News

Field trips are an important part of the experience we try to create for students at Kells Academy. They offer a chance for them to have some fun, socialize with one another outside of a school setting and to experience some of Canada’s most interesting tourist attractions.

This October, the grade 9 class took an overnight trip to the historic and beautiful Quebec City. In an action-packed two days, our students took part in a number of exciting activities. Along the way, they learned about nature, history and even outer space! Keep reading to find out about some of the most memorable moments of this unforgettable experience.

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At Kells Academy, technology is an essential part of our classrooms. Students each have access to an iPad, which they use to receive assignments, ask questions, collaborate with their classmates, and so much more. Along with Smartboards and iPads, teachers use a wealth of online applications like Pear Deck for interactive presentations, Go Formative for real time assessment and feedback, and Google Apps for Education which allows students and teachers to seamlessly share information, write notes, and work together.

We also know that an important part of using technology in the classroom is staying up to date with the latest changes. Technology is evolving and developing in new ways all the time, which is why Kells teachers participate in a continuous technology-training program. Our latest professional development focused on video creation to facilitate flipped classrooms which enable students to preview lesson content through a personalized video. This allows for maximum interaction between teachers and students during class time in order to provide support and feedback towards lessons and concepts.

Why make technology such an important part of education? Here are just some of the many essential benefits this approach offers.

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The Terry Fox Run is an annual worldwide event dedicated to raising awareness for cancer research. Across the globe, runners line up to cover various distances in honour of the race’s namesake, Terry Fox, who first began the tradition in 1980. After being diagnosed with bone cancer, Terry was inspired to run across Canada from the Atlantic to the Pacific Ocean in what he called the Marathon of Hope.

Since its inception, the Terry Fox Foundation has raised over $715 million in independent donations through the annual run. People from all walks of life are welcome to join the race and celebrate the ethics and values that Terry represented when he first set out to cross the country, and the students at Kells pitched in and organized a run of their own. Read on to hear more about how our students participated in achieving Terry’s goal.

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In the traditional classroom, learning involves a teacher delivering instructional content, usually by lecture format. Homework is assigned and done at night.

In the flipped classroom, this model is reversed; students watch videos of the lesson at home and come to class the next day prepared for discussion, and what up to now we considered homework. This frees up classroom time for more personalized learning, and means teachers are available to offer assistance and feedback.

The advantages of the flipped classroom approach are many. In a traditional classroom, students are often reluctant to ask questions for clarification. A video, however, gives students the opportunity to press the pause button and repeat. Students can also ask a question online and never have to hear the teacher ask, “Do you understand this?”. Where there are gaps in their knowledge, students can refer to previous videos.

Learning at their own pace and in the privacy of their home empowers students. It humanizes the classroom, and offers teachers an opportunity to get away from the one-size-fits-all model of teaching. The other advantage for the teacher is that time is freed up to walk around and interact with students. This helps them to diagnose problems on the spot, rather than waiting for a test or a quiz.

Data from schools that have used this model indicates that the flipped classroom approach is an effective tool in delivering curriculum. Parents at Kells have made many positive comments on flipping, too. They say that this method of teaching considerably removes stress at home at homework time. They also find that students are more willing to discuss homework, and that it helps develop independent learning in their children.

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Students today grow up in a world that is increasingly utilizing the internet and digital devices. Whether connecting with friends online, conducting research for an assignment, or browsing sites for fun, children experience technology as an everyday and essential part of their lives.

This can offer many important benefits. Technology allows students to access a wealth of terrific educational resources and stay in contact with friends from all over the world. However, it is equally if not more important for students to learn how to use this technology responsibly. Digital citizenship means approaching online resources critically, safely, and in a courteous and professional manner.

Of course, being a local leader at integrating technology within the classroom means Kells Academy also helps students learn to harness it in a positive way. Continue reading to learn how our middle school fosters digital citizenship.

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