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Colin Christensen and Krista McLean: Team teaching to promote technology

Year: 2020 — Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient

Colin Christensen Krista McLean

Don Campbell Elementary School
All subjects, Grade 5, plus school-wide support for STEM
Red Deer, Alberta

On a daily basis, this team provides a stimulating and engaging environment where students feel safe to get involved, try new things and succeed at their own pace… . As my daughter always says when asked how school was today, 'It was really fun and I learned something new today.'

parent of a current student

Colin Christensen and Krista McLean were two of the original staff members when Don Campbell Elementary opened in September 2017. They not only helped develop the school's vision and mission—which focus on innovation, creativity and problem-solving—but they also bring those concepts to life in their team-teaching classrooms.

Teaching approach

Colin and Krista focus on enhancing collaboration among students and teachers at all levels. For example, they arrange opportunities for their Grade 5 students to help younger students understand and use technology. They also coach their fellow teachers—in their school and elsewhere in the board—in the use of new technologies, such as virtual-reality hardware.

STEM in the classroom

  • Challenge students to create an arcade game: students use block-coding to build a game that incorporates parts of the curriculum, such as explorers, which they were learning about in social studies.
  • Engage students in geometry, coding and problem-solving using Sphero robots: students create a maze, then use their knowledge of measurements and angles to write code that allows a robot to navigate the maze.
  • Use video production technology to enhance the social studies curriculum: students research, write, film, direct and edit green-screen videos about Alberta's geographic regions.
  • Support use of technology in art classes: a wider range of students see themselves as artists when they use programs such as Google Draw, Google Sheets and G Suite applications.
  • Introduced Google Expedition virtual-reality goggles to the school: Colin and Krista developed a plan to ensure all students can use the school's 30 pairs of goggles during the year; they also help teachers choose virtual field trips for their students.

Outstanding achievements

  • Coordinate the school's Flex program: students rotate to different teachers and activities regularly; this allows them to use multiple technologies and build relationships with many peers and educators; Colin and Krista create the Flex schedule and support the teachers.
  • Create Breakout Box challenges: students work in teams—using reading, digital literacy and numeracy skills—to solve puzzles and unlock a box.
  • Introduced the HeartMath program to improve students' mental health: students wear ear clips that monitor their heart rhythms and display that data on their Chromebooks, so they can regulate their emotions and return to a good state of mind for learning.

Get in touch!

Don Campbell Elementary School
99 Irving Crescent
Red Deer AB  T4R 3S3

Twitter: @dcampbellschool; Facebook: @dcampbellschool/

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