developing work.

Jeff Boulton

IT, High School Math & Science, SIRS

SIRS Over the summer, student data from 6 schools was converted into the SIRS student information system. Kathie Alm, a SIRS Helpdesk Technician, facilitated a workshop on SIRS functionality to the new schools involving administrators and administrative assistants. We are happy to have the following new schools as part of our SIRS users: • Mossbank

The student information system is now being utilized by 23 of our schools. Over the next two years the remainder of our schools will be brought into SIRS.

• • • • •

Avonlea Caronport Elementary Bengough Rouleau Mortlach

Middle Years Science: The middle year’s science curriculum, grades 6-9, is currently being piloted by several teachers in our school division. As with Science 10, the topics and philosophy for the renewal have been derived from the Pan Canadian “Common Framework of Science Learning Outcomes K-12.”

Pearson publishing is working with teachers throughout Saskatchewan creating resources to support the new middle year’s science curriculum. Pearson is the exclusive publisher for the curriculum and will have resources that are not only aligned to the curriculum but also include Saskatchewan content – very exciting!!!

How will we know they learned it?

What we do when they have or haven’t learned it?

Where am I going?

Where am I now?

How do I close the gap?

(Hattie & Tipperley, 2007)





Tim Eirich

Elementary Math, Libraries, New Teacher Mentorship

Dean Shareski
Student-Centered Mathematics – John Van de Walle Are you looking for ways to engage all learners and teach mathematics effectively? Are you interested learning that will enhance your teaching? Student-centered mathematics combines an understanding of:

Digital Learning, FNMP, Sexual Health, PAA
This year we are asking schools and classrooms to focus on Social Learning and consider how technologies might support and enhance this. Social Learning assumes that we can learn more from each other than simply relying on textbooks or teachers as single sources of knowledge. The possibilities are limitless and even overwhelming. Teachers are beginning to take small steps to tap into its potential. For some schools this means: • Using their school websites to share student work. • Classrooms might begin to use online tools to find an audience for students. • Still others might explore social networks for assessment and two-way communication. If you're wondering what the specifics are related to technology standards, please check out the new ISTE (International Society of Technology Education) standards located at the very bottom of the Digital Learning page on our website. In essence there are 6 major goals for technology which include: • Creativity and Innovation

New Teachers We would like to welcome the following new teachers to PSSD:

• • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • • •

Trevor Peterson, Assiniboia High Katie Arnold, Avonlea Sarah Gadd, Avonlea Laurel Dobie, Baildon Colony Kenton Hoimyr, Caronport High Jenn Wiens, Chaplin Suzanne Dups, Cornerstone Christian Ashley Rachul, Coronach Jenna Ehrhardt, Craik Laurie Hubbs, Craik Katie Welykholowa, Eyebrow Natalie Chevrier, Gravelbourg Elementary Tasha Young, Gravelbourg Elementary Danielle Bourgeois, Gravelbourg High Deni Miclea, Gravelbourg High Mark Pitman, John Chisholm Louise Fafard, Palliser Heights Tracey Knight-Szakacs, Palliser Heights Megan Clake, Peacock Collegiate

Reflective thinking, social interaction and the use of models or tools for learning (manipulatives, symbolism, technology, drawings and even oral communication) are the key factors that influence learning. Grades 3, 6 and 9 will be implemented during the 2009/10 school year.

• how students learn • how to promote that learning
through problem solving AT A GLANCE *The new Grade AT A GLANCE documents are posted for grades K, 1, 4 and 7. We encourage teachers to use this to organize planning, assessing, and teaching. As the new curriculum is published subsequent grades will be created and posted. You must be logged on as a teacher to view the files in the documents section.

2008-2009 will be another year of learning and exploration in the area of technology. We are seeing a number of our schools continue to seek more ways to engage students and help them learn in relevant, meaningful ways. Schools are purchasing laptops, interactive whiteboards and projectors to create classrooms that can provide students great opportunities for learning. Beyond the "stuff", the most exciting part is the way in which teachers are eagerly exploring the changing classroom.

