Reflecting on a big year for Deep Learning at PVNC

student and teacher sitting at table

June 12, 2019

By PVNC Learning Consultant Heather Michel

It has been a big year for Deep Learning at PVNC! The number of students and teachers across the board participating in Deep Learning continues to grow. Currently, 80% of our schools have staff members participating in Deep Learning – a figure which includes five out of our six secondary schools. Over half of PVNC schools received Deep Learning support from Learning Support Services over the course of the 2018-2019 school year.

Multiple innovative methods of providing professional learning were employed to support Deep Learning this year.

Monthly Deep Learning Video Clips

Each month, a short video, along with discussion questions and follow up activities have been provided to principals. These are meant to support regular discussions about Deep Learning at staff meetings and PA days.

Student-Supported Professional Learning

Staff members at 10 schools invited consultants into their classrooms. Consultants coached teachers and students through inquiries as well as modeling explicit instruction and assessment of Catholic Graduate Expectations.

Deep Learning Expos

Fifteen schools participated in regional Deep Learning Expos. The Expos were held in the Learning Commons of our high schools so that students of all ages could come together and celebrate their success. A total of 57 teachers, along with 226 students discussed how the pillars of Deep Learning guided their work. They also had time to reflect on the progress made in the Catholic Graduate Expectations. Portions of each Expo were dedicated to professional learning. Students and teachers together reflected on their current projects, increasing the authenticity of the professional learning.

Guided Deep Inquiry Webinars

Some 850 students have participated in a Deep Learning experience this year guided by Learning Support Services.  A series of four, 40-minute sessions ran during class time so that teachers and students could learn together about the principles of Deep Learning while making progress in their inquiry. Up to 18 classes participated simultaneously and they were able to collaborate with each other, creating partnerships across the school board.

Amazing Projects

Here are some examples of Deep Learning initiatives taking place in our schools:

  • Grade 7 students from St. Paul CES, Peterborough, are using 3D printers to produce devices invented to solve problems around the school.
  • Grade 1 and Grade 8 students at St. John CES are saving turtles by making nesting boxes.
  • Grade 9 students at Holy Trinity CSS are exploring the combination of physics and coding while creating inventions using Arduino.
  • Kindergarten students from St. Mother Teresa CES have been partnering with other classes from around the Board to collect the pop-tabs needed to make a new wheelchair for children who need them.
  • Grade 3 and 4 students from St. Mary CES, Lindsay, are trying to save the local bee populations by planting a flower garden for the bees.
  • Students from St. Mary CES, Lindsay, St. Joseph CES, Bowmanville, and St. Paul CES, Lakefield, are learning from the First Nation, Metis, and Inuit members of their communities about traditions and culture.
  • Grade 7 students from St. Anne CES created podcasts to increase public awareness of issues such as gender equality and adolescent literacy.
  • Grade 5 and 6 students from St. John CES are discovering the benefits and logistics of pet therapy.
  • Grade 11 students from Holy Cross CSS are programming scanners to read QR codes so that elderly members of their community can grocery shop, virtually, before having it delivered right to their homes.
  • Grade 10 students from St. Thomas Aquinas CSS are building a greenhouse. They have partnered with the local food bank who will help them harvest produce to share with community members using the food bank.

More and more PVNC teachers are learning to follow the lead of their creative, energetic students. When Deep Learning projects are driven by student voice and choice, there is no limit to the depth of their work and impact they will have on their communities.