Well, we made it past the first week! I have had an incredible time meeting my classes, students, and reconnecting with colleagues. The summer was almost a blur and piloting L E A D was possibly one of the most rewarding experiences I have had so far in SD36. I had the opportunity to work with two of the most supportive colleagues (Melaina Dolcetti and Stacey Cap) to create an inquiry-based program that truly met the needs of our most vulnerable students at Fraser Heights. I left the program in late July with a sense of accomplishment, gratitude, and relief. To validate our hard work, I have felt welcomed back this year at Fraser Heights Secondary (as a continuing teacher, finally!) thanks to the smiles from our beloved LEAD graduates and current students.
Along with many new programs at Fraser Heights this year, I am most excited about Innovation Week (Nov 12-18 2013). Inspired by Jesse McLean and his work on innovation week in Spruce Grove, Alberta, our school is holding our own week of passions in the Fall. Based on what we saw from our students this summer I cannot wait to experience the passions of close to 800 of our students.
Now, some of you might be wondering what is new in FH Home Economics this year? Well, for one, we are offering two blocks of Family Management, which is new to my career at Fraser Heights. The focus this year is on one of my passions: relationship building. Students have been ecstatic about the course content so far. Most importantly, this year we introduce electronic babies (courtesy of the fine and collaborative folks – Carrol Keane and Sharon Kurceba – at Enver Creek!) that will roam the halls sometime this semester. If you haven’t experienced them before I will not say too much because they are, as I say, a hoot-and-a-half!
This is my contribution to “innovation week” this year: the Fraser Heights S-Club
To the surprise of some of my students and some of my colleagues, my undergraduate degree was in Family Studies and not Food Studies. My close-to-number-one passion and raison d’être is human interaction and interpersonal dynamics. Topics surrounding communication, conflict, and human activity fascinate me and many of my activities in the classroom cater to pushing some of the boundaries surrounding these topics.
This passion of mine lead me to create my mini-project for this year: supper club. Our culinary arts classes will be holding invite-only monthly supper clubs where each student is encouraged to bring a member of the community (a teacher, another student, a parent, an elder, a friend, a colleague) to a luncheon designed by one of the groups in the class. It will be important to invite a range of guests that will hopefully prove to encourage a range of conversations. Through these supper clubs we will begin to discuss how to interact with others and new people; how to start, maintain, and end conversations; and how to engage in a variety of topics. It has started off as a small idea based on my experiences in the summer and love of connecting food and socializing. So far, I have presented the idea to my classes and they are in the process of designing these events.
I will keep you all posted on how the plans progress! At the moment, most of the students in my class are very excited about how they will invite their special guests – video invites, mascots, maybe a jumbotron?
Have a great year of passion, innovation, and magic with others!