Ever wonder what teachers do on Ped days?
Workshop series chance to connect, learn, grow
BMaking learning fun
Pedagogical days, or ped days as they are more commonly called, can be a source of joy for students, and a source of stress for parents who often scramble to find ways to keep their kids occupied, or taken care of during an unscheduled day away from school.
ut what do teachers do during these “days off?» For those working for the Lester B. Pearson School Board, and boards across the province, ped days are far from a chance to lounge around at home, or catch up on some sleep. Teachers use ped days to attend meetings, draft lesson plans, or attend any number of workshops in order to hone their skills, or develop new ones.
For Jean-Claude Manirakiza, who teaches French as a second language at Westwood Sr. High School in Hudson, attending a Feb. 7 workshop session titled, “Passion-Based Teaching and Learning – One More for the Toolbox,” was “extremely positive.”
More than 350 educators attended the workshop series that was held at Lindsay Place High School, in Pointe-Claire.
The day included a presentation by keynote speaker Dean Shareski, an educational technologist at Discovery Education Canada, who spoke about the connection between joy, teaching and learning.
Teachers were also able to chose between 28 French and English workshops focusing on topics that included: Learning about Google technology, robotics, encouraging creativity and empowering learners with iPads, and more.
Lighter topics included Latin Dance, and Clowning as a Serious Business.
Shareski, a Community Manager for Discovery Education Canada, as well as a lecturer at the University of Regina, encouraged teachers to make class time pleasant.
“Learning can and should be fun and personal,” he said, adding, “Engaging a student and experimentation in education should be part of a teacher’s everyday life.”
Shareski, who hopes students – and parents – see teachers as lifelong learners, urged the educators to use technology as a way to share projects and discoveries with their co-workers, as well as with students.
“Sharing is giving someone else the gift of your time – and in an increasingly challenging job, if you don’t surround yourself with people – both locally and virtually – I don’t know how you’ll survive,” he said.
A workshop about integrating iPads at the grade-school level, something being done extensively in schools such as Evergreen and Birchwood elementary schools in Saint-Lazare, was taught by a representative from Apple Canada.
Mathieu Majeau presented ideas that focused on using technology in the classroom context.
Audrey MacDonald, a math teacher at John Rennie High School, was so inspired that she shared with her colleagues who could not attend the event.
“I tweeted to my colleagues about some of the things Mr. Shareski said at least 15 times during his speech,” she noted, adding that “the workshops are not only great learning tools, they are also a good way to network and bond.”
Other workshops offered during the day included: 20+ Innovative Pedagogical Strategies Using Google Forms; Images, Music and Video for School Projects and Beyond; The Missing Link: Connecting Assessment and Technology; Incorporating Entrepreneurship; Best-Loved Literacy Lessons; Engage, Activate and Collaborate – a workshop on how to integrate digital media to increase student engagement – as well as a workshop titled Increase Engagement, Encourage Creativity and Empower Learners with the Help of the iPad.
For Manirakiza, the ped day was a chance to not only learn something new, but also an opportunity to exchange thoughts and ideas with colleagues, something he says will make him a better teacher in the classroom.
Many teachers from regional Lester B. Pearson School Board schools attended a ped day workshop series.