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Growing Innovation Projects


Growing Innovation is growing in 2018! Added below to resources, documentation and information from thirty-three previous and sustaining Growing Innovation-supported projects are those from five new members of the Growing Innovation community for 2018. With a huge Growing Innovation welcome to those diverse projects, we look forward to continuing to inquire together and to have project updates, artifacts and documentation to share below, thereby to bring together so many inspired, and inspiring, educators currently transforming education, and their communities, in rural British Columbia.

JUST RELEASED!  New for 2018 is a New Pathway in Educational Change, this one on assessment.  A new Voices of Rural Education Video is also available (thank you again Laury!). 

Here’s a huge thank you to all of you who made the 2018 Growing Innovation Symposium such a success.  It is so good to get together in person!  Video documentation is coming soon.  Video documentation from the 2017 Rural Schools symposium is available, as well as from the the 2016 Symposium.

Find Growing Innovation Tweets (and don’t forget to follow @ruralteachers) by searching the #growinginnovation hashtag on twitter.

Begun as a UBC Faculty of Education – BC Ministry of Education partnership, the initial seventeen recipients of Growing Innovation grants, as well as one recipient of the Rix Merit Award, have seen the program grow and change.  From the impressive 61 submissions received from 36 rural districts, a remarkable response to the call for applications, those mapped and listed below (and since added to!) were selected for their focus on students in rural communities, innovation, and potential for research.

We are very pleased to represent this wonderful, diverse and important work, along with a growing collection of links from the projects.

First, find the projects, their descriptions and, in some cases, links, below by hovering over & clicking their mapped locations (new Growing Innovation Projects are the big dots):

And here is the complete listing, with all project and media links in addition to a growing library of resources:

New, Sustaining and Sustained Growing Innovation Projects

6. District: No. 60 (Peace River North)

Project Title: 21st Century Learning: PBL in the Energetic Learning Campus

At Fort St. John, the ELC project will look at how a healthy living environment and personal fitness affects student absenteeism, test scores, collaboration skills, student engagement and school culture.

Find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE

For a PowerPoint of a project based learning template, click HERE.

For a PowerPoint of a PBL Theme & Essential Question planning tool, click HERE.

For a word doc of this project’s Health and Movement Assessment Rubric, click HERE.

For a PDF of three critique lesson plans, click HERE.

A Word doc of a critique feedback form may be found HERE.

Note from Kim Boettcher: Critique is a form of peer assessment where students give other students feedback that is ‘kind, specific and helpful’.  Students are given more time to then incorporate the feedback into their project to bring it more closely aligned with the criteria.  The critique strategy was learned by teachers in School District 60 when they visited High Tech High in San Diego. All forms and lessons were adapted from the work of HTH teachers.

Project videos The Energetic Learning Campus and A Day in the Life of the ELC.

For project-related pictures, please click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

Here is the ELC’s Rural Schools Symposium 2016 presentation (minus Sheldon, unfortunately, and also the videos that the project contained, which made it way too big to put here).

This Link will allow you to access the ELC’s 2017 Rural Schools Symposium presentation which is quite a big powerpoint (with video) so give it a bit to download.

7. District: No. 62 (Sooke)

Project Title: Nature Kindergarten

The district will develop a Full Day Nature Kindergarten program that provides children the opportunity to learn in a natural setting where outdoor exploration is the foundation of all learning.

To visit the Nature Kindergarten blog, click HERE.

A PDF of the program’s pedagogical principles is HERE.

For a PDF of a Globe & Mail article on this program, click HERE.

A PDF article about the program on VictoriaBoulevard.com is HERE.

Green Schools Newsletter (Feb. ’12, PDF) features this project HERE.

Project produced videos are HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

Don’t miss Frances Krusekopf’s wonderful Frances’ TEDxVictoria talk from late 2015.

9. District: No. 64 (Gulf Islands)

Project Title: Connecting Generations

On Salt Spring Island, the Connecting Generations project continues to expand and redefine itself in response to the new opportunities it creates for students, educators and their community. Continuing is building bridges between generations through dialogue, intergenerational learning and relationship building.

