Games as a learning tool

Students in Science 7 class have been studying geological time this past week. They were challenged to create board games that highlight key events in the evolution of life, and other important moments in geological time. Students came up with some creative, fun, and very informative games that we enjoyed playing in class.

“Love the Skin You’re In’ with Brie Mathers Oct 19th at 7pm

Join body image activist Brie Mathers for a dynamic multimedia presentation called ‘Love The Skin You’re In’. Through exposing the pitfalls of media influences, we invite those supporting the healthy development of young people to explore a powerful evening of education. It is guaranteed to be impactful, helping to reinforce or change the mindset of those who often feel society’s negative lure towards a single focus on sexualized external beauty. We will seek to discuss the difficulty of this ever changing culture where younger generations can feel they are swimming upstream if focusing on inner strength, character, and brain power. This evening will inspire parents to support their sons and daughters to find power in connection over looks-based comparison and competition.

“Love the Skin You’re In’
Wednesday October 19th
Quest University, 3200 University Blvd. Squamish

*Doors open at 6:30pm, presentation starts at 7pm.
**Please note that the presentation takes place in the Quest (MPR) Multi-Purpose Room located below the Quest Cafeteria.

***Admission is free, but donations for the Squamish Food Bank are welcome!

Problem Solving Fridays

A new initiative this year at CMA is Problem Solving Fridays. The purpose of this block is to come together and collaborate as multi-grade learning teams around problem solving activities.  Students are learning to work in diverse groups while employing various problem solving skills.  Over past couple weeks we have been working together to solve problems in the discipline of math. Students have used mathematical strategies such as looking for patterns, making charts and tables with data, guessing and checking, drawing pictures or models, acting out scenarios, solving simpler related problems, and working backwards. These strategies are extremely valuable as they transfer outside of the discipline of math.

This past Friday we worked with a problem called Marbles in a Box. Imagine a 3 dimensional Tic Tac Toe game. The students were to find out how many winning combinations there were. In a period of 30 minutes they were able to come up with several different strategies to present to their peers.  CMA students were even able to develop a formula that transferred over as the box increased in dimension. Please see the pictures below for some examples of student explanations.

Many students are noting the advantage of working with people with a variety of experience and ways of thinking about things, but also the challenges. As we forge ahead we will continue to work on mathematical problems, but may also start to look at some challenges that cross into other domains. Hopefully we will even be presented with some ‘real world’ scenarios. Some of these scenarios will connect to our E3 activities. Perhaps you have a scenario in your workplace to present to our kids to do some creative problem solving around?

An example of some students transferring authentic problem solving activities into real world scenarios comes from some work done in School District 43’s Inquiry Hub. The students in this program noticed that the process of taking attendance was eating into their valuable learning time. A group decided they were going to develop an app so that students could sign in for the day with their phones so that they could eliminate cumbersome process and be more efficient with their time. A construction company heard about the app the students developed and felt that it could also be used in their workplace to record sign-in and working hours for their employees. The company ended up buying the app from the students and is now using it for this purpose. Wouldn’t it be awesome for some of our CMA students to be able to have such a meaningful and rewarding learning experience? If you have a workplace scenario you think our CMA students could take stake in please contact [email protected].

Inquiry Based Learning, Core Competencies, and the revised BC curriculum at CMA.

Since August 22, CMA Faculty have been rigorously preparing for the school year and this first week at camp. Most of our days were filled with meetings and planning sessions; but on September 1st we took a break from our planning to do some professional development.
This upcoming year we will be doing a lot of school wide work in Inquiry Based Learning. One of the outcomes of this style of learning and teaching is the opportunity to develop and practice the 21st century skills that have been identified as the most important competencies for students to acquire in their schooling. The BC Ministry of Education articulates these skills in the new mandated curriculum as “Core Competencies”.  These core competencies span and support the content of the learning in each subject area and have become a focus in the updated curriculum.

CMA teachers spent the day becoming familiar with these competencies and how they are woven into the revised curriculum.  More professional development work will be done when it comes to recognizing how we are already addressing these competencies, new ways to infuse them into our practice and including them in student assessment. A description of the Core Competencies can be accessed at

Guest Blogger – Ms. Alysa Patching, CMA Coordinator of Innovation and Learning

A Week to Build Community at CMA

As in years past, we started the academic year at Camp Summit. CMA students and faculty eat, live, and play together for 4 days straight. Our adventures at camp build trust, respect, and most of all a sense of community and friendship. What a way to launch the academic year and our uniquely CMA outdoor education program!

