Introduce yourself and the courses you teach. What, in your opinion, is the best thing about being a teacher at Centennial Academy?
My name is Meighan Diggle and I teach grade 7 and 8 French as a second language.
The best thing about being a teacher at Centennial is the fact that we are encouraged to be lifelong learners and risk takers. It is a place where students and teachers alike are always learning, so as a teacher there is an emphasis placed on being innovative and trying new things in the classroom regardless of the outcome, then reflecting on our own practices to see whether it was effective or not.
What are the top 3 things that you think make Centennial Academy unique?
- The strategic approach that we use.
- The tools that are created to help students succeed.
- Data driven collaboration among staff members.
Tell me about one of your favorite teaching memories/story?
In grade 10 French, we watch a movie called “Les intouchables”. When I taught grade 10, 2 years ago, we were watching the movie and all of a sudden the song “September” by Earth Wind and Fire came on and I looked away from the screen and saw all of my grade 10 students lip syncing and dancing in their seats. I started laughing hysterically and then it became something that we spoke about often in class. It was so nice seeing these students enjoying themselves while watching a French movie.
What do you think your students like the most about you?
I think that they would say that I am structured, but that I have a good balance of serious and fun in the classroom.
Describe a typical classroom experience or a typical day at Centennial?
In French class, we always start with a routine. The students know that when they get into class, they take out their notebook, write the date and start working on whatever is projected on the board. We then go into an opening activity where I introduce the topic of the day with either a video, a powerpoint or a discussion. Then they have about 30 minutes to work on their learning activity which is either individual, in pairs or in groups of 4. We have a lot of opportunity to discuss and collaborate in French class. At the end of the class, we do a short activity so that I can check what was understood and what needs further clarification.
Describe in your own words the Centennial Academy Approach and how UDL really works.
Universal design for learning is about teaching to diverse learners regardless of their learning profile. Creating structures and using strategies in class that help ensure that everyone in the classroom can access the material and be successful no matter their learning challenges. Centennial is a unique school because we do not focus on the needs of one particular student in the class, but rather the needs of everyone and determine how we can alter our teaching practices to ensure that all student needs are being met.