New project videos: Surrendering to Spontaneity and Weaving a Mentorship: Room to Play and Stretch (More Growing Innovation videos)

For the project’s web site, click HERE.

Find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE

An article by project facilitator Dr. Ahava Shira: (The Bridge: An Intergenerational Space for Learning) may be found among the articles at Community Works Journal HERE.

For an item on this project in a local paper, click HERE.

For an evaluation of the “Bridging the Gap” initiative, Connecting Generations’ component of community fora, click HERE and for that of the “Building the Bridge” project (which involved an intergenerational team who created the program website and brochure) click HERE.

The project report to the Growing Innovation Symposium (PDF) may be found HERE.

For project-related pictures, click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

Feedback from “Abracadabra” – a forum about creativity at Salt Spring Island Middle School is collected in a handsome PDF HERE.

Connecting Generations November/December 2014 UPDATE.

Connecting Generations November 2015 UPDATE.

The stream that is Connecting Generations has many currents, including now a wonderful and growing collection of video documentation, most recently with “Creating a Safe Space – Gulf Islands Secondary School Writers’ Group,” a powerful testament to transformative culture in education. We hope you appreciate this work as much as we do, and can find in it inspiration to document your collective efforts in generating curriculum, community and new forms of life.

Continuing to evolve in 2018, this year Connecting Generations has found a new vector called “Writing Ourselves Homewards

In this CG incarnation, Sarah Hook-Nilsson and Ahava Shira will develop WOH to bring the Home Words project presently happening on Salt Spring, to Windsor House School in North Vancouver which is a part of SD 64 (Gulf Islands). Through the delivery of a half day workshop for a group of up to 15 students and teachers and/or community members at one of the locations where Windsor House is currently based, we will explore what “Home” means through the 4 step practice of Writing Alone Together: Writing Freely, Reading aloud, Listening Deeply and Bearing Witness. The benefits of this project will be that it will give us the opportunity:

– to test our rural based project in an urban environment, (without leaving the school district!)
– to witness how the 4 writing practices which we have used for 6 years on Salt Spring are applicable in a different culture
– to provide Windsor House School with a further opportunity to look at their own homelessness from another perspective and, we hope,
– to inspire adults and youth alike at Windsor House to continue this very valuable habit of “Writing Alone Together”

And finally (for now) don’t miss the November 2017 Connecting Generations Update.

16. District: No. 59 (Peace River South)

Project Title: Technology Embedded Learning and Assessment at DCSS

This project has evolved from a focus on Project Based Learning into examining the coordination and development of digital resources for students in concert with new ways of collaborating and planning among teachers at Dawson Creek Secondary School.

Find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE

For a video on student engagement and project based learning at DCSS, click HERE.

For a video on PBL in grades 10 & 11 at DCSS, click HERE, and for another on a number of different projects, click HERE.

To open a word doc from this project of a comprehensive “conversation” on student engagement, click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

A project report (Word Doc) on its Exhibition of Learning (held at the Encana Center in Dawson Creek on April 19, 2013), is HERE.

For project related pictures, click HERE.

This Link will allow you to access the project’s 2017 Rural Schools Symposium presentation which is a powerpoint and will be available for download in another window.

17. District: No. 74 (Gold Trail)

Project Title: Elementary Connected Classrooms

Elementary and secondary teachers and students in rural schools in Lytton, Ashcroft, Clinton and Lillooet will be linked in connected classrooms and via other digital (& also physical) means.

Please find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project (new for 2016!): HERE.

To view a project presentation, click HERE.

For the elementary classrooms blog, click HERE.

For the English 8 connected classrooms blog, click HERE.

For Elementary Connected Classrooms Technology Performance Standards (PDF), click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

For project related pictures, click HERE.

20. District: No. 50 (Haida Gwaii)

Project title: The Outdoor Classroom – Foods Work

This project investigates if meaningful, locally relevant, hands-on activities facilitate a positive school experience for students who struggle in traditional classrooms and if, by having a hands-on, food related course offering in a rural high school, benefits spin off into the larger school body, community and region – providing opportunities for further inquiry and further projects.

