IMPORTANT DATES THIS MONTH – OCTOBER
10 – Thanksgiving – Classes not in session
21 – Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
- A THANKSGIVING MESSAGE: GRATEFUL: A LOVE SONG TO THE WORLD
- LEARNING STORY: CARDBOARD CHALLENGE, CORE COMPETENCIES IN ACTION
- COMMUNICATING STUDENT LEARNING
- BEYOND LETTER GRADES
- VIDEO OF THE WEEK: WHAT MOTIVATES US
- QUOTE OF THE WEEK: EVERYBODY IS A GENIUS
Cambridge teachers and staff wish all of our families a Happy Thanksgiving! This weekend I took some time to remember all the things I am grateful for, things and people, many of which I often take for granted. I started to think about the many children around the world who may never go to school, never have teachers who care for their growth and well being and work diligently to engage them in meaningful learning experiences. I am grateful for so many things and this includes all the dedicated teachers and staff members that make our school a safe and special place for all of us to learn and grow.
In the music video below, musicians, Nimo Patel and Daniel Nahmod, brought together dozens of people from around the world to create “Grateful: A Love Song to the World”. This heart-warming song’s chorus shares an important and uplifting message:
All that I am
All that I see
All that I’ve been and all that I’ll ever be
Is a blessing
It’s so amazing
And I’m grateful for it all, for it all.
What are you grateful for?
What an amazing success! Cambridge’s Third Annual Cardboard Challenge took place last Friday, October 7th and on behalf of all the teachers, I say, “Bravo, Cambridge!”
Cambridge students, parents, and teachers worked together in their classrooms, in our hallways, and our gym to build their cardboard creations. In the morning, I had the wonderful privilege to tour the school and see the construction challenge in action. The energy and focus was palpable! The learning was rich, meaningful, and engaging! It was amazing to see the careful development of the cardboard structures and to take note of the patterns of innovation that many students were demonstrating.
Students were challenged to think creatively and collaboratively to solve a problem as a team. When I think about the learning going on, I am amazed at how many intellectual, personal, and social and emotional competencies the students were learning and practicing – the very skills they would need in order to engage in deep, life-long learning as successful citizens in today’s society. Students were learning to communicate their ideas and thinking. They were learning to listen, contribute, and to consider diverse perspectives, and, importantly, to build consensus. Students were learning to collaborate and value the input of others. Some students were frustrated and had to learn to be patient with their group members. Others struggled to join in and had to learn to find their place and voice in the activity.
Once everyone’s cardboard creations were complete, students brought them down to our gym and learning lab to share and enjoy. In the afternoon, individual classes were called down to explore the creations, play the arcade-type games, and celebrate the coming together of a entire school. As I walked around, I was delighted to hear the encouraging and appreciative exchange of words as children shared with each other and played the cardboard constructed games. Students willingly, and with confidence, talked about their cardboard creations and their learning. I was moved by the thoughtful energy, the level of focus, and the care students showed for each other. Our Cambridge community came together to share the success of a learning challenge, creating a genuine school-wide feeling of belonging, celebration, and pride.
I hope you enjoy the video below. I apologize if I missed taking your photo. It was a busy and exciting day. See you next year!
Ms. Burwash’s Grade 5/6 Students Documenting Their Own Learning
This year, teachers at Cambridge will continue to communicate student learning through digital portfolio collections using FreshGrade. FreshGrade enables teachers to document and share student learning electronically. The goal is to share ongoing descriptive feedback regarding your child’s progress, and to actively involve your child in this process. Documenting student learning is a regular and intentional process at Cambridge where students and teachers work together to choose, capture, and communicate evidence of learning with parents and, most importantly, to improve student achievements.
Teachers who are using FreshGrade will inform parents regarding student progress on an on-going basis. Traditional report cards will not be generated and sent home. However, a year-end summative report will be produced. This summative report will be placed in your child’s permanent file and will be available to you electronically. If you require a paper copy, it will be provided.
It is very important that parents continue to access their child’s learning portfolio so you know how your child is progressing. By checking this portfolio regularly, you should have a good, ongoing understanding of the progress your child is making, the areas requiring further development, and the ways in which you can support learning at home.
Research indicates that when parents are involved in talking about learning with their children, the children achieve more. The more parents are involved, the higher the student achievement levels. We invite parents to share comments, as well as their observations, questions, and feelings about their child’s learning. Here are some suggestions in ways parents can offer feedback and make comments when visiting their child’s FreshGrade portfolio:
- acknowledge and prize the learning
- acknowledge and prize the learning
- make an observation about the task or content
- ask a question about the task or content
- share a personal or home connection
- share a feeling
- offer a suggestion
- offer a next step
- ask for more information
- ask for more explanation
If you are unable to connect to your child’s FreshGrade portfolio after receiving an invitation via email from your child’s teacher, please be sure to contact us and we will help you connect.
BEYOND LETTER GRADES
In an effort to enhance student learning through a focus on core competencies, and align students’ learning with our new curriculum, we needed to change the way we assess and communicate student learning. Student learning will continue to be enhanced, assessed, and evaluated through a focus on core competencies, curriculum learning intentions, and big ideas, with an emphasis on “assessment for learning” principles. Our teachers strongly believe that effective communication of student learning:
- Includes teacher, parent, and student voice
- Is ongoing
- Includes meaningful descriptions/collections/demonstrations
- Is too complex to be reduced to letter grades, numbers, and symbols
There is little evidence that letter grades improve student learning or motivation. Letter grades for intermediate students has always been a divisive issue; the teachers at Cambridge are aware of a significant body of research that indicates that:
- Grades tend to reduce students’ interest in learning itself.
- Grades tend to reduce students’ preference for challenging tasks.
- Grades tend to reduce the quality of students’ thinking.
Read more about letter grades:
We will continue to share information to you about how teachers will communicate student learning and meet the learning needs of all our students. We appreciate your interest, support; we welcome any feedback and questions you may have.
Please check out our School Learning Plan Click here.
The following video provides great information on the research behind drive, motivation, and the use of extrinsic rewards:
10-Thanksgiving – Classes not in session
11-Cross Country Meet at Crescent Park
18-Cross Country Meet at Crescent Park
21-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
1-Early-Dismissal at 1:30 p.m.
2-Photo re-take day
4-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
9-Remembrance Day Assembly – 9:00 a.m.
10-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
11-Remembrance Day – Classes not in session
2-Student Learning Communications sent home
7-Fine Arts Performance – Duffle Bag Theatre – A Christmas Carol
8-Early dismissal at 1:30 p.m. for student-led conferences
3-First day of school in 2017
20-Challenge Day #2
13-Family Day – Classes not in session
17-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
3-Talent Show – 12:45 p.m.
27-Running Club Begins!
7-Student Learning Communications sent home
12-Early dismissal @ 1:30 p.m.
14-Good Friday – Classes not in session
17-Easter Monday – Classes not in session
28-Last day of Running Club
5-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
11-12Fine Arts Workshop and Presentation – Milton Randall – 9 a.m.
19-Challenge Day #3
22-Victoria Day – Classes not in session
25-Parent Tea – 8:45 a.m.
29-Non-Instructional Day – Classes not in session for students
23-Grade7 Celebration – 9:00 a.m.
29-Last day of classes
29-Student Learning Communications sent home
29-Early dismissal @ 1:30 p.m.
30-Administration Day – Classes not in session for students