Frances Ann Squire: literacy for lifelong learning

Transcription – Frances Ann Squire, Prime Minister's Award recipient

[Black screen fades up to a white background, with the following words appearing, line by line: Prime Minister's Awards. Music playing. Fade to black and then up white and grey screen with medium shot of woman, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right and voice over: Frances Ann Squire, Birchwood Intermediate School, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island.]

[Fade to black and then to photos, with voice over. Photos: Frances using a soldering gun to connect a wire; four students sitting at a table looking at laptops; five students standing in a line being interviewed in a news studio; students sitting on the ground in a circle listening to a presentation; four students sitting at a table doing group work; students standing in front of the classroom reading from scripts; students standing and sitting watching a clay demonstration; students sitting in a lounge area playing games; a close up of a student making a "stop racism" poster; two students sitting at desks working with wires and a laptop; a student crouching on the ground, connecting tiles and wires to a laptop; a class of students sitting a desks with laptops.]

Frances Ann Squire stresses creative and digital literacy in her classroom. Students learn to locate, evaluate, use, create and share information responsibly, and make films and podcasts. They virtually followed a climbing expedition and have judged virtual debates by their middle school peers. Integrating human rights education into language arts, students create commercials, run events, fundraise and volunteer for local community organizations. They have also produced award-winning videos on racism. Members of her video game development club have received post-secondary scholarships. Her Maker and Minecraft club regularly draws more than 50 students.

[Fade to black and then up white and grey screen with medium shot of woman, smiling, on the left side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the right: Frances Ann Squire, Birchwood Intermediate School, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Voice over: Frances Ann Squire.]

[Fade to white, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in black.]

Year: 2019 – Province: Prince Edward Island

Certificate of Excellence Recipient

Frances Ann Squire

Language arts, grade 9
Birchwood Intermediate School, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island

"I am always excited to go into her class because seeing how enthusiastic she is to teach makes me excited to learn. I admire her vivacious spirit and caring nature. It is apparent to me that our growth is success in her eyes. Ms. Squire is an outstanding teacher."  — Student

Through her creative and collaborative style, Frances Squire awakens a love and thirst for knowledge in her students. They are enriched by her passion for learning new technologies and creative pursuits. Indeed, she has written two-award-winning children's books, and is a published poet and author.

Teaching approach

Frances emphasizes student choice, hands-on and creative activities, collaboration in her classroom, and gives students opportunities to engage with and learn from community partners. To foster success, she builds a fun, caring, inclusive environment so students feel valued and respected.

In the classroom

  • Stresses creative and digital literacy for personal growth and lifelong learning: students learn to locate, evaluate, use, create and share information responsibly, and make films and podcasts; used technology to virtually follow a climbing expedition and judged virtual middle-school debates.
  • Improved grade 7 and 9 students' writing and reading comprehension: coordinated free, after-school writing program for students, matching them one-on-one or in small groups with pre-service teachers; supports students' participation in Island Literary Awards, with several winning prizes.
  • Instils altruism, sense of social responsibility and global citizenship in students, integrating human rights education into language arts: students create commercials, run events, fundraise and volunteer for local community organizations, and have produced award-winning videos on racism.
  • Takes cross-curricular approach to learning: students researched the history of art through the ages, then focus on one period and one artist to produce a work in that person's style to create a visual timeline; the finished pieces were exhibited at the Confederation Centre of the Arts.

Outstanding achievements

  • Developed several very successful—and popular—after-school programs: video game development club members have received post-secondary scholarships for game and art design; Maker and Minecraft club regularly draws more than 50 students.
  • Co-founded International Virtual Poetry Summit with U.S. educators, featuring celebrity guests and students from around the world; hosts gatherings at a Charlottetown café for students to share their poetry with the public; students collaborate with U.S. peers on online poetry collections.
  • Launched, with two students, the Micro-Library Mobile: students collect, sort and distribute donated books to micro-libraries; recognized by city for community service and promoting literacy.
Transcription – Frances Ann Squire - 2019 Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence

[Black screen fades up to close-up of woman in interview setting, against a white background. Music playing.]

"I think the number one factor that contributes to student success is the connection that the student makes with the teacher."

[Fade to black and then up to white with medium shot of a woman, smiling, on the right side of the screen, with the following words appearing, line by line, on the left: Frances Ann Squire, Birchwood Intermediate School, Charlottetown, Prince Edward Island. Fade to black and then up to Frances in the interview setting.]

"I think I do a really great job in integrating arts and technology in the curriculum and make it engaging for the students. The projects I do, I plan really well."

[Cut to photos with voice over. Photos: Students working with circuits at their laptops; four students at a table reviewing texts on their laptops; students watching a demonstration of clay modelling.]

"And I give the students a lot of choice, a lot of flexibility…"

[Cut back to Frances in the interview setting.]

"And, I have the curriculum ideas down and then they take it and run with it."

[Cut to black and then back to Frances in the interview setting.]

"I'm a little nerdy. I like to read. I like to write and I'm a bit of an introvert. And, I found it really hard to fit in into the mainstream. And, I had a teacher when I was in Grade 9, who said to me, 'to take that and go with it and one day you're going to make a difference.' It's hard to say that without … 'You're going to make a difference. That personality. There are students that you're going to work with who need people like you.'"

[Cut to photos, with voice over. Photos: Frances with all the recipients of the Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence on Parliament Hill; Frances with her fellow recipients at the Canada Science and Technology Museum; Frances with Paul Thompson, Associate Deputy Minister, Innovation, Science and Economic Development, having received her Prime Minister's Awards pin; Frances gesturing behind a podium during her presentation to fellow recipients on best practices in her classroom; various recipients looking at printed materials during a break in the best practices sessions; long shot of Frances gesturing behind the podium during her presentation.]

[Cut back to medium shot of Frances in the interview setting.]

"This is quite an honour and a privilege, and I'm humbled. What I really love about this program is the opportunity to come to our capital and to meet with other educators from across the country."

[Cut back to interview setting.]

"This program provides an opportunity for other educators to connect, to network from coast to coast. That's a wonderful thing."

[Cut to photos, with voice over. Photos: Long shot of recipients seated around a u-shaped table listening to a presentation by a fellow recipients at the podium, with images on the screen; Frances and another recipient smiling during a presentation.]

"We attended sessions. The presentations were phenomenal …"

[Cut back to Frances in the interview setting.]

"… and I have so many skills and tools I can take back to my colleagues and to share what's happening across the country."

[Fade to black and then back to Frances in the interview setting.]

"Sometimes, when we go into the classroom, the teacher is the leader, but I think the teacher is also the student in the room. I think that's really important that a student-teacher would allow the students to lead."

[Fade to black, with the Government of Canada FIP and then the Canada Wordmark appearing in white.]

Get in touch!

Birchwood Intermediate School
49 Longworth Avenue
Charlottetown PE C1A 5A6
902-368-6870
https://edu.princeedwardisland.ca/birchwood/
Twitter: @BirchwoodCobras

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