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Closing the Gap between Elementary and Secondary School

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From left to right Aimee Charrier, Taylor Lawless, Gr. 8 teachers Julie Caissie and Jody O'Daiskey, Nolan Greenhalgh, and Cora Audette examine answers provided to open ended questions. The students and teachers from St. Anne School in Hanmer worked in association with Bishop Alexander Secondary School to help bridge the gap between elementary school and secondary school.

February 15, 2012 - On February 7th and 8th, teachers and students from St. Anne Catholic School and Bishop Alexander Catholic Secondary School (BAC) in Hanmer participated in co-teaching sessions to help bridge the gap between elementary school and secondary school. These sessions were sponsored by Sudbury Catholic District School Board in hopes that grades 7, 8, and 9 teachers would create a collaborative inquiry into the questioning strategies used across the three grade levels. Teachers were brought together in a collaboration session and encouraged to use open ended questions to facilitate the teaching and learning process. "This is a great learning opportunity for both students and teachers. The use of open ended questions allows students to use more meaningful answers that support their previous knowledge," said Jody O'Daiskey, grade 8 teacher at St. Anne School.

Over the course of two days, teachers from both schools engaged in co-teaching math lessons using similar styles and the same final assessment . Throughout the lesson, various assessments as, for and of learning took place. Students worked together to solve the final open ended assessment question, while teachers circulated to provide guidance when needed. Students from O'Daiskey's classroom at St. Anne Catholic School enjoyed this experience. "I thought it was a great opportunity, and we learned that there were several possible outcomes. This showed us that there isn't always one right answer when you have an open ended question. I also thought it was fun working with teachers
from BAC so they could see what some of us were capable of," said Taylor Lawless, student in grade 8 at St. Anne School.

Bridging the gap between elementary school and secondary school is an important focus of the collaborative inquiry. All teachers involved agree that activities such as these lead to greater student success when they reach secondary school. "I think that bringing these knowledgeable teachers together in a co-teaching session, can only lead to better success for all students involved," said Guy Mathieu, current principal at St. Anne School and founding principal at Bishop Alexander Carter Catholic Secondary School. "I believe that given the opportunity to meet with teachers from the elementary panel allows us
to better understand each other's strengths and weaknesses. This in turn can only benefit the students coming to us in the secondary panel," said Robert Boucher, a secondary teacher from Bishop Alexander Carter CSS.

Upon completion of the entire inquiry process, the teachers involved will bring all of their findings, including; student artifacts, pictures and video, to a final collaboration meeting with teachers from all elementary and secondary schools in the Sudbury Catholic District school board. These results will be presented and discussed to further bridge the gap and allow for greater student success for all.

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