Category Archives: Museum School

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And We’re Off!

This week we welcomed the Museum School Teachers for 2015/16 to a two day workshop at Glenbow.  Wow!  What a great group!  They were enthusiastic, energized and inspiring.

We kicked off the first morning embodying aspects of the word ‘Museum’.  This is WONDER!

Wonder

Wonder

We did some work with the fantastic paintings of John Brocke, practicing some thinking routines and playing with found poetry.

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Our afternoon was spent looking at our treasures behind the scenes on the 7th floor Cultural History Collection.  This led to a discussion about the importance of objects and the importance of preparing students for memory work.

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Day 2 was an introduction to Brain Gym and then a sensory writing workshop with the incomparable Judy Dofoo who asked the essential question, “Why do we ask our student’s to write?”  why writejudy cloth work

We wrapped up our afternoon with a discussion about what makes a memory indelible and ‘Write and Swap’ activity.

It was a full two days that left me thinking, as it always does after museum school workshops, that our students are in very good hands!

News: April 2015

Campus Calgary/Open Minds is holding another learning opportunity. This one will feature a Pop Up Museum!  Participants are asked to bring one artifact that represents the impact of the CCOM  experience on their class and their year.  The artifact could be a photo, journal, music, artwork or whatever you want!  When participants arrive they will be asked to create a label and add their artifact to the museum.  Let’s see what happens!  Some information on pop ups can be found here:  Pop Up Museum and here: Santa Cruz Museum of Art and History – Pop up

Participants will be given the opportunity to share their stories.  At the conclusion of the evening, we will create a collaborative art piece that reflects the conversations and stories that were inspired by the work done this year. Here is the Poster of Information:IMG_3878

Where: CBE Education Center 1221 8 St SW

When: Tuesday, April 28th, 2015

RSVP to Jennifer Gray by April 24th  jlgray@cbe.ab.ca

Doors open at 4:00 Workshop from 4:30 to 7:00pm

Hope to see you and your artifacts there!

 

Other things that have caught our eye!

From Judy Willis’s ‘Learning and the Brain’ :  Sleep Deprivation

When Class Is Dismissed, the Brain Works Overtime

Teachers’ working hours go far beyond the 8am to 3pm schedule of their students. There are hours spent at faculty meetings, correcting homework, preparing for the next day – and then there is the worrying. Nothing I ever did in a hospital emergency room or doing CPR required the intense mental energy needed to keep 30 kids attentive enough to learn what I was teaching.

Good teachers are like jugglers keeping a dozen balls in the air so come nighttime, with alarm set for 6 a.m. to finish grading papers, memories of the day that’s gone – including the students that didn’t understand something, forgot their lunch or were embarrassed by wrong answers – become sleep resistant barriers. Add to these the financial stress, about potential loss of income from spending cuts and job losses, and you have cycle of insomnia and, with it, a band of additional consequences.

The High Cost of Sleep Lost

With inadequate sleep comes irritability, forgetfulness, lower tolerance of even minor annoyances, and less efficient organization and planning. These are the very mental muscles teachers need to meet the challenges of the next day. In wanting to do a better job the next day, the brain keeps bringing up the worries that deny it the rest it needs to do that job.

Studies of teachers’ response to high job strain reveal they spend more time ruminating about work-related issues and their brains take longer to unwind. Sleep hours suffers as well as sleep quality.

We need sleep to think clearly, react quickly, and create memories. It is during the later hours of sleep (especially between the sixth and eighth hour) when the brain releases the neurochemicals that stimulate the growth of the memory connections. The average teacher is reported to sleep six hours a night, falling short of the most valuable sleep time.

It is also during sleep that the brain has some its most profound insights and does some of its most creative problem solving. During the day, the neural networks for highest cognition are kept busy directing the rest of the brain’s moment-to-moment decisions, choices, prioritizing, and just getting through the day. At night, these executive control circuits are free from those distractions. As seen on brain imaging, these regions can be extremely active during sleep. After such brain activity, the subjects often awaken with solutions to problems, new insights, and ideas for creative innovation.

If you are a sleep deprived teacher you may not be aware of the term “woodpeckering” but you have probably done it. It happens the following a bad night’s sleep. You’re sitting in a long meeting and you can barely keep your eyes open, so you prop your head up with your hand. Next thing you know, you are jerking your sleeping head back to its upright position. Do this a few times and you are “woodpeckering.” I thought I knew sleep deprivation when I did my medical internship. That year I frequently went 36 hours with no sleep. When I finished my residency in neurology, I welcomed the promise of full nights of sleep ever after. It went pretty well for the next ten years until I became a schoolteacher and experienced a whole new level of sleep deprivation.

