IREC Education Plan 2012.2013: Goal 2

Goal 2: What will be the effect on student achievement if we deepen our understanding of the 12 ELEs within a guided practice structure?

Following are the 12 Components of Excellent Learning Environments:

1. Culture and Expectations

2. Clearly Identified Outcomes/Individual Learning Goals

3. Pre-Assessment

4. Pre-Planning;Utilizing a Backwards Design Framework

5. Utilization of Rubrics and Exemplars

6. Introduction of New Knowledge

7. Experiencing and Developing the New Knowledge

8. Deepening Understanding of the New Knowledge

9. Tracking and Communicating Achievement of Outcomes/Individual Learning Goals

10. Formative Assessment

11. Additional Supports and Pyramids of Intervention

12. Summative Assessment

Specific Strategies:

  • Time allotted on PD days to focus on developing and increasing understanding of all 12 ELEs. RAE (Readiness Awareness Exercise-Pre-Assessment) data indicates IREC (Iron Ridge Elementary Campus) has good starting base of all 12 ELEs. Our intention is to draw on the direction provided by the District Transformational Leader and instruction provided to the Diamond team with respect to exercises, activities or experiences that we can replicate with our staff that will best support growth with respect to all the 12 ELE areas, particularly ELE 1 and ELE 11. We are very aware that differentiated instruction is essential to an excellent learning environment. We want to grow in our ability to apply best practices and strategies (particularly guided practice)  of DI throughout all the 12 ELE components.
  • IREC has created grade level PLTs that have embedded days and time allotted on PD days to focus on developing a deep understanding and ability to apply specific ELE components. All PLTs have been encouraged to include guided practice as part of the lens used to analyze and apply each ELE component. Grade level PLT Action research questions are a follows:
  1. Kindergarten-“Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop a student learning environment that supports guided practice in Language Learning
  2. Grade 1-“Using the lens of ELE #3 Pre-assessemnt, we will develop a strong pre-assessment plan in Math to provide data that supports students’ learning needs and guides instruction.
  3. Grade 2: “Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop effective word work practices that meet students’ varying needs to improve student writing.
  4. Grade 3: “Using the lens of ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will develop a culture of guided practice in Mathematics.”
  5. Grade 4: “Using the lens of ELE #1 Culture and Expectations, we will develop a structure of activities for student to work independently, while the teacher works with groups of students or 1-on-1. (guided practice).
  6. Educational Assistants: Using the lens onf ELE #1-Culture and Expectations, we will explore and implement strategies to provide diverse learners more independence in a guided practice setting.
  • On PD days we intend to share with the entire staff positive examples related to the 12 ELEs taken from/observed in the classrooms of IREC. Out intent with this is that it is an empowering activity that builds understanding and celebration. Our intent is to review each ELE in context rather that in isolation.
  • IREC is currently involved in a U21C project that ensures that we consider the skills and attitudes of a 21st century learner. Although U21C is embedded in all ELEs, a conscious effort will be given to consider the 12 ELEs through this lens as well.

Measureable: Critical Evidence Indicators:

All data gathered during this year of AISI will be used to determine direction for PD in 2013.2014.

  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment-completed in September 2012 and March/April 2013
  • 2012.2013 PAT Data-completed in October/November 2013
  • Accountability Pillar Results for AERR-completed in October 2013
  • IREC Parent/Student/Staff Surveys 2012.2013
  • Feedback from specific ELE Self Assessment Tool used by teachers for PLT work completed in February 2012 and June 2013
  • ELE-Teacher Reflection forms-filled in by teachers following each PLT Meeting-used to determine support and direction for the 2012.2013 school year.
  • CWT cards and reflective conversations
  • Evidence of common language and understanding of ELEs within a guided practice structure
  • Evidence in portfolios, blogs, IEPTs, and in anecdotals


  • Staff apply a fundamental understanding of guided practice to improve instruction for the 21st Century learner.
  • Students gain a grade level benchmark in reading skills
  • Students transfer thinking strategies to other content areas due to the consistency of teaching of common language across the curriculum.