Teacher colleagues and Growing Innovation project participants at George M. Dawson Secondary School in Masset, Daniel Schulbeck and Derek Siefert have put together a vivid book entitled “Foods Work: Doing what comes Naturally on Haida Gwaii” which they have kindly made available through us HERE. (Note: this is a large 400MB .pdf download, but well worth the time it might take!)

For photos from this project, and the other Growing Innovation supported project on Haida Gwaii (listed next), please click HERE.

Don’t miss the voices of the children video we made with many thanks to all involved – from children involved both in this project and the Crawford Bay School Garden project (see #23 below).

As well, new in 2017 is a pretty thoroughgoing Foods Work/Outdoor Classroom project video we are privileged to share in the Rural Teachers Growing Innovation Video Gallery.

26. District: No. 10 (Arrow Lakes)

Project Title: Designing for Change

Students at four schools – and throughout the district – participate with teachers, local artists and designers, to investigate the forms and fruits of creative thinking, critical thinking and engagement in design thinking through hands-on project based learning.

As with all of the artifacts we are able to share here, we are so grateful to this project to be able to share their Rural Schools Symposium 2016 presentation materials. Unfortunately, along with this powerpoint we can neither convey to grace of Terry’s representation of their work in this project, nor the exceptionally beautiful video that was included in it. We will link to it here soon however…so please stay tuned!

Shared at the 2017 Rural Schools Symposium, with thanks we can now make available the people and initiatives of this project via their compelling Design Thinking Trailer.

Available here is the project’s 2017 Rural Schools Symposium Presentation – its a (pretty big) powerpoint available for download in another window (so give it a bit of time).

Here’s a lively and informative video from Hackathon & MakerDay 2018 at Lucerne Elementary/Secondary School.

27. District: No. 27 (Cariboo-Chilcotin)

Project Title: Cariboo-Chilcotin Outdoor Classroom

A very large rural district investigates moving rural education outdoors by engaging natural areas as sites for both curricular outcomes and connecting students to their natural communities – and to each other.

Thank you to fine project for sharing their 2016 Rural Schools Symposium presentation materials (.ppt show file – opens in new window).

31. District: No. 50 (Haida Gwaii)

Project Title: Community Connections

This project explores what happens when students are taken into the heart of the Haida community to nurture relationships and language learning with elders. It will create a community classroom (school outside the conventional school building) in order to empower First Nations learners through visits to the Skidegate Haida Immersion Program.

From Tricia we are very please to be able to share this Explain Everything Interactive Whiteboard for iPad-created project about Community Connections – debuted at the Rural Schools Symposium 2017 at UBC.

32. District: No. 74 (Gold Trail)

Project Title: Desert Sands Middle School

This project examines how interdisciplinary, project-based learning will promote student engagement, design thinking, and academic rigour in a small rural-school environment.

33. District: No. 91 (Nechako Lakes)

Project Title: Creating Engaging Community Partnerships for Learning

Through student-driven inquiry across a number of important local initiatives, this project will ‘diffuse the boundaries between school and community’ to better integrate the two both enrich learning and improve the community – while considering resultant student engagement and sustainable and generative local connections among school and its place.

Here are some project pictures that Mia shared with us (including a fine rainbow pic).

Don’t miss this project’s 2017 Rural Schools Symposium presentation (with Aboriginal Learning, Outdoor Education and Hogsback Lake cameo).

34. District: No. 6 (Rocky Mountain)

Project Title: Selkirk Secondary Professional Learning Community (PLC)

Through a concerted effort to increase capacity for collaboration and collegiality through inquiry, this project seeks to “challenge foundational understanding” to move thinking forward toward changes to high school programming. Including participation of students and community mentors, the PLC expects to propose a new model of high school education that deploys and values “genuine thinking” through a shared commitment to collaborative inquiry, interdisciplinary learning, place-consciousness, pedagogical innovation and competency-based learning.