Some specific initiatives that will foster these goals are project based learning and digital storytelling. These are two very key ideas for today's classrooms. Several teachers throughout our division are examining these concepts and embedding them into their classrooms. Some sites to explore: Teachers connecting: This website is a virtual convener. It facilitates a 'handshake' between teachers interested in cross collaboration project. The comforts in connectivity, constructivism, and collaboration make this 'handshake' more intelligent. This virtual convener is based on connecting teachers using more than simply the grade level or location of classrooms. SmartBoard Podcast: This podcast shares lesson ideas that use technology to engage students in learning with a focus on SMARTBoard Interactive Whiteboards between educators. Teachers can listen on lunch breaks or recesses as they mark papers or on their way to school in the morning via their iPod.

• how to plan for and assess
learning on a daily basis Elementary grade schools that have not yet ordered copies of Student-Centered Mathematics for teachers are encouraged to do so. The order form is located at: http:// www.pearsonprofessionallearning.c a/ebooks/studentmath/order.html

First Steps in Math Over 100 teachers have participated in First Steps in Math training (Number and Operation Sense). Curriculum and Special Education will continue to offer training and support for teachers with fall training sessions at the Marg McIntyre Resource Centre on Oct. 23 and Nov. 24th. Empire School is in their second year of applying FSiM in their school and is taking the lead by piloting FSiM across various grade levels. Teachers who have received FSiM training will also be able to apply for additional funding for support to extend their learning, details to be forthcoming. *To learn more about First Steps in Mathematics please visit http:// firststepsmath/index.html

APS Questions Grades 1 to 6 will conduct the 5 APS questions as a pre and post assessment as a minimum. APS questions for grades 7, 8 and 9 will be developed this year with the anticipation that they will be ready to use in May 2009 as a post assessment. *APS Questions for grades 1 to 6 are located at: APS Questions, Gr 1-6 The APS data collection tool is located at: APS Data Collection Tool As a Division we have 3 intersecting ideas about how technology should be viewed:

• • • • •

Communication and Collaboration Research and Information Fluency Critical Thinking Problem Solving and Decision Making Digital Citizenship and Technology Operations and Concepts

These big ideas should guide your classrooms.

Math Curriculum Renewal K to 9 Math teachers were introduced to the new math curriculum in grade-alike groups to study how students learn mathematics. The new curriculum boasts the following changes: • less content at each grade, connecting mathematical ideas within a grade and developing deeper understanding • less content and the change from objectives to learning outcomes • teachers now focus on the big ideas of mathematics and promote learning through problem solving rather than plan instruction around individual skills or concepts.

Tammy Sillers

ELA, Modified

Division Focus: Writing Writing is a division focus as part of the goal of higher literacy. At a division level, we ask schools to engage students in the Writing Process and teach them to use the 6 Traits of Writing as the language to discuss their writing. Both the writing process and the 6 Traits of Writing are very useful frameworks to support students as they become powerful writers. Writing Benchmarks Writing Benchmarks is our division-wide writing goal. This year Grades 4, 6, and 9 students will be involved in the Writing Benchmark process. This involves writing to a prompt using the writing process. Due to an increased number of assessments for Grade 10 students in the spring, we thought it best to move this assessment to Grade 9. Information

about the Writing Benchmarks process, including rubrics and prompts, can be found on the division website.

Three to consider: 1. Writing Strategies • explicitly teach students strategies for planning, revising and editing texts 2. Collaborative Writing • allow students to work with others to plan, draft, revise and edit texts 3. Specific Product Goals • share explicit expectations/ criteria for the final product and a clear purpose with students as they compose texts The following link will take you to the complete report and the remaining eight strategies. WritingNext.pdf

Research Says: Writing Next: Effective Strategies to Improve the Writing of Middle and High School Students

The Writing Next report, completed in 2007, is a synthesis of years of research, most of it empirical, with a list of the 11 most effective elements to improve writing from Grades 4 – 12.

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