Monday, 30 October 2017

Collaborative Work to Create Puppets at Jube School

As part of the Campus Calgary / Open Minds Jube School experience, the Grade Four students from Hugh A. Bennett School created buffalo puppets, lead by the expertise of the Green Fools Theatre Society.  Through this experience of making the puppets and other experiences at Jube School, the students worked collaboratively to start to answer their big question, “Who are we?  How does the past, present, and future impact our identity?”

These unbelievable buffalo puppets took the students a week at Jube School, at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium, to create. Working together in teams of six, students began crafting their buffalo puppets by crumpling up pieces of paper and taping them onto the four sections of their puppets (body, head, front leg, back leg) to create depth and form. The students took different roles in this process such as tearing paper off of large roles, ripping bigger paper into pieces, crumpling paper into balls, and taping paper onto the puppet sections. The next step in the process was covering the puppet sections with papier-mâché.

The Grade Fours really enjoyed getting their hands dirty and demonstrated how well they could work together, completing this part of the process efficiently and thoroughly. Once the papier-mâché had dried, they applied a base coat of white paint followed by a brown paint wash. With the buffalo puppet pieces painted, the last steps involved applying shadow and tint, facial details and yarn for the tails, and a shaggy hide.

When all of the sections were completed, the puppets were put together and the grade fours began learning how to operate them. Students found out very quickly the importance of working together and communicating with each other to move their puppets and to make them look like real buffalo grazing in the prairies. The students are extremely proud of all the hard work they put into creating their buffalo puppets. Throughout the process, they demonstrated respect towards each other and an understanding of the importance of working as a team.

We thank Dean Bareham, Co-Artistic Director at Green Fools Theatre Society, for guiding us and being part of this process at Jube School at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium. (  These puppets will be on display at the Southern Alberta Jubilee Auditorium in the north lobby until mid-January.

Karen Youngberg – Jube School Coordinator
Kelly Brandschwei – Grade Four Teacher at Hugh A. Bennett School

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

Thank you!

Wishing you a safe and enjoyable summer ahead!

Thank you for another incredible year!  We can't wait to see what's in store for our quarter century celebration ahead!

The Campus Calgary / Open Minds' 24th Year Team

Thursday, 15 June 2017

Campus Calgary pilots 5 exciting new sites in 2017/2018!

For nearly 25 years, Campus Calgary / Open Minds (CC/OM) has provided an innovative school model that brings the classroom to distinct and vibrant community settings. Educators, learners, and community experts come together for a week-long curriculum-based experience, designed to meet the needs of each individual learner. The result is a catalyst for learning activities throughout the year that inspire and promote critical thinking and problem solving.

In its 25th milestone year, CC/OM is pleased to announce 5 unique pilot sites.  We look forward to partnering with community experts for immersive learning experiences at:

  • Library School - The mission of Calgary Public Library is to inspire life stories.  Classes will see first-hand the important role libraries play in our community, and see these stories come to life. In anticipation of Calgary's New Central Library, Library School is a partnership with Calgary Public Library.  Whether at the automated handling machine, behind-the- scenes in Collections, in the Make It Messy studio, the AV media labs or the theatre, Library School students will be invited to meet library staff, practicing artists, authors-in- residence and others learning from them while they work. 
  • Strong Kids School - How can we help our young people live healthier, happier lives today and in the future?  The Gray Family Eau Claire YMCA looks forward to inviting classes to explore its rich history and surrounding community.  Teachers and students will be immersed in the spirit of the YMCA while understanding that this is a world-wide organization that strives to be a social environment where all are welcome in and want to belong, tied in with their core values of: Honesty, Caring, Respect, & Responsibility. These experiences will develop and build capacity for students and teachers to belong, grow, strive, and lead.
  • Tinker SchoolAs society shifts towards rapid uptake of new technologies, STEM Learning Lab has the potential to move the current CC/OM model to the next level of excellence in teaching and learning in our innovative setting.  Teachers and students will be immersed in science, technology, engineering and math to innovate and solve different Design Thinking challenges. With the rare opportunity to be immersed in a technology start-up environment, classes will be able to observe and interact with technology experts who are collaborating on society’s most pressing problems. 
  • Social Enterprise School -   As disciplinary experts, classes will observe and interact with entrepreneurs who are tackling society’s most pressing problems.  A dynamic innovative community, networked community partners, and dedicated teams provide potential learning opportunities related to how to use the Design Thinking process to address human needs while adopting an entrepreneurial mindset. Classes will work alongside experts to pitch innovative ideas to stakeholders using the Lean Startup methodology to develop a social enterprise business solutions while using spatial skills to build prototypes alongside industry partners.
  • SEEDschool - How can we learn to be agents of change?  With an emphasis on service-learning, experiences at The Mustard Seed will develop and build capacity for critical understandings of our interconnected Calgary-community. Located in Calgary’s Beltline, The Mustard Seed is an inner-city agency dedicated to providing hope and well-being for our most vulnerable citizens. The Mustard Seed’s community of residents, staff, and volunteers will work alongside classes to share lived experiences and create lasting connections.

