Student Centered Learning and Literacy

In my studio and classroom, I value:

  1. Allowing students some elements of choice (content, process, product) while also targeting specific areas of need for individual students (sometimes deciding what a student needs to focus on). For example, students choose what songs to learn, presenting their research via video or PowerPoint, or solving open-ended math questions with different manipulatives.
  2. Providing assisting technologies to help students reduce the barriers to learn and communicate more independently. For example, using Boogie Boards to spell, or iPad apps to practice math.
  3. Purposefully helping students develop the Alberta Education competencies they need to learn and think.
  4. Helping students develop and use digital citizenship skills as they learn with technology. For example, discussing appropriate language to use when commenting on peers' work.
  5. Giving students opportunities to demonstrate what they know using a range of tools that may or may not include technology.
  6. Helping students monitor their own learning by:
    • Giving them meaningful and timely feedback on their learning and how to improve
    • Teach them to set goals and track their progress
    • Teach them self-assessment and peer-assessment practices
  7. Creating a kind and supportive learning atmosphere while at the same time pressing students to achieve as highly as they can. For example, using inclusive language and literature that celebrates minorities.

(adapted from Danny Maas, 2018)

Alberta Learning and Technology Policy Framework

Listen to one of my 2020 art lessons in this video:

Numeracy and Technology

These three images are just some ways I have learned to connect math to the real world!


Before students begin any work, we discuss as a class the age old questions:

  • "Does spelling count?"
  • "Is this for marks?"

The answers to these questions depend if I (the teacher) am forming an understanding of the student's learning process or evaluating a snapshot of their work. I want to make sure that either I give feedback to improve their work or give a grade that makes sense.

In order for the grade to make sense, the students help me create my marking rubric. This increases their understanding of my expectations, and builds in them the capacity to self-assess. From there I can introduce the assignment. Once they complete it, I will look at their submissions (print or online) and compare it to the rubric. My goal is to always write comments that are emotionally correct and invoke deeper thinking on the part of the student.


No matter what classroom I'm in, I want to help students gain the skills they need to care for themselves and others. We do breathing exercises, energetic stretches, dancing, colouring, and vocabulary building. Talking about mental health is a life-long conversation!