UGIgnite! Educators engage in summer learning ahead of the school year
August 23, 2019
GUELPH, Ontario – Educators in the Upper Grand District School Board have wrapped up two days of summer learning as they prepare to welcome students back to school.
The board’s annual Learning Fair took place from August 22 to August 23. The two-day professional learning event encourages staff to ignite their practice as they head into the new school year.
This year, hundreds of educators participated in hands-on workshops led by UGDSB staff and heard from inspiring speakers.
The opening keynote speaker was Darby Allen. Allen was fire chief at the time of the devastating 2016 Alberta wildfires. As the fires swept through Fort McMurray, Allen guided 88,000 residents to safety with no loss of life. It was the largest evacuation in Canadian history. At the Learning Fair, Allen spoke to UGDSB educators about emergencies and crises and offered guidance on how to be a quick-thinking leader in difficult situations. Leadership isn’t for fun or to be popular, he told the group, but rather it’s for the betterment of the greater people.
Speaking to participants on day 2 was Orlando Bowen. Bowen is a team builder who has done incredible work in the UGDSB. He works with students, staff and community members through his One Voice, One Team program – inspiring youth to find their passion and use their gifts to serve others. At the Learning Fair, Bowen inspired the hundreds of educators who were in attendance and helped fuel their passion for their work in education and supporting students.
Dozens of breakout sessions were led by UGDSB educators and offered a wide variety of professional learning opportunities.
Battling Nature Deficit Disorder was led by Matt Timberlake from WHSS and Christina Reed from ODSS. The session helped empower educators to embed nature-based learning into their classrooms. The hands-on workshop took participants outside and included practical examples from K-12 and best practices.
Building a French Community in the Early Years was led by Spencer Anderson and Shannon Grist from École Arbour Vista PS. The workshop took participants through games and strategies to develop students’ French language skills and give early learners authentic learning experiences.
Global Competencies: Preparing students for success through the Arts was led by Cathy Bergen (GCVI), Jenny Ritter (CWDHS), Brayden Scott (WHSS), and Cheyenne Vivian (ODSS). The group shared research and strategies relating to the arts, global competencies and student success.
Brenda Sherry and Peter Skillen led a hands-on STEAM workshop where participants engaged in design challenges linking Design Thinking and the use of micro:bits.
Other workshops focused on topics such as math, coding, reading buddy programs, personal wellness, social media and more.
Those in attendance also heard from UGDSB students Sara, Lauren, Jade, Victoria and Katarina who spoke about the various ways students are making a difference. The youth shared a number of projects including a school-wide unlearn project and the vision and action of a group of students bringing a GSA to their school.
Staff left the event invigorated and inspired to start the year and welcome students back into the classroom.
To learn more about the event, follow #UGIgnite on Twitter.