St. Thomas More is a vibrant and energetic teaching and learning community of 280 students who are always excited to involve themselves in new learning opportunities.
What was the goal for this project?
The school’s goal was to foster learning opportunities that will support success for all their students. The children attending St. Thomas More are digital natives and digital learners. They are comfortable with the use and integration of technology within all facets of their daily lives. Technology is an extremely valuable tool in educating diverse learners and meeting individual learning styles.
So, in partnership with the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation, the school was fortunate to have added two more SMART Boards and a Chromebook to their school technology. One SMART Board went to a class that did not have a functioning SMART Board and the second went to a Starting Points class, which was the only class in the school without a SMART Board.
The school was also able to purchase a Chromebook which has gone to the learning commons to support collaborative research for every class in the school to use during their learning commons periods.
How did this funding impact the school?
Providing technology in our learning commons, enables the school to move forward with Alberta Education’s Learning Commons mandate. In addition, the technology added to the learning commons also supports collaborative learning and builds inquiry skills in all students.
The acquisition of these three tools has made a difference for teaching and learning in the building. They have directly supported student learning and has targeted different learning styles, which positively impacts all students, especially diverse learners.
Who was involved?
- 280 K-6 students were involved
- 24 adults involved
Testimonials for the win!
“Ooo yes we get a SMART Board, I’m so excited to use it!!”- Student
“There are so many more interactive and engaging lessons I can do with the students now that I have a SMART Board. And this is going to be great for my visual and tactile learners.”- Teacher
“The new Chromebook is being used daily by students researching in the learning commons.”- Librarian/Learning Commons Technician
Fr. Whelihan gets physical with new athletic equipment.
We talked to Fr. Whelihan school about the new weight and cardio equipment they purchased thanks to a grant from the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF).
What was the goal of this project?
The project was to extend and supplement both our Hockey Canada Skills Academy (HCSA) Off-ice Program and Athletic Performance classes by providing students weight and cardio equipment.
The priority was to develop a program that would use materials that could be easily transported from our fitness equipment storage room to a small gym for student use. The equipment needed to be durable enough to withstand daily use by both our athletic performance classes.
The equipment also needed to be versatile enough to be used by students with little background in athletic training but also able to provide more advanced students and adequate challenge.
How did this funding impact the school?
Fr. Whelihan’s Hockey Canada Skills Academy was in desperate need of training equipment. In previous years, the HCSA off-ice comment was held at the YMCA facility, but changes to district policy resulted in our academy no longer accessing that external facility.
The grant has allowed the school community to purchase a complete set of portable weight and cardio equipment for students. The equipment can be stored in the school’s physical education storage room and is portable enough to be used in a remote location.
This equipment is not only used by our HCSA students, but also by all junior high physical education students as part of their regular physical education program of studies and by several staff members that train together after school.
The Testimonials Say It All:
“I love the new weight equipment. I much rather train at school than at a professional gym where I felt intimidated by older athletes and adults. My strength has improved, and this has helped my on-ice performance.” – Evan
“The new equipment is awesome. We have enough weight sizes that I am constantly challenging myself to use heavier weights “- Stevenson
“I was shocked at how much my hockey coaches know about training. It is really fun to train with them at school.” – Claire
Interactive Learning at St. Martha School
We talked to Principal Lynn Leslie about engaging students with Osmos, Makey Makeys & Little Bits
WHAT: Our goal was to introduce the students to new ways of learning and to introduce the idea of Makerspace in the Learning Commons. Specifically, we wanted to teach the students how to use the Osmo’s, Little Bits and Makey Makey’s in a responsible manner, have the students experiment with each of the new items and create something and increase math skills with the Osmo.
HOW: With the grant money, we purchased Osmos, Little Bits, Makey Makeys and IPads:
- Osmos/iPads are physical math/word manipulatives that link to an app on the IPad and allow student to get immediate feedback on their learning tasks (i.e. numbers, tangrams, letters, fractions, etc.)
- Little Bits are electronic pieces that allow students to create robotics related devices.
- Makey Makeys are devices that allow any material to become conductive and perform a task like game controllers, music composition etc.
- IPads, in addition to using them to interact with Osmos, are used to document the step by step documentation and reflection, as part of the challenge expectations.
WHY: The Osmo was introduced to the Grade 2 and 3 classes with much success. The students are very engaged in working together to solve equations with the Numbers software. Their excitement when a bubble bursts and they free a fish is over the top. After using it for a couple of weeks, their math skills have gotten sharper as they want to beat high scores.