  • Reading with Meaningby Debbie Miller, 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times by B.  Trilling & C. Fadel, Strategies that Work:  Teaching Comprehension for Understanding and Engagement by S. Harvey & A. Goudvis, Classroom Instruction That Works by R. Marzano
  • Daily CAFÉ on-line resources
  • ELE Resources from Central Office
  • ELE Rubric
  • All pre-assessment material
  • Children’s Literature
  • Fountas & Pinnell Benchmark system
  • Designated time on PD Days and built in PLT time throughout the year

People resources: Diamond Team: Vicky, Karen, Maureen, and Don (SSFs, AISI, and Admin.)

Resources Needed:

  • Direction (lessons, activities, exemplars) for the Diamond team with respect to how to lead and support our staff in deepening the understanding of ELEs that have been identified district wide as being components requiring attend and growth.

Who was involved in setting the strategy:

  • The diamond team established the strategies. The staff of IREC determined the need to focus more intently in the area of guided practice and the 12 ELEs through their grade level team SMART goals
  • RAE instrument
  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment

All data gathered during this year of AISI will be used to determine direction for PD in 2013.2014.

  • AISI 12 ELE Self Assessment-completed in September 2012 and March/April 2013
  • 2012.2013 PAT Data-completed in October/November 2013
  • Accountability Pillar Results for AERR-completed in October 2013
  • IREC Parent/Student/Staff Surveys 2012.2013
  • Feedback from specific ELE Self Assessment Tool used by teachers for PLT work completed in February 2012 and June 2013
  • ELE-Teacher Reflection forms-filled in by teachers following each PLT Meeting-used to determine support and direction for the 2012.2013 school year.

IREC Education Plan 2012.2013 Goal 1

Goal 1: What will be the effect on student achievement in communication & collaboration skills if we facilitate the development of the 7Habits, based on timeless principles, to create a trusting, safe & caring community of learners?

Specific Strategies:   

  • Implement 7Habits training for new staff
  • Secure community funding for 7Habits resources
  • Model & teach the 7Habits so that they become embedded in the school culture (ie. digital citizenship)
  • Celebrate at monthly assemblies
  • Celebrate daily through Leadership Awards
  • Provide many student leadership opportunities such as greeters at doors, tour guides, announcements, & M.C.s at assemblies.
  • Share information on the 7Habits with our school council at their regular meetings
  • Support groups which our FSLW facilitates:
  1. Roots of Empathy
  2. Changing Families
  3. Volcano Club
  4. Friends for Life
  5. Grade 4 girls Friendship Club
  6. Grade 4 boys Friendship Club
  7. Friends for Life

Measurable:  Critical Evidence Indicators

  • Student, staff & parent surveys.
  • Discipline reports from PowerSchool.
  • Evidence of common language and understanding of 7Habits in portfolios, behavior plans, IEPTs and IPPs  and in daily interactions.
  • Conversations with stakeholders (face to face, school council, Twitter, Classroom Blogs etc.)


  • Apply a fundamental understanding of the 7Habits to enhance communication & collaboration skills for the 21st Century.
  • Apply a fundamental understanding of the moral issues surrounding digital citizenship.


  • Leader in Me and The 8th Habit by Stephen Covey, 21st Century Skills: Learning For Life in Our Times by B.  Trilling & C. Fadel, The Bully, the Bullies & the Bystander by B. Coloroso.
  • •7 Habits Trainer Resources, Teacher Resources, and on-line resources
  • The Leader in Me Website
  • Children’s Literature
  • WCPS Digital Citizenship on-line resouces
  • People resources: Maureen, Don & Gail Green at FranklinCovey
  • entire school year

2011-2012 Reflecion

U21C Reflection – Jen Walton

I am very happy to have been involved in our school’s U21C project. I have changed from a reluctant and infrequent user of technology to a firm believer that it has an important place in my classroom!

