Stacey Taylor: Giving students a voice and forging acceptance through the arts
Year: 2018 – Province: Alberta
Certificate of Achievement Recipient
Victoria School of the Arts
10210 108th Avenue
Edmonton, AB T5H 1A8
School telephone: 780-426-3010
School website: http://victoria.epsb.ca/
Subjects and grades taught:Grade 6 and International Baccalaureate Knowledge, grades 11–12
As an educator with a fine arts background, Stacey Taylor is passionate about integrating the arts into all subject areas to create enduring understanding. She is equally passionate about building an inclusive school environment, so all children feel welcome and supported.
Stacey's understanding of constructivist and inquiry practices enables her to put students in the driver's seat. She orchestrates experiences that give them a voice, make their thinking visible to others, and let them take a stance, defend their position, take action and assess their own learning.
In the Classroom
- Uses dance to help students of all abilities learn and internalize concepts (a popular lesson is the Star Wars math dance); through role-play, students experience inequality and its effects; as costumed characters, students defend positions on various issues in a mock Town Hall meeting
- Draws on students' own experiences using technology: an "Instagram assignment" saw students use an iPad to create pictures that reflected the lives of citizens of Athens in Ancient Greece
- Teaches students to recognize their unique learning needs through daily visualization, the setting of personal intentions, and periods of self-reflection; Stacey then empowers students through modelling, coaching and support to address those needs
- Honours the diversity of students when it comes to assessment by allowing them to show what they know in the most effective way possible: conversation, observations, tests or hand-created products; in turn, students provide Stacey with feedback on and areas to improve in her teaching
- Set the direction in the school for the acceptance of LGBTQ students and for providing a safe learning environment; Stacey advocated for change at the school and across the school board with regard to protocols around, for example, field trips and the use of pronouns
- Spearheaded school's annual fundraiser for a non-profit that provided the funding, direction and leadership to a school in Uganda; the efforts were so successful that Victoria School has now turned its attention to a different Ugandan school
- Leads Grade 6 participation in the school's annual exhibition by mentoring and supporting her fellow teachers as they help their students pursue projects on globally significant topics such as child labour, global warming, conflict and mental health
"It was my first year at Victoria School. Ms. Taylor made me feel welcome; she made us all feel safe. She taught us it was okay to learn in our own way. She taught me how learn and think for myself."
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