The introduction of Little Bits and Makey Makeys to the Grade 4 and 5 students involved showing them what they were and how to use them. They were given a couple of classes to experiment with them. The students were then challenged to come up with a project using these items. In a group, the students had to come up with an idea, then research it, design it and build it. Some of the projects included: A Makey Makey Pac-man machine game, Little Bits monster car, Little Bits bubble machine, Dance Dance Revolution Makey Makey, Little Bits Bumper Ball and Water Music melody using Makey Makey.
- “I like the Makey Makey’s and the Little Bits because they are a little challenging but when finished, you feel accomplished.”- Jewel and Daniella, Grade 5 students
- “Both the Makey Makey and Little Bits in the Learning Commons are fun and I like that they are electronic.” – Tristan, Grade 5 student
- “You get to do epic things with Makey Makeys. You could play Pac-man and make controllers.” – Brooklyn, Grade 5 student
- “Osmo is epic. The Numbers game makes you smarter” – Randy, Grade 3 student
- “I love to use the Little Bits and Makey Makeys because they allow my students to create without any limitations. I love the idea that it connects to my Electricity and Magnetism unit and allows students to gain experience creating circuits through hands-on inquiry learning. I am excited that we have these resources in our school, because I believe that they really enhance our student’s learning.” – Grace Goudie, Grade 5 teacher
- “The technology involved in Makey Makey’s and Little Bits is so simple for kids to use and figure out, and the possibilities to build and create with them are endless! The students noted that you can create something that can actually be useful to you! Students really enjoyed how they could create something you wouldn’t necessarily expect, like building a piano out of a banana with Makey Makey’s. There is a strong curricular connection to Grade 4 as well with our Simple Machines unit and Building Devices and Vehicles that Move. Having more of these materials available to use would allow students more hands-on experience with building with technology for a purpose. Interactive hands-on learning is important for all students, but especially for our ELL population who tend to learn a lot by doing and experiencing. Technology is such a large component of our world and day to day life. Students need experience with using it in a positive and successful manner at a young age, in order to take those positive skills into their lives and the workforce when they are older. These simple, yet extraordinary technologies will foster creativity and possibility in students at a young age that can help instill an entrepreneurial spirit that they can take with them throughout their educational and professional journeys.” – Lindsay Anderson, Grade 4 teacher
- Our shift towards a Learning Commons environment over the past year has been slow and steady. The grant money allowed us to push full force into creating an environment of inquiry, imagination, problem solving and teamwork. I believe we have achieved one of the benefits as outlined by the Alberta Education ministry, “Learning Commons emphasize active and collaborative engagement and encourage the co-creation of knowledge by all learners”. The level of creativity and energy that is flowing through the room as the Grade 4 and 5 students work on their big projects using the Makey Makey’s and Little Bits is amazing. The Grade 2 and 3 students are so excited to play with the Osmos because they are working to beat high scores and advance levels; their math skills have increased because of this motivation.” – Kathy Conroy, Learning Commons Librarian
HOW THE CCEF HELPED:
The CCEF provided $3,950 in funding to purchase the new Makerspace items, which are positively impacting many students at this K-9 school.
Learn more about donating to the CCEF to help fund meaningful projects and school enhancements that positively impact Calgary Catholic students.
Father Lacombe High School – Senior Boys Basketball Trip to Saskatoon
With the generous support of the Calgary Catholic Education Foundation (CCEF), Father Lacombe High School was able to send its senior boys basketball team to Saskatoon to compete in a four day long tournament. This tournament was absolutely transforming for the basketball team. During the trip, the players came to understand the meaning of family, caring and trust through their interactions during the tournament. The experience gained during the tournament in turn helped students prepare for the 2011 Provincial Championships, in which they placed sixth in Alberta, putting Father Lacombe athletics on the map.
Father Lacombe is now considered to be a basketball powerhouse and has earned the respect of schools around the province. Furthermore, three students from Father Lacombe have had the tremendous opportunity to further their basketball careers in university. The chance to participate on sports teams is a tremendous opportunity and learning experience for all students.
Father Lacombe also received funding for new team uniforms. The school was able to purchase new uniforms for several teams at the school, including badminton, basketball, cross country, soccer, volleyball and wrestling. The new uniforms have had a strong impact on the students and athletes. It has positively impacted the players’ attitudes and confidence levels while participating in their sports. The student athletes are very proud to display their school’s colours and logo and represent the school with a new sense of pride. These uniforms have helped in building a strong school community where the students are eager and excited to represent their school.