Sleep Tight Tips When You’re Out of Pixie Dust

Increasing sleep time from six hours or less to eight hours promotes the growth of the brain connections that increase memory up to 25% and restore emotional calm, alert reflectiveness, and job efficiency. Here are some general and teacher-specific tips.

The best “sleep hygiene” includes regular sleep and wake schedules – even on weekends. Exercise is also good, but avoid vigorous exercise in the two hours before bed sleep. Vigorous exercise releases adrenalin and noradrenalin, both stimulants that could delay falling asleep. Vigorous exercise before bed also means it will take longer for your body to cool down to the lower temperature that promotes sleep. It is, however, great listen to calming music and do gentle stretching, yoga, and progressive muscle relaxation (going through each muscle group and tensing and relaxing it) before getting into your cozy bed.

Thinking about what you eat and drink before bed also has an impact. You may think you are avoiding caffeine, but look carefully at teas, soft drinks, cold and headache medications where caffeine may be hiding. Alcohol near bedtime might help you fall asleep, but when it wears off, you’ll awaken in the middle of the night and have trouble falling back to sleep. Finally, the environment in which you sleep should be cooler as this is more sleep conducive.

And For All a Good Night

For teachers, bedtime rituals can clear your brain of that ruminating about work-related issues so why not have a warm bath with relaxing music before you go to bed. It’s important to leave worries aside – literally – so try writing them down so you won’t be concerned that you’ll forget them.

If some worries do wedge themselves into your sleep cycle and awaken you, expel them by writing them down on that external brain notecard. Most importantly, let your last thoughts include self-recognition for the critically vital work you do and drift to dreamland recalling the day’s school successes and the faces to which you brought smiles.

 

Keep igniting,

Judy Willis, M.D., M.Ed.

jwillisneuro@aol.com
www.RADTeach.com

 

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Three Weeks/One School

We have been working with some new formats the last couple of years.  Originally, Museum School was unofficially limited to no more that two classes from one school within one school year.  This had practical reasoning behind it – reach as many schools, teachers and students as possible within the available 28 week year.  Open Minds serves two purposes, student learning and teacher professional development and in the early days, the shotgun approach spread this through the community.   Well, 20 years later, schools have changed, the methodology in the classroom now mirrors (for the most part) what we are trying to accomplish in the museum – student driven, inquiry based learning, and most schools have a teacher in their population who has participated in Open Minds.  So, is it time for us to change? – probably! 

We have had more schools apply with three or more classes all part of the same learning team – partly due to demographics, our city is growing,  and partly due to school organization.  I find working with a team of teachers fantastic!  It gives teachers with more experience with Open Minds the opportunity to mentor new teachers and entire grades in schools the opportunity to share their Museum experience.  More opportunities means more connections within their entire year. 

Our final three weeks were with three grade six classes.  The teachers planned their weeks together and shared their resources.  For us, it was eye opening to see three different approaches used within one framework.  Each week, even though the programs were identical, was completely unique but maintained a common thread to carry back to the school.  I think this approach, shared experiences molded to the individual student community and teaching style, worked brilliantly.

 The weeks all started with an object based looking activity that challenged the students to look deeply.  A “Welcome to Your Week” type of program!

The following day, building on looking deeply, the students participated in a writing workshop with writer and curator, Dennis Slater.  Now, they were asked to not only look deeply but to write a piece of fiction based on the object they chose.

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Building on this theme of story within object/art, the next day was an immersion into our gallery of arctic themed art to do some poetry writing and art making.

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 A trip behind the scenes into our collections to look at and hear the stories of a few artifacts continues to reinforce the importance of object as story holder on the second to last day of the week.  Students worked individually in the afternoon, seeking out artifacts that interested them and finding their stories.

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The last day, using all of the skills from the week ahead, the students used clues from objects to create an imaginary culture and debate the impact to their culture when they are contacted by a different culture.  The conversation that this initiated was an excellent kicking off point for their year’s big Idea, “What makes a global citizen?”  I think the stories these students found in objects and the importance of preserving the artifacts will affect their view on global citizenship.  Cool weeks!