We're so excited to see the possibilities ahead!

Curious about how you you can get involved?  Get in touch with us!

Wednesday, 24 May 2017

Taking Zoo School Action at St Joan of Arc School

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St. Joan of Arc school has been busy planting native flowers this spring!  Three Grade 2 classes who attended Zoo School during the winter months and have been putting their horticultural knowledge to good use.  Each class planted native flowers, such Gallarida and other pollinator friendly species.  They will be tending to their flowers over the next few months and in June, each student will take their flowers home to plant them in their yards.  What a fantastic way to spread knowledge and awareness to the local community!   Nice work St. Joan of Arc Grade 2’s!  Thank you for doing your part to sustain wildlife in wild places.  

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Tuesday, 9 May 2017

Executive Sponsors and Advisors

Advisor Meeting with Executive Sponsors on May 8, 2017:
Sanghamitra Dhar McKenty (CBE), Allison Shulz (Calgary Foundation),
Jennifer Meredith (CBE), Andrea Holowka (CCSD), Frank McClernon
(CCSD), Ita Kistorma (CCSD), Bill Dickson (Community), Donna
Livingstone (Glenbow Museum), Jeannie Everett (CBE), Judy Archer
(Community), Chris Lough (Community), Leanne Courchesne
(Cenovus), Travis Robertson (CBE), Graham Thomson (Community),
Trish Savill (Community), absent Lorelei Piotto (Chevron)
Such a wonderful opportunity to have our Executive Sponsors and our Advisors altogether discussing our CC/OM year and how best to move forward together.  Knowing the importance of giving students opportunities to learn beyond the traditional four walls of the classroom, we aspire to advance what is possible for students within innovative teaching and learning environments, to ensure success for each learner in a vibrant and connected community.

Monday, 3 April 2017

Cell-E-brating Cell Phone Recycling

McKenzie Towne School and DouglasdaleSchool together collected 144 old cell phones and other small electronics in the weeks before McKenzie Town School visited Zoo School. On their final day the class visited the TransAlta Rainforest to drop them off. The students took turns putting the old phones in to the recycling box and then sat observing the gorilla troop; the species that benefits most from cell phone recycling.



Every class taking part in Zoo School is encouraged to take an action or actions to help wildlife conservation before, during or after their Zoo School week.

Thank you to McKenzie Town School and Douglasdale School for their superb effort in supporting wildlife conservation!

How does recycling cell phones help gorillas?
A mineral called coltan is used to coat the electronic components that are part of every cell phone. Coltan is mined in areas where gorillas live. By recycling your phone, you are helping to reduce the amount of coltan mined, which can lead to preserving natural gorilla habitat. By keeping cell phones out of the landfill you will also prevent toxic chemicals from leaching into landfills and groundwater.
All money raised from recycled phones are directed to the Calgary Zoo’s conservation research projects.
Steps you can take:
·         Collect as many old, unused cell phones as you can
·         Bring them down to the Calgary Zoo on your next visit.  Phones may be dropped off at Guest Relations as you enter the zoo, in the TransAlta Rainforest building or at Zoo Security

Blog Entry submitted by: Dawn Hardy, Zoo School Ambassador

Thursday, 23 March 2017

CC/OM's "Cousins" Worldwide

Campus Calgary / Open Minds is part of the Beyond the Classroom Network.

