Personal Life Management In a Nutshell



They say that students these days should learn about personal finance and the basic skills of independent living. Well. Guess what. There are a smattering of courses in the high school curriculum, and one such course is a grade twelve course called Personal Life Management. The course is broken down into several units as follows:

    • Research and Inquiry Skills
    • Self and Others
    • Daily Living Skills
    • Personal and Social Responsibilities
    • Economics and Personal Finance

With the faster pace of our new octomester schedule, the course has been reorganized into new units, taking the running themes found throughout the aforementioned ones. The newly formatted units are:

    • Becoming an Adult
    • Employment
    • Money Management
    • Managing a Home
    • Research and Inquiry Skills

This new format allows us to focus on these major themes one at a time instead of learning about them in segments spread throughout different units. Throughout the course, students will learn about:

Becoming an Adult

  • The roles and responsibilities of adolescents vs. adulthood
  • Communication skills
  • Goal Setting
  • Decision Making Models
  • Conflict and Conflict Resolution

Employment

  • How to get a job and excel at it
  • Workplace Rights, Responsibilities and Laws
  • The Costs and Benefits of Working

Money Management

  • Spending Habits and Dealing with Economic Changes
  • Money Management Strategies
  • Financial Institutions and their Products and Services

Managing a Home

  • Keeping and Managing a Safe and Functional Home
  • Meeting Food and Clothing Needs
  • How to be a Smart Consumer

Research and Inquiry Skills

  • Exploring Topics
  • Investigating Topics
  • Processing Information
  • Communicating Information

The course is not only practical and of major importance, but a course that students really enjoy. By the end of this course not only will students have the knowledge and understanding of how to live on their own, but they will also (hopefully) appreciate the level of effort and responsibility their parents/guardians put into providing for them!

Very Short Fiction Writing

At the Academy, students are taking on the challenge of Very Short Fiction Writing. A skill of concise writing to convey plot, theme, mood, and character in the shortest possible formats. Creating a cohesive storyline has its own set of challenges, developing powerful characters can be very tough, and building a theme and mood into a piece of literature is a difficult skill. Trying to do it all in a single page? Now that takes skill. The real challenge though: can you do it in only 6 words?

This is the question that was asked of the Grade 10 English class this Spring. They took on the task of creating meaningful stories in a single page, and the advanced mission of creating a story within the limit of only 6 words. The stories ranged from tragic, to comedic, to dramatic, to romantic.

What’s stopping you from testing your creativity? Try it out. You can use the examples created by the talented Grade 10 English Class to inspire you. 6-Word Stories, and Very Short Stories are a unique way to develop fictional narratives within hard limits.

The Future of Food in Human Geography

 

Recently Academy Middle School students explored an important question facing our world: How will we feed a population of 10 Billion people, with less farmland than today, by the year 2050?

To answer this question, Grade 7 and 8 students brainstormed the factors that influence farming from increasing profits, to the types of machinery available, to the quality of soil, to the conditions of the climate. They then discussed what impacts farming has on the environment, communities, supply chains to cities, and our health.

As city-dwellers, the complicated lives and concerns of farmers around the world has been a distant thought, but the question of how to feed the world as populations grow will be important to everyone in the next 30 years.

To explore this question further, we journeyed through the next 30 years of farming in the online Farm Simulation Journey 2050

The simulation puts students in control of farms in Canada, India, and Kenya, with the ability to make decisions around watering fields, expanding into more farmland, developing fertilizers, infesting in new and innovative equipment, funding public programming, and helping to develop more sustainable communities. Each player’s choices impact sustainability factors from Water Protection and Habitat Preservation, to Job Creation and Health Promotion. The goal is to achieve the greatest level of sustainability that balances the needs of our planet, the economy, food production, and community development.

The game is challenging, informative and fun, and has given deeper insights into the challenges that will face our world, and food producers over the next three decades. As young people with bright ideas, the Academy Middle School Geography students will play a role in how food security develops between now and 2050. The game also includes a level where questions about skills, and interests lead to connections to and information about careers, and future opportunities. Students are matched with potential careers that could help them to build new understandings, innovations, and policies around future food security for a more sustainable world.

Writing for Change: Advocacy Letters

Students learning to write Advocacy letters during social distancing

Over the past years, Academy students have been known for making their voices heard in both the school and in the broader community. Whether it’s the Civics class organizing a walkout in support of a current, relevant health curriculum, or several students from our school speaking from the podium at Toronto’s first youth climate rally, they have shown themselves to be eager advocates for their communities, and for a better future.

Of course, there are fewer opportunities to get involved in community action under the circumstances, but students in the literacy skills class have been doing just this by writing thoughtful, persuasive advocacy letters to various leaders and decision-makers. This is not my first year assigning and preparing students for this task, and each time I love to learn what issues matter to them. There is always such a diversity of ideas! Here are just some of the (student-chosen) topics this year:

  • why we should do more to combat racism
  • homelessness and affordable housing in Toronto
  • neighbourhood traffic safety
  • the importance of art, music, and physical education in schools
  • funding for autism services
  • the need for more library branches

In writing their letters, students are learning not only to express and support their opinions in organized paragraphs, but also to write for a real, authentic audience. Moreover, they are learning that literacy skills are not just for school or for getting a job, but can be powerful tools for bringing about positive change. And especially right now, it’s my hope that we can equip them with more of these.

A Source of Escape

 

The Travel and Tourism class let their imagination run wild as they designed an itinerary for their dream destination! Starting from scratch, they were responsible for choosing their travel dates, booking a flight and accommodation, keeping track of their budget, and thoroughly researching their chosen city.

Students have been both diligent and thoughtful with their work. They have developed a wide-ranging, seven-day itinerary that includes maps, photos, directions, hours of operation, prices, and a variety of attractions. While nearly every step was carefully calculated, there was also time set aside for spontaneity and ingenuity.

It has been a lot of fun following what students were up to and reviewing their plans. The next step is presentations. Each student will share their research and findings with the rest of the class in a creative and engaging format. Now, I will let their work speak for itself. Enjoy!