35. District: No. 8 (Kootenay Lake)

Project Title: Integrated ADST: Innovative Student-Powered Implementation of Tech/Design

Combining professional collaboration among educators, schools, students and community, this project combines multi-age learning and student pedagogical and curricular leadership and design in a shared inquiry about the incorporation of technology in science, social studies, math and computer studies curriculum. Resourcing student strengths in technology for curricular and pedagogical design (among high school and elementary school students) looks to be generative, collective and inspirational, where “everyone gets to share and learn together.”

Denise Currie shared this wonderful presentation (here a .pdf) at the Growing Innovation Symposium 2018.

36. District: No. 48 (Sea to Sky)

Project Title: Reimagining Learning Structures in a Rural Secondary High School through Teacher Collaborative Inquiry Teams and Cross-Curricular Student Inquiry

This project engages time in schools, in looking to shift “structure and approach” in recreating a high school timetable (in Pemberton) in order for students to engage in a diversity of “personally meaningful, real world, and cross-curricular inquiry.” Through inquiry into changes wrought by teachers’ co-planning, co-teaching, and co-assessing in multi-disciplinary teams from throughout the high school curriculum, this project importantly also grapples with the complexity of the curricular politics common in communities’ reception of cross-curricular, inquiry-based learning. As education transforms in the 21st century, fearless collaborative inquiry is seen to help move it from compartmentalization and subject silos into the ignition of student curiosity in parallel with teacher collaboration and community development.

37. District: No. 53 (Okanagan-Similkameen)

Project Title: The Utilization of the Flexible Timetable and Learning Centres to Maximize Learning Opportunity for Students and Staff at Osoyoos Secondary School

In Osoyoos, this project inquires into teachers’ use of innovative teaching practices to best facilitate student learning. Combining flipped classrooms and flexible timetables, interdisciplinary and cross-curricular teaching, the project takes the form of a search, with teachers seeking to “find more meaningful ways to work together” for the benefit of their students and communities. Empowerment of students and the innovative commitments of educators in collaboration combine toward the transformation of schools, the renewal of curriculum and the revitalization of pedagogies.

38. District: No. 84 (Vancouver Island West)

Project Title: The Roy Watkins Elementary School Growth Mindset

In Gold River, teachers at RWES are exploring, via the Spiral of Inquiry method, the engagement of ideas from a shared study in very specific considerations of their practical implications and consequences. This allow a comparative process of inquiry into the manifestations and promise of the concept of growth mindset in sharing successes and confronting challenges together. By combining a shared practice of study and common engagement of method in specific instances (focusing each on a single child), the inquiry promised a richer understanding of growth mindset, proposed then as a fundamental part of school culture.

39. District No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay)

Project Title: Common Ground

In Sparwood, sciences, social studies, and First Peoples curricula are explored together in this project with student identity, and diverse student identities, as a ‘common’ focus. Through tanning animal skins, and expanding the activity both out (into community) and in (as identity exploration) many purposes will be served (including creating costumes for a play and selling skins) in a context of shared inquiry.

Growing Innovation Projects 2011-2016

1. District: No. 8 (Kootenay Lake)

Project Title: Digital Storytelling Project

Grade 6-7 students in the Slocan Valley Family of Schools (W.E. Graham, Winlaw, Brent Kennedy and Mt. Sentinel) are engaged in digital storytelling to document local culture and family heritage through interviews with senior community members and online research.

Visit the project web site HERE.

You will find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE.

Note:  Project leaders collect student perceptions of the project via Survey Monkey, which may be found HERE.

For a student reflection video from the Digital Storytelling Project at Winlaw Elementary, click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

2. District: No. 10 (Arrow Lakes)

Project Title: Values of the Doukhobor Community

Students in SD 10 reached out to Doukhobor elders, learned about the values of this culture, and produced films and a project blog reflecting their learning.

For links to project videos, click HERE.

For images of students at work on their projects, click HERE.

