Alberta Initiative for School Improvement - AISI
Since 1999, the Alberta Initiative for School Improvement (AISI) has been at the forefront of encouraging and promoting creativity and innovation in Alberta schools. AISI supports projects that focus on student engagement, inquiry, critical thinking, 21st century learning, assessment, differentiated instruction, literacy, personalized learning, and much more.
Summary of our 2010-2011 Grade Team Projects:
- Kindergarten Team: This project began with an idea to record the songs the French Immersion teachers were using as part of vocabulary and oral language development (working from the idea that if you can’t speak it, you won’t read it or write it). The digitized songs are used as part of whole group, small group or individualized listening and viewing centres, and will soon be made available to parents for home practice. The initial idea has blossomed into a project to infuse iPod, iPad, and SMART board supported language learning activities in both the English and French Immersion Kindergarten classrooms. The teachers continue to record initial vocals and engineer the instrumental tracks for their song books.
- Grade One/Two French Immersion: This project began as an action research project with Dr. Martine Pellerin and the University of Calgary. The action research focussed on oral language development in French Immersion classrooms. The team continues to work with Dr. Pellerin now that she is at the University of Alberta, Faculté St-Jean. The new project examines differentiated instruction with a particular focus on purposeful integration of technology to support second language learning. The teachers have been working with iPod Touchs as a tool to record audio and video artefacts of the students’ journeys in the writing process, application of reading strategies and critical/reflective thinking. The devices also house the classroom songs used to work on vocabulary/language development.
- Grade Three: Exploration of Math instruction based on the works of Marian Small, Good Questions, Great Ways to Differentiate Mathematics and Catherine Fosnot, Measuring for the Art Show, Addition on the Open Number Line while incorporating student friendly “I Can Statements”. Using the UbD template the teachers began with “big ideas” and incorporated performance tasks requiring students to think beyond the “right answer”. The focus was on pre-assessment, performance tasks and post-performance discussions. Quantitative data became focussed on “Do they have the strategies to solve problems?” instead of “Do they have the right answers to problems?” Observational records became crucial to the teachers’ assessment strategies. The “talk” became an important indicator of how students were approaching various math concepts and where students were developmentally.
- Grade Four: Focus on development of integrated units using Understanding by Design planning framework – Science, Social, Math and Language Arts. Differentiating the learning opportunities for all students.