Class blogging has changed my communication with parents significantly. I no longer send paper newsletters on a monthly basis because parents can check on our activities daily if they wish. Parents have commented that they prefer the immediate form of communication that they can refer back to instead! Students are also sharing their work and experiences differently with their parents because our blog is a conversation starter at home as well as a gallery of our work. Parents and students both love seeing the smiling faces of kids in action, right on the day of a great event!

Using SSDZ and personal devices is empowering to students. Activities requiring a device can now be planned at any time, not just when I am booked into the computer lab. Students are able to recognize how to use their device as a “TOOL, NOT A TOY”, and they understand what type of activities are for learning and which ones are purely for enjoyment at home.

One caution I do have is to be sure that students are still familiar with more traditional tools and skills (such as using alphabetical order in a dictionary or a phone book) as they are still needed in life and as a part of our curriculum. I feel it is very important that we do not ignore those outcomes that technology might miss – because sometimes your brain is the right tool, not an iPod or a computer.

Overall, my journey with U21C has been positive. I have now presented to my colleagues for the first time, and I feel that I do have something to offer! I am looking forward to the next steps along this path, and I hope to have my students creating and using their own blogs very soon as a means of extending their learning and showcasing their skills.

U21C Reflection – Melanie Quance

Class Blogging

  • We were able to keep in touch with other bloggers our age and see what is going on in their classrooms – Mrs. Laszuk, Ms.VanMaarion, Kathy Cassidy, etc.
  • Great opportunity for students to do some writing – creating comments for other class/student blogs.
  • A lot of fun to see our own projects/pictures/events displayed on the class blog.
  • Parents felt they were more in touch with the classroom events.  Provided parents the opportunity to generate a discussion with their child about the events of school and send us a comment.

Planning and Instruction

  • Provides a variety of opportunity for students to explore and show what they know.  New devices and approaches to showing understanding has been a lot more engaging for students.
  • Differentiated instruction – provides a lot of opportunity for the variety of levels of knowledge of students in the classroom.  Additional support/resources for students with various needs (ESL, low exposure to reading, high achievers).
  • Teacher plans more often include a technology/student device element in them.


  • Excited about researching on the internet.
  • More willing to explore and take risks with the technology then some adults.
  • Generates more ideas for how to show what you know.
  • IT IS FUN!!

U21C Reflection – JoAnne VanMaarion

  • Successes of Digital citizenship – students know alot about being safe on line and keeping personal information confidential. 
  • Class blogging – students are excited to see their work and VOICE online.  A great way to share with family, grandparents, other classrooms, etc.  Parents feel more informed and see snippets of life in the classroom.  Great way to share. 
  • I feel that my own technology has grown exponetially.  I do feel that a challenge we have in grade one is that we are the starting building blocks for everything, and we have to find balance with everything.  It takes time to do the blogging/digital citizenship.  We just need to make sure that everything that we are doing has purpose and keep what is important.  The tech project has been great.  Looking forward to seeing what this year brings.
  • In grade one, we haven’t gone through the process with students bringing devices yet.  We may consider that this year???

U21C Reflection – Tracy Wirtanen

  • Last year I was fortunate to participate in our school’s U21C project. One of the things our leadership team was able to do, was to create and maintain classroom blogs. Being a technology novice,  I was instantly amazed by the benefits and reaction to this “new” communication tool in my classroom. Students were highly motivated to extend their learning, and participate in online discussions through commenting. Our students were not only working on basic literacy skills, but they werealso practicing their good “digital citizenship” habits on a regular basis.  Parents expressed a great deal of appreciation for this convenient, frequently updated communication.  Other teachers, and blog followers around the world, began to make connections with our classroom through the blog. This was not only a great motivator for my students, but also aided in their understanding of global citizenship. After our U21C team had a solid understanding of basic blogging, our team was given the opportunity to mentor other teachers on staff.  Within this comfortable, supportive, team atmosphere, our fellow staff members quickly realized the numerous educational benefits of this technology, as they started their own journey into the blogging world.



We Have Come So Far In Developing a 21st Century Learning Enviornment

Wow! What an amazing year it has been. We have been working on our Understanding 21st Centery Learning project for 12 months now. We have made significant gains increase creativity, collaboration, and critical thinking into our classrooms K-4.

