Blyth Academy Newsletter Term Three 2020

 
The beginning of this Term started out like any other; students were engaged in the classroom, the hallways were bustling, and experiential learning was happening in and around the campus. Today, we find ourselves in a much different situation — students are continuing their same classes and activities, but they now come together and connect with teachers and classmates through our virtual classrooms. While teaching and learning continues to be disrupted across the province, we are fortunate that our staff and teachers have worked hard to make Blyth Academy Burlington’s virtual classroom model a success. With the extended closure, we are committed to continuing the same small class sizes and personalized education that our students and families expect. Live virtual classes, office hours, guidance support and even extracurricular activities have continued through our virtual tools. In these uncertain times, we believe that our students benefit greatly from the structure, social interaction and support their school provides them.

Here are a few highlights from Term Three at Blyth Academy Burlington.


In and Around the Campus

Elementary: Art Gallery of Burlington
Earlier this term, the Grade 5 and 6 classes went to visit the Art Gallery of Burlington and took part in a printmaking workshop. The students were given the chance to gather inspiration from media sources as well as books. They took time to sketch out various ideas and choose the one they liked the most to then carve into their stamp. There were a lot of creative ideas in the class and the students came home with some amazing pieces of work.
Elementary: Bronte Provincial Park
Who doesn’t love a trip to the farm and the chance to enjoy some sugary maple treats? The Grade 5 and 6 students took a visit to Bronte Creek in March. They took a historic maple syrup tour to learn about how to tap a tree as well as the various methods for boiling the sap to make maple syrup in the past. The students were given some samples of pure maple sugar candies, and then treated to the chance to test out games that children used to play while their parents boiled sap. Finally it was time to see the animals – some of the students even tried speaking to our cow and goat friends. It was an a-moo-sing time!
Middle School: Financial Literacy
Students are nearing the end of our exciting and immersive financial literacy unit. Each student selected a character, which provided them with a new life and identity: career, salary, and individualized expenses. Students researched/found real rental opportunities, calculated monthly food bills (through analysis of Canada’s Food Guide and a trip to a local grocery store), and evaluated the various needs and wants we all have. Over the course of the unit, students learned how to calculate:

  • Federal/Provincial tax (learning about tax brackets)
  • CPP/EI deductions
  • Net Income
  • Investable Monthly Income
  • Simple and Compound Interest
  • Stock Value

Students investigated different investment options; investing money on the TSX and TFSAs that provided compound interest. They created elaborate spreadsheets to keep track of their overall financial portfolio, investment growth, and stock projections.

Foundations Class: Gym time!
During the winter months of the school year, our elementary students spent many afternoons at the YMCA during Foundations period. They used the gym equipment to improve their strength, balance, cardio and overall fitness. Students also spend time in the racquetball courts playing badminton, racquetball, and a variety of team games.
Grade 9 Drama: Monologues
In Grade 9 Drama students prepared for their individual performances: monologues! Students wrote their individual pieces and then practiced in pairs, with the pairs switching every five minutes. We were highly impressed with not only the performances, but how well students worked in pairs and shared great feedback. Keep it up Grade 9 Drama!
Grade 10 Student Publication: It’s My Blyth
Grade 10 Literacy students have been completing weekly writing tasks based on non-fiction writing. Students have had the chance to get their work published on It’s My Blyth. Our fantastic student-led blog has been growing in recent times, with Journalism Club students continuously adding fantastic writing. You can see these for yourself here: https://itsmyblyth.wixsite.com/burlington
Grade 11: Experiential Learning
Grade 11 Biology class has been very busy this term! We learned about animal and plant systems and we were lucky enough to explore the Royal Botanical Gardens for a plant survey and Ripley’s Aquarium of Canada to participate in squid dissections. In class, we made paper pig and squid models and dissected tulip flowers and fava beans. The class has really enjoyed collaborating and exploring new concepts together. Moving to virtual learning has presented a new way to collaborate – digitally! We were able to work together to complete the cell cycle diagram in our Zoom classroom.
Grade 12: Nutrition and Health
The Nutrition and Health class has been exploring the seven different nutrient types and how we can optimize our health by consuming a balanced diet. Part of that included making breakfast for the school on Pancake Tuesday. We made scrambled eggs, bacon, toast, and pancakes and were able to raise more than $50 for the Burlington Humane Society. We are looking forward to exploring local and global food issues next month.

Virtual Learning

We thank our supportive parents for their wonderful feedback about our virtual classrooms. Our students continue to be engaged in-class and participate in lively class discussions. We will continue to charter new learning experiences for our students during this unprecedented time.

Though our physical doors remain temporarily closed, the minds of our students stay open. Summer classes are continuing to meet on their regular daily schedules, in virtual classrooms with face-to-face instruction and peer interaction.  The Blyth Academy model of small class sizes, flexible scheduling and individualized approach have enabled us to remain faithful to our standards. Our commitment to ongoing and meaningful communication between school, teachers, students and families has been critical to this effort.

Although our students have transitioned into summer mode and COVID-19 restrictions have begun to loosen, we are looking ahead to what September will hold for our campuses and families.
We want to be clear - our preference and our priority is to get students back to our campuses, but we must ensure this is done in a safe and effective way. While we await official guidance from Public Health and the Ministry of Education, a "return to school" task force has been hard at work putting concrete operational plans in place for all likely scenarios. This includes a full return to campus with safeguards, a blended model of virtual and in-campus learning and the continuation of fully virtual classrooms. All scenarios will provide robust learning and live, daily instruction and interaction with teachers and peers. 
With ten campuses across Ontario, we realize that each one of our schools is a unique space and community. We will be implementing across-the-board policies on hand washing, facility cleaning and social distancing measures. Each school is also prepared to pivot individually based on the guidance of local health authorities and to best serve students and families. 
Our recent survey showed that over 80 per cent of Blyth Academy families are eager to return to campuses, and we are hard at work to prepare for this day. As September's scenario becomes clearer and more information becomes available, we will continue to communicate. 

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