Now That’s Teamwork

I was recently excited to see a small, but very clear picture of the continuum of learning occurring here at Blueberry School and it was exciting!

Just before Christmas I received a letter from Mrs. Engel-Wood’s Grade 1 class asking for a new computer.  Unlike so many of us before her, when our SMARTboard stops working or our computer seems to take forever to stream videos or to log on we either get frustrated and stop using it or perhaps our computer accidentally meets with a cup of coffee!  Being the creative teacher that she is, Mrs. Engel-Wood saw an opportunity in her failing technology to provide a learning opportunity for her students.  Below is the result of her ability to leverage this challenge.


Needless to say, this class did indeed receive a new laptop to support their learning and for a little bit of movie fun during indoor lunch recesses!

Not long after I enjoyed experiencing this learning opportunity with our grade 1 class I received a really exciting email from our school ski club coordinator (yet another grade 1 teacher… hmmmm… an interesting pattern:)… I’ve pasted the email below.

Dear Mrs Lakusta,

I am thrilled to be taking part once again in the Blueberry Ski Club, and I would like to commendate you for your time and effort you put into running this program. I wish I had the chance as a younger student to take part in a program such as this and to have had the opportunity to learn skills such as these.

I deeply appreciate all you’ve done for this club and how wonderful you have made my experience, but I have an idea to suggest. As I understand the two busses to Rabbit Hill are divided up alphabetically by last name. A-M on the first bus and N-Z on the second. I only put this idea forward after also hearing the thoughts of other students. Although dividing the students up alphabetically is quite logical, it can make the 45 minute bus ride to rabbit hill quite uncomfortable and long for those on opposite busses as their friends (such as myself and many others). I only ask that you take the idea, of instead splitting the busses by grade,  into consideration. I do not know the exact number of how many kids from each grade will be attending, but you could divide them up in such ways as: Grade One- Grade Five on bus one, and grades six-nine. (The number of grades on each bus may need to be changed depending on attendance)

This system may also work more effectively then the alphabetical system because you would have all the grade ones and two’s, who must stay on the bus until their parents come to the hill, on one bus; therefore easier to keep track of. Also most students would be much happier to have the busing this way because most friend groups are within the same grade (obviously there will be exceptions to this). This way most students are insured of having a friend on the same bus as them. Students also will not have to deal with the “stress” of not knowing who they will sit with. Time also seems to go faster when you have a friend to sit and chat quietly to, making a 45 minute drive seem like 15 minutes. It can also be quite frustrating when you must spend time with other students that, perhaps are not your best friend, or you can’t connect with on a personal or intellectual level, this can easily make a 45 minute bus ride seem like 2 hours.

We must also keep in mind that for most of the student they will be attending all 4 ski club trips. This equals about 6 hours of total bus time. No one wishes to spend that much time without a friend to talk to. I understand that buses aren’t the “highlight” of ski club, but bus rides can be quite fun if you have the right people around you, to enjoy your time on the bus with. I understand that you and all the staff involved with the ski club wish for all students to have a fun and safe experience, changing the bus system so more students will be with their friends will only add to this experience.

Thank you for your time and for taking these points into consideration,

This amazingly well crafted email was written by a grade 9 student in our school who was wanting to impact change.  Clearly she understands how to do so in an appropriate, and extremely persuasive manner.  In the span of  one week, I was able to see the beginning of developing a voice through writing with Mrs. Engel-Wood’s class and the evolution of that skill within our grade 9 students.

It is clear that we have a community of learners and writers here at Blueberry School!

Shaye Patras

Principal, Blueberry School

About Shaye Patras

I am a husband and father of two fantastic girls. I currently work as the Principal of Ecole Meridian Heights School in Parkland School Division in Alberta, Canada. I am excited to be continuing my administrative career in this learning community!
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