Students are enjoying and motivated to work on the computers, iPads, iPods, and laptops in a variety of subject areas. They have no fear and will try anything. We have given them really solid lessons and practice on appropriate use and digital citizenship skills, now it is time to get out of their way.

We have just come back from Spring Break and we are checking the list:

  • Taught the 7 Habits of Digital Citizenship Check
  • Students have taken home the Digital Citizenship contracts, completed the at home portion and returned them to school – Check
  • We have a school division Acceptable Use Policy in place – Check
  • We have written a letter to explain to parent that we are moving towards a classroom environment that will support their child’s learning in the 21st Century and provide them with the skills of today – Check
  • The School Division has all schools supported with a wireless interface – Check
  • We have had teachers using wireless devices of all types to get comfortable and use to managing them – check
  • We have written a contract  for students to bring their own devices to school – Check
  • We have written a contract for students to have their own email and blog – Check
  • We have brainstormed and planned for anything that we can think of that might go wrong and have a list of Frequently Asked Questions – Check
  • We have read other teachers thoughts and plans for BYOD. (BYOD in Primary by @techang) – Check
  • We are ready – Check

Where do we go now?

  1. We send home the letter and contracts with students in classrooms as the teachers are ready for this big step.
  2. We teach/model/believe that our devices are tools not toys.
  3. We plan for the use of devices in curricular support activities that will enhance the students learning opportunity.
  4. We share with each other and around the world what is working and what we need to fix. WE COLLABORATE!

21st Century Learning – Project Update

Students at Iron Ridge Elementary have been showing an increase in engagement and learning as we have been moving into a 21st Century Learning Environment. Students and staff have been working hard to build their Digital Citizenship skills. We developend a program called 7 Habits of Digital Citizenshipto help support our staff with lesssons designed to teach effective digital citizenship. We have also been building classroom blogs and communicating with other classrooms around the world about their learning. As well, students are being provide more opportunities to use Web 2.0 tool to demonstrate their learning and more opportunities for showing their learning using technology.

How is this impacting our students?

It is always exciting to share success stories!

One day in early November I had a mother stop me in the hall and begin talking about our grade two blog.  The parent was very impressed with how it was/is encouraging her daughter to learn to write.  This particular student comments on our classroom blog on a daily basis(from home).  She is a competent student but the fact that she is thinking about her learning, commenting about her successes and even encouraging her classmates is engaging her more and more.  This was exemplified one day when we were talking in class about our blog and one student said she couldn’t do this at home.  So, my engaged student offered to hang out after school and show her how to make a comment.  Both girls did there ‘homework’ together right after school that day.

The students in grade one learn about seasons.  We had posted a global comment, asking other viewers to tell us what the weather was like in thier part of the world.  One of our replies came from Australia, from a grandparent of one of our classmates.  It was exciting for us to learn, that it is winter here in Alberta, but summer and NO SCHOOL in January, in Australia.

A student that needs literacy supports was given the ipad to practice an alphabet learning game.  Now, daily, this child asks if she can practice the alphabet bingo game.  This engagement has helped her to learn her alphabet letters in record speed. This is also the same student, that is able to answer anything about digital citizenship.

What road blocks are we facing?

Here at our school our road block in the model below is becasue of our web filter.

Is this block something that we can find a solution to? Yes, after successfully teaching 7 Habits of  Digital Citizenship to all children in our school and having families thoroughly understand digital cititzenship through our at home activites and contracts we can adjust our web filter. This would allow students and staff to freely use educational web sites to enhances teaching and students learning opportunities.

Pedagogy First!

Our technology project is titled “Pedagogy First”. We have started this blog for a number of reasons. Right now the top two are:

1. To document/journal our learnings as an individual and as a group.

2. To become familiar with WordPress since our long-term goal is for every student and staff member of I.R.E.C. to have a blog.

3. To create digital citizenship lessons based on the 7Habits. These lesson will for the most part be taught in the context of classroom blogs.