Did you know that there are classrooms recognizable to our very own CC/OM classrooms in Kingston, London, Edmonton, Michigan, and elsewhere?

Open Minds, too, has classrooms in Fort McMurray and in St. John's.

When you're part of Campus Calgary / Open Minds you're part of a community that has evolved for nearly 25 years and is much bigger than most people imagine!

And it all began right here.

That first community embedded week was in 1993 at the Calgary Zoo.  It was a Grade 3 class that came to the Zoo every day for a week. Dr. Gillian Kydd, a science consultant with the Calgary Board of Education worked with the classroom teacher, Angela Rokne, to bring together the key elements that have since become the essence of the program.

Tuesday, 14 March 2017

It all began with an idea!

It all began with an idea, Cathie MacDonell and her Grade 10 students from Henry Wise Wood wanted to investigate the idea of homelessness prior to their work at 2School. Support would be offered by various groups.  

Students worked with the Mustard Seed, Calgary Urban Project (CUPS), Drop-In & Rehab Centre and St. Stephen’s Anglican Church.  While working in smaller groups with these organizations students began to discuss the complexities of homelessness. They investigated their initial understanding of what it means to be homeless and realized that they had a fairly biased view on this issue. Through their investigation with these various agencies in Calgary, students gained a better understanding on the concept of what it means to be homeless.  

They also worked with senior leadership at the Calgary Board of Education to gain a understanding in how various agencies work together to solve this issue. Once students collected the required data focusing on reflective personal responses they worked with Nureva Inc. to bring together a collaboration of their experience.   

Working collaboratively with Nureva students brought their Campus Calgary 2School experience alive.  This video elaborates this very unique and positive experience.


This blog entry was submitted by Trish Hubbard, Campus Calgary 2School Coordinator.  To apply to 2School or any Campus Calgary/Open Minds site, click here.  Our deadline for 2017/2018 applications is April 11th, 2017.

Tuesday, 28 February 2017

Parents are Our Learning Partners!

 Parents are Our Learning Partners!
-a CC/OM week 

“There is such an impact on understanding and relationships when parents are learning partners alongside their children. Truly great learning takes place in the discussions and reflections about the experiences.”
 -CC/OM Team

Ways CC/OM parent volunteers make a difference!

Before the week:
  • Knowing the Big Idea/Question and the CC/OM site their child is attending, parents can visit our website to learn more about this innovative program!
  • Think about and introduce connections outside of school time. This leads to great conversations at home and school!
  • Support students in being safe and meeting their needs. Meeting the volunteer requirements at the school ensures that they are prepared and are well equipped to work with all students.
  • Remember their own needs as we work inside and outside at our sites. Parents need comfortable shoes, the right clothes (seasonal layers) and a hearty lunch and full water bottle as well. Phones and cameras are occasionally useful in a learning context; parents can confirm with their child’s teacher to see how they are being used for this week.

During the week:
  • Sketch and write in journals alongside the students. Parent engagement in the work is a powerful message to students.
  • Lead small groups with questions that promote inquiry (ie. What do you think, I wonder about, Is that the same as, Remember that expert who mentioned….)
  • Listen for the connections to the Big Idea/inquiry question and help students to discover their own.
  • Notice student work and ideas with comments that encourage further exploration (ie. I see that you, I notice, I wonder, I had not thought of that,Why are you considering that, You have made me think of, I see how you added lines to…)
  • Support students asking questions of our experts and ask their own questions to expand the learning connections.  Model great thank yous!
  • Enjoy the time with their child and the class. CC/OM connects the curriculum with the community and provides rich and valuable learning that can be drawn upon throughout the school year and beyond.

After the week:
  • Parents complete the CC/OM evaluations as provided by the teacher, to provide feedback that guides our planning
CC/OM is grateful to its partners and funders and volunteers – thank you!

Visit the CC/OM website above for more information.
CC/OM Vision: Each student experiences personalized learning within
a connected community.

Monday, 27 February 2017

Calling all 2016/2017 participating teachers!

