Last month saw 50+ site based educators gather in Calgary at Glenbow Museum and City Hall to network, share ideas be inspired. We are a loosely knit group that spans the country – from BC to Newfoundland and the USA. Every couple of years we gather to rekindle the flame that got us all started in the first place. Here are a few highlights -
Our week started with a keynote delivered by the education rock star, Laurel Schmidt. Laurel grabbed our imaginations right from the get-go. We were asked to recall one memory from the past that led us to what we are doing now – and then – what it was about that memory that made it ‘Indelible’.
Our sites work because they inspire curiosity, and with that the desire to dig deeper to find answers. Learning is personalized and the rewards are authentic and intrinsic. Having an author read and reflect on your writing builds authentic confidence in your abilities. We learned about the importance of novelty when learning and how brain science supports what we do and how we do it at our sites. All in all an inspiring morning filled with ideas to reflect on and act on!
The key takeaway for me was networking with peers in every type of site – from historical sites to nature sites- we all have the same goal of making learning authentic. A lunch time Pop Up Museum themed with “Mining the Gems” was an excellent overview of what we do and gave us a chance to see the work being done at other sites.
A workshop showing the process of creating the new direction within the Alberta Curriculum was enlightening as it followed the method we use when creating programs and weeks for our teachers. Start with what is important, a big idea, and fan out to find the questions that can be explored.
If, Then, So… Cool template to think about in our planning!
We wrapped up the conference with a panel of stakeholders that was visually journaled by Calgary Graphic Recorder, Sam Hester.
We wrapped up with the founder and driving force of Beyond the Classroom, Gillian Kidd. Gill shared the stage with Margaret Holtschlag, founder of “The Big Lesson” in Michigan. Always good to reflect back on why we do what we do and why it is important!
Can’t wait to get this group together again in a couple of years!