Over the past two years, Redfish Elementary staff, students and parents have been working hard to develop a schoolwide commitment to our 'Mindset for Learning'. In the first year, we focussed our energy on learning about the brain and how it works. We learned how practise changes the pathways in our brain and how quickly our synapses fire when we have practised something. We learned that our brains need lots of sleep, good nutrition, lots of water and exercise in order to perform well. We also learned why it is so important to protect our brains with a helmet when we are out being active. The children were highly motivated and engaged as we studied this fascinating organ.
Once we all knew that we have control over own brain and can make it change and grow with practise and good care, we moved into creating mindsets that will help our brains learn best. Following a lot of discussion between the students and the teachers, we came up with our 'Mindset for Learning' affirmation, which helps us remember that enthusiasm, perseverance, courage, creativity and flexibility will help us take on new learning and grow our brains! All of our students, from Kindergarten to Grade 5, learned about the words and can make lots of connections to their own lives, to the lives of people around them, and to people who are making a difference in the world.
This year we are exploring how the students can apply the 'mindset for learning' to a project of their own choice. In the fall and early winter, we reviewed the brain, incorporated the language of the 'Mindset for Learning' into our classrooms and into our homes. As a school, we looked at the 'courage' of Terry Fox in the fall to get us thinking, and all of our students brought examples from their homes of how courage is shown in the community. Thanks to Act Now BC, Grade 4-5 students are connected with Kristi Richards, Canadian FreeStyle skier, learning how she demonstrates a 'mindset for learning' language in her World Cup tour. As a grand, school wide project, we are developing a Learning Fair for April 21 to give students a place to show what they can learn when they apply a mindset for learning to a learning project of their choice.
As a curricular connection, we are organizing our fair "under the umbrella' of Water. We are helping the children make many deep learning connections by:
- teaching a lifelong model of inquiry
- making many connections with the children to their love of water
- involving children in hands-on, multi-age activities to explore and play with water
- encouraging students to choose a topic that they are passionate about
- encouraging families to get involved in the learning project
- encouraging students and parents to reach out into the wider community to support their learning
- encouraging students to share their learning journey with their classmates
- helping children to reflect on their courage, flexibility, perseverance, creativity and enthusiasm through their planning, their project work and their sharing at the Fair
- exploring the use of social media in the school environment through our Water Project Facebook site
We are enthusiastic about the high motivation of our students as they reflect on their own mindsets for learning. We honour the courage and hard work of our teachers as they build their own learning and create thoughtful strategies and structures for student success. We appreciate the perseverance and dedication of our support staff in the creation of a rich and supportive learning environment for all children. We are encouraged by the depth of family and community support as we work to create a strong and positive learning environment for our next generation of learners.