James is an outstanding teacher who goes above and beyond what is expected to create fabulous learning activities—not only for his own students but for all of the students in the school. Currently, James has a number of activities on the go and his creativity shows “out of the box” thinking:
1. Social Justice “Feed our Friends”—Students have been growing lettuce, making sandwiches at a local diner and then delivering them to schools where children do not have lunches.
2. School Greening Project—James has grow lights in our “maker space” room where he not only grows lettuce but other plants. Students learn about plants and tend to them. He also has a worm composter and uses the soil for the plants.
James is planning for each grade in the school to have a garden box in our outdoor garden space. He helps teachers do project-based learning for the garden that pertains to their grade-specific curriculum for science.
3. James is dabbling with solar energy and has applied to get panels installed on our roof. The energy will be used for the grow lights for the lettuce and other plants.
James has many other highly effective learning activities that he does with our students and they are thrilled with real life, hands-on learning opportunities. The sparkle in their eyes tells the whole story.
If you could have any person, dead or alive, fictional or real, come in and speak with your class, who would that be? Why?:
Elon Musk. He is an inventor and innovator who dreams big and continues to be on the forefront of renewable energy and transportation technologies. What better individual to excite my students to dream and work towards making a positive impact on their world… and he has a space ship!
If you win, how will you allocate the Teacher Awards prize money?:
At our school, staff and students are bridging science and social justice. We are currently in the process of having a solar PV system installed on the roof of our school. This will be a springboard for cross-grade, cross-curricular, student leadership projects that will involve our students working with each other and with students from other schools to explore and learn about renewable energy. Some of the prize money will go towards supporting student learning in this area by purchasing hands-on materials for the students to use to help each other learn. Energy produced from the solar PV system will offset electricity used by our indoor lettuce-growing project. Grown and harvested by students, this lettuce is used in sandwiches made as part of the B’s Supporting Youth Foundation’s bagged lunch program, a student-led initiative that sees kids helping to feed their needy peers in schools around Edmonton on a weekly basis. The lunch program continues to grow each year to include students from other elementary, junior and senior high schools. Some of the prize money will be allocated towards purchasing more grow lights and other equipment needed to meet an increasing need for lettuce.