For images of the project’s community film screening and project presentations, click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

3. District: No. 48 (Sea-to-Sky)

Project Title: Connections Project

At Don Ross Secondary School in Squamish, the Connections Project provides opportunities for dialogue between Aboriginal, non-Aboriginal students and the Squamish First Nations community.

4. District: No. 49 (Central Coast)

Project Title: Educational Food Innovations

Students in Bella Coola will be taught to mill their own organic flour and grains to produce a wide variety of nutrient-rich foods in a project that will encourage them to make better nutritional choices.

For a powerpoint presentation about this project, click HERE.

5. District: No. 58 (Nicola-Similkameen)

Project Title: Aboriginal Academy 9

Students in Merritt will participate in authentic, hands-on Aboriginal activities aimed at enriching their understanding of the local culture.

View a project video on the SD 58 website HERE or on YouTube HERE.

To find this district’s projects & events in aboriginal education (including the Aboriginal Academy 9 under ‘projects’), click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

8. District: No. 69 (Qualicum)

Project Title: Global Citizens as Renewable Energy Consumers

Students at False Bay School on Lasqueti Island will build positive understandings of renewable energy systems and social responsibility by examining local solar, micro-hydro and wind power projects with area experts.

You will find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE

For project-related pictures, please click HERE.

10. District: No. 82 (Coast Mountain)

Project Title: First Nations Assessment Program

Kitwanga Elementary School staff will explore the use of culturally relevant assessment and teaching strategies to more effectively support their First Nations students.

11. District: No. 85 (Vancouver Island North)

Project Title: Collaboration without Boundaries

At Eagle View Elementary School in Port Hardy, this project will explore ways to encourage greater family participation in education through a wide range of communication tools.

Visit the project blog HERE.

You will find a Growing Innovation-produced video about this project HERE

For project-related pictures, please click HERE.

Webinar resources from this project’s 2013 Growing Innovation webinar are available HERE.

12. District: No. 51 (Boundary)

Project Title: Community Partnerships

The project engages students in Midway in Community partnerships, technology, and functional curriculum to focus on ways to support rural secondary students with special needs.

A very succinct and informative presentation on this project is to be found HERE.

“UBC Research grant used to develop curriculum” – Two local newspaper articles (PDF) about this project are HERE.

The following are links to materials developed as a part of the Community Partnerships project:

Completed by students each day before working at community partner locations, the Appearance Self-Check rubric (Word doc) is HERE, and the Daily Self-Check with Icons (PDF) is HERE.

Two examples of rubrics (Word docs) completed on site while working at the locations are HERE, and HERE.

A lesson worksheet (Word doc) designed to teach students with special needs about product expiration dates is HERE.

A Community Social Skills checklist (Word doc) is HERE.  Task Cards (Word doc) that students use when they work at the seniors facility are HERE.

For a list of resources/websites for mobile technology for students with special needs (Word doc compiled for this project by site facilitator Mary Stewart) click HERE.

The resource list (Word doc) for functionally differentiated curricula is HERE.

Growing Innovation Community Partnership Survey (blank – Word doc) is HERE, and the project write-up of survey results (Word doc) is HERE.

The project powerpoint presentation from the Growing Innovation Symposium is HERE.

13. District: No. 52 (Prince Rupert)

Project Title: Community Revitalization

Grade 9 students at Charles Hays Secondary School will explore the theme of urban development through a community revitalization project for Prince Rupert.

For project-related pictures, please click HERE.

Press release: Project grade nine class ‘outside the box’ HERE.

14. District: No. 84 (Vancouver Island West)

Project Title: Transforming school-wide Academic Achievement

This project will energize student learning at Zeballos Elementary Secondary School by focusing on purposeful, relevant, real-world experiences.

15. District: No. 57 (Prince George)

Project Title: Place-Based Learning in Mackenzie Schools

Students in Mackenzie Schools and seniors will work together to landscape a newly constructed senior housing facility.

18. District: No. 50 (Haida Gwaii)

Project Title: Community Outdoor Education

By focusing on student interactions, community involvement and environmental learning, this project investigates effects on school culture and the larger community, and new forms of learning from year-long and school-wide outdoor education.

