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Read and rate Travel Journal Entries for Calgary, Alberta, Canada

May 18, 2017 - Day 5

The second visit to Robert Thirsk cleared up many questions that I had from yesterday. I learned more through the observation than I have in the other three days combined. I was again impressed by the fact that their is, for intents and purposes, no attendance policy. While some of the other observers did not like this, I did, because as a teacher, I don't want anyone in my class that doesn't want to be there. I love how they make students take responsibility for their own education, which is something that American students that fall...

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Trip Journal


Canada Study Abroad

May 18, 2017 - Day 4

Day 4 offered a different look into high school that we hadn't yet seen. We went to Robert Thirsk High School, the school that Nelson Mandela school was based off of. We learned a lot more about how they do things at there school, including the cohorts they separate students in, like red, blue, and orange. We also found out about their connect groups, which seems like an excellent idea to bring to the States' schools. Basically their connect groups are used for students to visit their other teachers if they need help or work on anything...

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May 17, 2017 - Wednesday, May 17

Everyday on this trip has been beneficial, but this day seemed especially useful. The school we toured was, in my opinion, the perfect balance between structure and freedom. The teachers I talked to were all very helpful and willing to discuss the school and classss with us. One was especially awesome. She gave me a rubric to an assignment I absolutely will use in my classroom. As far as culture discoveries go, the school itself showed me a progressive but practical school that Canada does so much better than MS. Hopefully I can use what I...

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May 17, 2017 - Education in the "Thirsky" Way- Day 1

May 17, 2017 Wednesday Robert Thirsk High School Robert Thirsk High School definitely has their own way of doing education. They even have their own word for it; several teachers referred to some ideas as very "Thirsky." It is a word they use for ideas, procedures, or tasks that line up with their philosophy of student choice. These "thirsky" ways look pretty different from what I am familiar with in the States, but what they are doing seems to work. They give students freedom, but there is also a good bit of adult control, especially for...

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May 17, 2017 - Day 3

Day three has been my favorite so far. We were able to finally go to a Canadian school and see what life is like for the students there. Suffice it to say, our differences, culturally and school wise, are quite astounding. Perhaps the biggest surprise came when dealing with the 150 year celebration for Canadian independence. The vast amount of cultures represented at the Nelson Mandela High School was incredible to see. Various dances from all different cultures were great to watch. But I do wonder, exactly, why there weren't any Canadian...

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May 17, 2017 - Day 4

Robert Thirsk was just as experimental as Mandela, which makes sense, given that Mandela was so heavily inspired by Thirsk. In the few classes that I went in, I was impressed by the level of freedom students are given. I am also a fan of the connect period, as it breeds a connection between students and teachers. I was blown away that they have less than a 1% dropout rate, but I was less so when I heard about the essentials packet. The way it was explained to me feels like a bit of a cop out, but I will ask further questions tomorrow, and...

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Trip Journal


Canada Study Abroad

May 17, 2017 - Calgary Day Five

Today was our fifth day in Calgary, Canada, and we were given the opportunity to visit Robert Thirsk High School. Robert Thirsk is my favorite school that we have visited while on this trip. I feel like the school had all of the good parts of Nelson Mandela High School, and it has a lot more structure. Robert Thirsk is the school that Nelson Mandela modeled itself after, so it also has a lot of the same things that Nelson Mandela has. For example, Robert Thirsk has times set aside for Focus, where students can get extra help, and Connect,...

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May 17, 2017 - You don't have the right to interrupt someone else's learning.

Today was the day for our visit to Robert Thirsk High School where the senior METP group went last year. This high school is also under the new redesign and is actually the high school that Nelson Mandela High School. was based off of. Therefore, there are many similarities in the two; RTHS is just a little older. At RTHS though, there was a lot more talk about assessment of students and how marks (grades) are determined/reported. I’m going to be honest here, the grading completely confuses me even after intently trying to understand the...

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Trip Journal


METP Canada 2017!!!

May 17, 2017 - Day 05 || Thirsk

Robert Thirsk High School is named after an astronaut (still living)! He is a strong advocate for education and he visits the school periodically to speak. As a result, all of the school areas are named after space things--such as the common area The Space and the small school store The Dock. This is also the school that inspired the structure and facility access of Mandela! We received a brief introduction about the structure and philosophies of the school from a few of the teachers before observing their Focus period (described in the...

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"America but cold"

May 16, 2017 - New Eyes for Education

May 16, 2017 Tuesday Nelson Mandela High School/Foundations of the Future Charter Academy Today, we toured two different high schools in Calgary: Nelson Mandela High School and the Foundations of the Future Charter Academy. We began at Nelson Mandela High this morning, and the facilities were absolutely stunning. The school is very new, and the structure of it stemmed from the idea to redesign high schools in a more functional way. Nelson Mandela School did just that; one of my favorite structural aspects of the school was the learning...

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May 16, 2017 - Day 04 || The Education Spectrum

We drove to Mandela High School--named after Nelson Mandela and modeled after his philosophies--and started with a panel of teachers and students. The most unique things that they talked about were "Connect" and "Focus" periods. Connect is time dedicated specifically to build personal student-teacher connections, and Focus is a period of individual instruction where students visit their teachers for subjects in which they need most improvement. I understand it as a mix between study hall and office hours! The students gave us tours of the...

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"America but cold"

May 16, 2017 - Day 2

The second full day in Canada was eventful, to say the least. We spent the whole day at a Catholic school learning about the history of the Native Americans, or the Aboriginals, and the atrocities they have faced over the years. While the content matter was disturbing, I cannot say that I was too surprised. Our own treatment of the Native Americans was far from decent either. The schools that Canadians forced Aboriginals into were terrible, but I had no idea that they existed up until 1996, a year after I was born. However, as eye opening...

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