The final word goes to a grade six student,

“Museum school was awesome. We got to put on a Knight’s helmet and gauntlet. We got to spend a whole morning in the Warriors’ gallery, where we had to find any weapon in the gallery that wasn’t a fire-arm and write a story about it.  On Thursday, we went into storage, we had to take a special staff elevator up to the 7th floor. Once we got there, Marnie took our group to Patty the dog. Patty was a World War I dog who went with soldiers in Canada all the way to France and helped out the soldiers.  Patty was most likely killed by gases, was stuffed, and sent back to Canada where he wound up at the Glenbow.  Then we went to hold a one handed 30 pound cavalry mace. In the afternoon we went to Mavericks, where we had to write a story on one of the vehicles.  I chose the Curtiss Jenny 4 airplane and wrote an awesome story.  In museum school, I learned about Canada’s history, about the pioneers, about European history with weapons, ancient Japan’s history and the First Nations.  I learned all about the hardships of life in the olden days, and what it took to be a knight. I would go back because there’s so much stuff that I didn’t get a chance to see, and I want to see it all.” 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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This Week in Museum School: May 2014

May 16, 2014

When students come to Glenbow we often see a remarkable transition.  Ideally, by day three of their week, the students have left the “Look! Look! Look!” of their initial distracted excitement behind and become true explorers; slowing down and looking and thinking deeply.  This week, we were constantly amazed at how much we learned from a group of grade 4 students!

On Wednesday, we looked at objects and learned what it was to be a Curator.  The students, in groups, are given a tray of 7-10 objects pulled from a variety of our collections, intentionally put together to make it difficult to find connections between the objects.  Their task, after studying an exhibit and thinking about what types of connections objects could have, is to choose three that connect, add a historical photo, and present their mini museum.  Frustration is common but so is the “Aha!” moment!  This group embraced the challenge – and one group gave me goose bumps!  This  group had placed a book, a bell and a pen and had come up with the connection of ‘School’.  “True, but not very interesting” I told them and then left them to think more deeply. photo (3)

When they presented their story, the objects were the bell, a telegraph machine, a pen and a photo of an avalanche shed over a railroad.  Their title was Communication: tools for disaster.

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The bell was to communicate to all around about the danger.  The telegraph, to communicate to those down the rail line and far away and the pen was to communicate to your loved ones and tell them you were safe.  Wow.  Interesting, connected and a great story starter!

 

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Welcome!

Jeff de Boer, 'Cyclone', 2006

Jeff de Boer, ‘Cyclone’, 2006

 

We have lift off!  Originally, we were going to create a simple blog where we could share articles we were reading, ideas that inspired us and pictures we liked.  But, like most things, what started as a simple idea morphed into a space where ideas could be shared and discussed, pictures and journal entries could be posted, objects could be studied and people and could be introduced. We hope this space becomes a virtual meeting place where you can share your successes, ask for assistance and see some of the awesome things going on @Glenbow!

Posts, like this one, show up at the bottom third of the page. Click on any to read.  Please comment! All comments and content are moderated so if you comment it won’t show up immediately.  If you want to narrow your search, check the very bottom of the page where you will see a group of words titled, ‘Categories’.  Click on any of those headings to narrow your content to only those posts that have something to do with that word.  If you have something you would like to share, contact us at mmccormack@glenbow.org and become a ‘Guest Poster’!

Just above the ‘Posts’ is a carousel of pictures.  This is where you will find mystery objects to click on and discover as well as articles about some of the amazing people that we work with at Glenbow.  Click on the beautiful turquoise case in this section for an article about our Cultural History Technician, Marcia Slater. This carousel of pictures will be constantly added to and if you want to narrow your search in this section, check the bottom of the home page, and next to ‘Categories’ you will see a group of words called ‘Projects’.  This will narrow your search in this field.

Above the Carousel are the big pictures.  These can also be clicked on for a description or possibly a story!

Also on the bottom left of the Home page, you will see our Museum School Twitter feed.  Please follow us @museumschoolYYC.

We also realized there was a need to simplify our questionnaire process.  You can now access the questionnaire for teachers and adults and submit it online.  In the Menu at the top of the page is a ‘Teacher’ category.  In the drop down menu you will see a title for Forms. In this drop down menu you will see both a ‘Teacher’ and ‘Adult’ questionnaire.  At the bottom of the ‘Teacher Questionnaire’ there is a place to drag and drop files, allowing you to share some of the wonderful photos and journal entries from your week with us.  The ‘Your Ideas’ menu item in this category is set up as a forum and you will have to create a password protected log in  identity.  Sign up just below the ‘Log in” button where you see the word, ‘Register’.  This is another opportunity to share museum school ideas, techniques and queries.

This web page would not exist without the wonderful, continued support of Chevron Canada Resources, our incredible, talented tech wizard Natasha Ivanco and Chris Heazell, Manager, Information Systems at Glenbow, who found us this space to play! Thank you all!