For photos from this project, and and its fellow Haida Gwaii Growing Innovation project (#20, just above), please click HERE.

19. District: No. 10 (Arrow Lakes)

Project Title: Reconciliation Through Art

Students at Nakusp (Elementary & Secondary), Lucerne (Elementary & Secondary) and Edgewood (Elementary) schools work with Aboriginal Elders and artists to build understanding about the impact of residential schools on Aboriginal communities and Canada, and work towards reconciliation.

21. District: No. 6 (Rocky Mountain)

Project title: Intergenerational Learning

Educators in numerous schools in the communities of Golden and Invermere investigate intergenerational learning to understand its benefits to participants, challenges for educators, related/emergent pedagogies and curricula and, by contrast, the norms of monogenerational learning sites in terms of new possibilities.

For photos from this project, please click HERE.

Project edublog.

22. District: No. 91 (Nechako Lakes)

Project title: McLeod Grandparent Buddies

Educators and seniors’ care administrators in Vanderhoof investigate buddying between grade 3 students and seniors in terms of empathy, kindness, caring, and respect and acceptance of differences.

For images form this project, click HERE.

23. District: No. 8 (Kootenay Lake)

Project title: Evolving our Full Cycle Food Project: The Crawford Bay School Garden

From the Elementary/Secondary school in Crawford Bay, this project investigates food self-sufficiency in relation to youth leadership in community involvement.

Aimed at “developing youth leaders in the evolution of human-scale agriculture, local food processing, environmental responsibility, and community building”, The Full Cycle Food Project at Crawford Bay Elementary/Secondary School is now to be found HERE.

A helpful powerpoint presentation by Principal Dan Rude of Crawford Bay Elementary/Secondary School about the geneses of the Full Cycle Food Project is available HERE.

Because it expresses and develops so well what informs this project, and speaks to its place, Principal Rude’s blog may be found HERE.

For images from this project, click HERE.

Don’t miss the voices of the children video <style=”color: #000000;”>we made (with many thanks to all involved) – from children involved both in this project and the Foods Work/Outdoor Classroom Project in Haida Gwaii (see #20 above).

And for some video documentation of this wonderful project as it evolves, new in 2017 is “Growing Education in the Crawford Bay School Garden” in the Growing Innovation video gallery.

24. District: No. 73 (Kamloops/Thompson)

Project title: Local History of the North Thompson Valley

This project focuses on intergenerational learning as students at Clearwater Secondary School learn writing, speaking, video production and editing as they interview elders in the valley to capture local stories.

25. District: No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay)

Project title: Medieval May

Students at Sparwood and Elkford Secondary Schools engage in the annual creation of an interdisciplinary event designed to foster community across the student body while achieving learning outcomes in creative ways.

28. District: No. 5 (Southeast Kootenay)

Project Title: The Rocky Mountain Elementary and Elkford Secondary School Greenhouse Project

Students at two secondary schools collaborate in creating and maintaining a greenhouse and garden, and to investigate how students thereby come to engage healthy food choices, how school culture transforms and how relations among the schools improve as the result.

Project photos.

29. District: No. 73 (Kamloops-Thompson)

Project Title: MacGyver Maker Fair

Involving all students within Clearwater Secondary school, along with teachers and some community members, this project investigates a wholly new format for student engagement while allowing teachers new ways to approach and develop project-based learning in communities of practice.

30. District: No. 83 (North Okanagan-Shuswap)

Project Title: Growing with the Community in Eagle River Secondary

From a welcome new district to Growing Innovation, this project develops and explores new forms of school/community involvement, including in public administration (through town council participation) and school/community academic partnerships.

The Third Rural Education Symposium was held at U.B.C. May 23, 2015. With a great deal of appreciation for the foundational work of Dr. Linda Farr Darling, it was wonderful to see so many committed & impassioned educators discussing innovation in rural sites of learning!!

Questions may be directed via this site or directly to Dr. Leyton Schnellert by clicking HERE.


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