Kahoot Trivia Challenges

 

The second meeting of the Boardgame Club has staff and students going head to head in trivia games of various topics using the online platform website Kahoot! Kahoot! is a game-based learning platform, used as educational technology in schools and other educational institutions. From news of the week, Marvel, and general knowledge to pop culture, we tried answering questions correctly to see who would reign as trivia grandmaster. At the end of the hour everyone learned something new as no one can know everything. It was another week of laughs and fun and we are eager to see what we will play next.

Doodles & Giggles

 

In our inaugural meeting last Wednesday, the Boardgame Club had 10 students drop in for an hour of doodles and a lot of laughs as we played a game called Drawful 2. The game involves a group of people each of whom are given a different prompt to draw. After everyone draws their prompt, the group takes turns guessing each players’ prompt and points are awarded for the correct guess as well as answers the group considers to be correct or worthy of a vote. We had a lot of laughs and everyone thoroughly enjoyed the hour. We can’t wait until next week’s game.

Grade 11 Biology Unit 3 – Genetics

Jumping back into the thick of things after our break, the new virtual biology classroom delved into the brand new unit of genetics. We began the unit by discussing the structure of DNA and built up to what genes are and how they are expressed. Once we were comfortable with the structure and expression of DNA we looked at the process of how it replicates itself and then moved on to looking at the processes of mitosis and meiosis. Next we ventured into the world of genetic disorders, focusing more on the different types of disorders and looking at a few examples of each and how they manifest.

As the unit came to a close, we explored various reproductive technologies and their links to genetics and ended the unit by discussing the various ethical, social and legal issues related to genetics, genetics research and technology. This set up students to start thinking about genetic disorders and the various issues related to them, which is what their unit research project was centered around.

Grade 9 Science Unit 3 – Space Exploration

As schools and students have moved to online learning, the grade 9 science class is fortunate to have had the opportunity to do so with a fresh start on a new unit called Space Exploration. In this unit we started off by discussing the history of astronomical discovery and the important roles it has played in the evolution of our societies. We then moved on to exploring our own backyard by cataloging some of the characteristics of the planets in our solar system by exploring NASA’s planetary website.

After we were done in our own backyard, we ventured farther and father out into the universe, looking at all of the vast structures it has to offer. Eventually we spent an entire class talking about stars, their characteristics and how they live and end their ‘lives’. Upon learning about stars, we went back into deep space and learned about various astronomical phenomena, from those close to us such as solar and lunar eclipses, to the more exotic ones such as black holes, quasars, and pulsars. We ended the unit by discussing the various challenges of exploring space which prepared students for their mission to Mars assignment.

Online Education: A Not So New Frontier with a New Twist

YMCA Academy moves to online classes - Students participating in clubs and classes

 

We are undoubtedly living in a period of time that will be written about in the textbooks of many disciplines. What is written about, however, is up to us. For a small, independent school like ours, history will say we gazed into the face of sudden change and uncertainty with confidence. There are many advantages to being big, but being small also has its benefits. Our small size affords us the ability to move quickly and decisively in order to continue offering our students with educational opportunities that will keep them on a path of earning credits.

We are now three weeks into this brave new world of online learning, and what we have experienced thus far is more than we had ever anticipated. The biggest and most surprising revelation from the first day, and one that has continued every day since, is the attendance record of our students in all courses across the board. Class attendances of 98-100% are the norm, an indication that our students are eager to continue learning, and that learning online, even with its expected shortcomings, gives our students a sense of normalcy that is psychologically and emotionally necessary in these bizarre times. Not only are students showing up for online classes, they are participating and getting work done.

After our first two weeks of online learning, we reflected on our collective experiences and introduced an entire day dedicated to the social and emotional well-being of our students by creating online clubs for them to attend. After school clubs are an important part of our school, and allowing our students to continue attending them was an easy choice to make. As such, we have several time slots for various clubs available to students from 10 am to 2 pm. Some of the clubs, such as Dungeons and Dragons and Cooking Club are old favourites, but we have also introduced new opportunities for students to socialize, such as board game club.

Learning online is not all sunshine and rainbows. There are obvious shortcomings and pitfalls. These challenges, however, are the exception and not the rule in the virtual learning space we have been able to create for our students. The overwhelming feedback from our students and their parents/caregivers has been positive. We have taken their feedback and, along with our own experiences and observations, have prepared ourselves to be ready to continue offering the best possible experience for our students in order to afford them the opportunity to continue learning and earning credits. “Being challenged in life is inevitable, being defeated is optional,” said Roger Crawford. At the Academy, defeat is not in our vocabulary. Learn On!