PWSD's first-year (protégé) and mentor teachers came together in Grande Prairie on February 13 for the second annual Mentorship Program group learning day of the 2017-2018 school year.
Mentor and protégé teacher pairs began the day by working together on topics and questions. For the second half of the morning, protégés attended a session led by Monique Gravel, Alberta Teachers' Association (ATA) Professional Development Executive Staff Officer for Northern AB and steering committee member for the PWSD/Northern Spirit ATA Local 6 Mentorship Program. Mentors worked with Adele Lowen, PWSD teacher and Mentorship Program Coordinator.
Two ATA workshops were offered during the afternoon, based on the results of a needs assessment questionnaire completed during the group's first Mentorship Program learning day in October.
The Winning Strategies for the Inclusive Classroom session, led by Jacqueline Werstiuk, began with participants forming an inside/outside circle to examine four questions: What was your greatest struggle as a student? What are the characteristics of a struggling student? How do you learn best or most efficiently? What is the strategy that works for you to help struggling students? Ms. Werstiuk reminded the group that the way they learn is not the only way to teach. Participants received a resource booklet covering additional inclusive classroom strategies.
Nicole Felicitas led a concurrent session on Unseen Hurts: Promoting Positive Mental Health in Schools. Participants considered what defines a typical bad day, and discussed how and when it can begin to escalate into a mental health problem. Using a child's perspective of time, Ms. Felicitas suggested a calendar strategy where students record bad days, such as a disagreement with a friend, counting the number of days until the situation improves. The session delved deeper into mental health issues and provided a resource guide filled with additional strategies.