Over the last few years, we have been implementing Deep Learning practices in our classrooms so that our students can authentically connect their learning in the globally-connected world that we now live in. I see examples of Deep Learning in all of the schools I visit and follow on social media. In this blog post, I’d like to celebrate one school’s initiative that highlights why this approach to learning can have such a transformative impact for all involved.
The inspiring story of St. Luke Nepean’s “Little Free Pantry” shows how Deep Learning can come together to allow students to model the Catholic Graduate Expectations. This classroom with a big heart took a simple science project to the next level by creating an outdoor structure for their community to take what they need or give what they can.
These students demonstrated the Global Competencies of Deep Learning. The students collaborated every step along the way, from creating blueprints to final construction. They communicated with each other to decide on what their project should be, the best way to go about it, and how to spread the word about it. They demonstrated citizenship, giving witness to Catholic social teaching, by choosing something that would benefit their entire community for many years to come. The students showed character, their God-given potential witnessed through hope and perseverance, as they saw their concept to completion. Their creativity shone through in the plans each student made, their ideas for raising money and gathering materials, and the creation of their pantry’s logo. Critical thinking was evident in deciding which of their designs was best, planning the construction, and tackling any problems that came up along the way.
These inspiring young students and the staff who guided them are truly Sent to be the Good News – a fact that is evident by their pantry’s logo, which incorporated the Board’s spiritual theme. I am inspired by what so many of our students do every day – I see evidence that students can indeed be agents of change, helping humanity both near and far.
I wish you and your loved ones a wonderful Christmas and Blessed New Year.
Denise Andre is the Director of Education and Secretary-Treasurer of the Ottawa Catholic School Board (OCSB), and was appointed in July 2015. She has been with the OCSB for 39 years and has served as a teacher, department head, vice-principal, principal, superintendent, and deputy (associate) director. Denise holds a Masters of Education and a Bachelor of Education from the University of Ottawa and a Bachelor of Arts from Carleton University, and has been married to Bob Thomas for over 32 years.