Campus Calgary/Open Minds
Workshop for 2016/2017 Participating Teachers

Now what?
Keeping the CC/OM journey alive throughout the year…

Date: Wednesday, March 8th, 2017
Time: 4:30-7:00 (doors open at 4:00)
Place: St. Pius X School - 2312 - 18 Street NW
Light dinner will be provided.

Open to all teachers participating in Campus Calgary/Open Minds
2016-17 school year.

Part A:  Come hear from your colleagues as they share their school journeys with CC/OM. How have they kept the inquiry alive? How do journals support the inquiry?  The big idea has to live everywhere…how does this happen?  Different grades and sites will be represented in this sharing session.

Part B:  All participants are asked to bring an artifact/piece of student work that demonstrates where you are in the journey. Things to consider include:
How have you honoured student voice?
How is the inquiry coming alive?
Where are connections being made and growing?
If you were telling someone about CC/OM, what would be one of the first things you would share about your experience?

Space is limited. Please RSVP by March 3rd to secure your space.

Please contact
Travis Robertson   403-817-7583
Jenn Meredith 403-817-7510
Ita Kistorma  403-651-8500

with any questions.

Thursday, 23 February 2017

CC/OM: From the Studio to the Classroom: Try this one out and share your experiences!


Studio for your Classroom:  Sketching from the inside out!

A big thank you to Esker Gallery, Ron Wigglesworth and our exceptional CC/OM Site Coordinators!


Tuesday, 21 February 2017

Exploring People, Places, and Partnerships

Campus Calgary / Open Minds (CC/OM) provides opportunities for teachers to take their students to 11 different community sites for weeklong immersive field studies.  As part of CC/OM, there are many key elements that site coordinators and teachers engage students in, one of which is slowing down and going beyond the obvious, which is often taken up through journalling.  Having opportunities for reflective work and time to journal gives students the ability to make connections, find themselves in their learning, and to make sense of how this learning and work on site fits within their year’s inquiry.

CC/OM offers participating teachers professional development opportunities to build professional capital around inquiry (big ideas), journaling techniques, and other reflective strategies to make thinking visible.  As part of this work, we realize the importance of building capacity within our community site coordinators as well.  When site coordinators and teachers work together, they can impact one another’s pedagogy and therefore be impactful in designing students’ learning opportunities.

Site coordinators and the CC/OM operations team (bridging CBE and CCSD) had the opportunity to work alongside journaling expert and University of Alberta doctoral candidate Ron Wigglesworth.  Ron is interested in how hand drawing can enhance observation in science and other disciplines, in our increasing digital world.  Ron led the coordinators on a journey, starting to answer the following three questions: What is the purpose of a sketchbook? How do we approach drawing in different ways? And, how do we bring inquiry to students in an authentic way? 

Ron shared many key messages with the site coordinators, which would be important messages to any teacher considering using journaling or sketching as part of their professional practice, some of which are:
·      one can develop competence in journalling through practice (and more practice) and then share it with others, enabling teachers and students  to capture their learning in new and various ways
·      a sketchbook is a collection, and contains your unique voice in its sketches and writing
·      draw in black pen/micron pigma 005; layer your marks; commit to it and trust; work quickly
·      you can choose what you want to draw and you don’t have to draw the whole thing
·      drawing can be symbolic or representative, it doesn’t necessarily have to be what you see, but your impressions of the experience and learning has been captured
·      draw from the inside (when you outline something then you have to fill it in, but if you start from the middle you have more opportunities).
·      drawing is about mark-making and finding marks that you’re comfortable with making
·      wherever your eye goes first, start your drawing there, it’s about the choices you make, and add the anomalies in what you see
·      trace a section of the shape in the air to practice before drawing that same section on paper. “I just have to move my hand in the shape I want to make” - Ron

There were many key takeaways for the entire CC/OM team that could extend to classrooms across our city.  Having opportunities to empathize and to work in ways that we ask students to all the time and to receive feedback on can sometimes be difficult as it can feel vulnerable to take a chance and then to receive feedback. 

Being in the places of learners is important for educators to be as it helps us to better understand and assist our students in becoming lifelong learners.
“Life shrinks or expands in proportion to one’s courage.” ~ Anais Nin

“The whole art of teaching is to awaken natural curiosity of young minds for the purpose of satisfying it afterwards.” ~ Anatole France