Best Practices

In our quest to bring innovations to NorKam in order to improve student learning a number of things are informing how we are looking at making improvements in what we do.  Some of these things are of interest to the whole staff, while others may of interest to a department, an interest group, or just one or two individuals. Below is a list of some of these with a brief summary of what it is and links to more detailed information:

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Understanding By Design - is a planning process and structure to guide curriculum, assessment, and instruction with the two key ideas being: 1) a focus on teaching and assessing for understanding and learning transfer, and 2) the design of curriculum “backward” from those ends.

Universal Design for Learning - "is a framework to improve and optimize teaching and learning for all people based on scientific insights into how humans learn."

Project Based Learning - "is a dynamic classroom approach in which students actively explore real-world problems and challenges and acquire a deeper knowledge."

Problem Based Learning - closely related to project based learning, "problem-based learning is based on the messy, complex problems encountered in the real world as a stimulus for learning and for integrating and organizing learned information in ways that will ensure its recall and application to future problems. Problems are raised at the start of the topic, before they have been taught some of the relevant knowledge. By actively engage with the problem, learners develop skills around finding information, identifying what information they still need and possible sources of that information. Learners are able to connect what they are learning in class to their own lives and important issues in their world."

21st Century Skills - "refers to a broad set of knowledge, skills, work habits, and character traits that are believed—by educators, school reformers, college professors, employers, and others—to be critically important to success in today’s world, particularly in collegiate programs and contemporary careers and workplaces." Our desired attributes for the NorKam graduate: adaptability, inquiry skills, and global citizenship are such skills.

Instructional Rounds - "Inspired by the medical-rounds model used by physicians, the authors have pioneered a new form of professional learning known as instructional rounds networks. Through this process, educators develop a shared practice of observing, discussing, and analyzing learning and teaching."

Higher Order Thinking Skills - "Higher order thinking skills include critical, logical, reflective, metacognitive, and creative thinking. They are activated when individuals encounter unfamiliar problems, uncertainties, questions, or dilemmas. Successful applications of the skills result in explanations, decisions, performances, and products that are valid within the context of available knowledge and experience and that promote continued growth in these and other intellectual skills."

Literacy Skills - "help students gain knowledge through reading as well as using media and technology. These skills also help students create knowledge through writing as well as developing media and technology."

BCed Plan -  The Ministry of Education's new plan for education in British Columbia with the goal of producing "capable young people thriving in a rapidly changing world. To achieve this, we need an education system that better engages students in their own learning and that fosters the skills and competencies they will need to succeed. The focus for this transformation is the movement to increasingly personalized learning, which is enabled and supported by quality teaching and learning, flexibility and choice, and high standards."

Professional Learning Communities - a collaborative approach to improving student learning based upon three key ideas: 1) ensuring that all student learn, 2) a culture of collaboration, and 3) a focus on results. Successful implementation of a PLC will see all students learning to high levels, teachers sharing effective instructional practices, and classroom-based, data-driven decision-making.

International Baccalaureate Programme - NorKam started delivering this International curriculum in 2013 and the ideals and goals of the program are informing our practices in the regular program as well.  This is particularly true of the Learner Profile which describes 10 key attributes for the IB learner.

Revised Bloom's Taxonomy - like the original version, the new taxonomy is a framework for classifying statements of what we expect or intend for students to learn as a result of instructional practices.