Vince Racanelli: Integrating technology as a natural part of learning
Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario
Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM
Humberwood Downs Junior Middle Academy
850 Humberwood Boulevard
Toronto, ON M9W 7A6
School telephone: 416-394-4757
School website: http://schoolweb.tdsb.on.ca/humberwood
Subjects and grades taught: Math, Science, Language, Social Studies, Arts and Media, Grade 1
At a large K–8 school, Vince Racanelli ensures the success of culturally, racially and academically diverse learners. He also acts as a leader and resource for his fellow educators as they seek to integrate technology into their programs.
Vince inspires students with engaging hands-on projects, while ensuring they build strong skills. He also meaningfully differentiates instruction through the effective use of technology in various parts of the curriculum.
STEM in the Classroom
- Integrates technology as a natural part of learning: children adapted a book about supporting peers into a movie as part of the school's focus on character development; each Monday, students recount a plush toy's weekend adventures, illustrating their written stories with photos they took
- Integrates STEM-based activities with the arts: after reading Where the Wild Things Are, students created individual 3D art pieces, took pictures of them and then recorded their voices describing one special feature of their creations; the whole class also created a papier mâché wild thing
- Leads after-school robotics clubs to teach project methodology—ask it (What is the problem?); design it (a blueprint); test it (What worked well? What didn't?); solve it; and refine it (What can you do better?)—and writing and presentation skills, all while children build roller coasters and cars
- Uses technology to engage parents and keep them informed: daily videos and pictures with captions show parents what their children are learning and how that learning is taking place
- His Grade 1 class won a national online math contest (Math Monkey); not only did the students experience this success but the whole school benefited from the prize, online memberships
- Volunteered to teach class of all boys when school explored single-gender classrooms; he then designed a learning plan based on their specific learning styles and strengths, and successfully fostered a love of learning in otherwise reluctant readers and unenthusiastic learners
- Regularly impresses visiting board officials and international delegations with the innovation in his classroom, which has led to additional funding and resources being directed to the school
"One day [Vince's] students will become engineers, robotics experts, doctors, and scientists. He has given them the building blocks for success in the future but more importantly he has provided them with a love of learning not only with STEM but across all subjects."
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