Website Renewal Completed

With our third year of operation a huge success, I was determined to spend some of my available time this Summer to finally update CMA’s website.

While our previous online presence was sufficient, it was much more oriented toward’s its original purpose: announcing to the world that CMA existed and what it would be. Now that we have been through a few years, put mileage on our buses, and graduated our first student, our website needed to better reflect the living community CMA has become.

After quite some effort and deliberation, therefore, I present to you CMA’s illustrious updated website! A new look and feel, some sought-after information tools (e.g. the prominent Google-powered School Calendar!), tighter social media integration, and a host of improvements on our end which will allow staff to make this an authoritative source of information for current and prospective families.

I invite you to use social media to give us feedback on the new site and to share it far and wide!

Mr. Slinger’s Kenya Adventure with Me to We

My wife Leanne and I had the opportunity to travel to the Maasai Mara in Kenya on an educator’s scouting trip with Free The Children and a group of 20 educators from all over North America. What an amazing trip it was on so many levels. I would like to share a few of my takeaways.

Free the Children works with communities in areas where the cycle of poverty is very evident. When the organization agrees to work with community leaders they do so with a framework of support to strengthen five pillars of community – Education, Clean Water and Sanitation, Health, Agriculture and Food Security, and Alternative Income and Livelihood. Establishing a foundation with these pillars is the beginning of breaking the cycle of poverty for these communities. You can read more about the pillars and why they are so important by clicking here.

For the sake of time I will just comment on our experiences with the education pillar while in Kenya. Where we were in the Maasai Mara was the village that Free The Children has been working in the longest (over 15 years). So, we had the opportunity to see the type of impacts the five pillars can have on a community over time. On our trip we visited a few schools that Free The Children has built – Emorijoi Primary School (Gr. K-8), Kisaruni School for Girls (Gr. 9-12) – and spent the better part of two days working at the build site for the Ngulot Mountainview All Boys Secondary School for Boys (Gr. 9-12) which will hopefully be open for classes in January of 2017.

Emorijoi was the first school we visited on our trip. We had an opportunity to tour the school and visit with the teachers and students. The first thing that struck us as we were walking down the long dirt road towards the school was that all of a sudden, these little kids dressed in their school uniforms started climbing through the barbed wire fence to run out and join us. They would run up to us with big smiles and laughter, say nothing, grab our hands and walk with us the rest of the way to the school. Once there, we started to speak and play with the students (English is the language taught and spoken at school). We had a great big soccer game on the field which was lots of fun, especially trying to dodge the cow pies and the cows!!

Kisaruni School for Girls was definitely one of the highlights. The visit really helped re-establish in me the importance of education and how much we take for granted in our society. The girls all begin classes at 5:00am and carry on with a packed learning schedule until 9:00pm. They then have some individual learning time until lights out at 10:00pm. However, many girls stay up with flashlights reading until late into the night. These girls respect and value education like no students I have ever seen before – the alternative for the them is to be married off by their parents in exchange for a dowry of goats or cattle. Yes, if not in school they would most likely be married and having kids at 14 years of age. The girls are all committed to their studies as they see education as a way for them to help their families and community.

Ngulot was another great experience as we were able to get our hands dirty helping to build the future high school that will allow boys in the community to carry on their education. We were given the task to dig the foundation of one of the school buildings so they would be able to pour the foundation. The trenches had to be 4 feet deep and all of them dug out with pick axes and shovels. One of the days we teamed up with a Free The Children youth group on the build site. It was great to chat with the students and hear their stories about how Free The Children has impacted them personally and what they have been working on to make a difference in the world themselves. Very powerful.

Below you will see a sampling of our photos from the trip. There are some photos from our school visits with the students, from the build site, one of me doing a water walk (another story in itself), Leanne and I with our Maasai Warrior guides and some local mamas, and a shot of the leopard we saw on our safari.

I am very excited for CMA to continue to develop a relationship with Free The Children and continue to build on our commitment as a school to community service locally, nationally and internationally. Our international service trip to Ecuador with Free The Children in June 2017 is going to be an incredible experience for our Gr. 10, 11 & 12’s that participate. If my trip to Kenya is an indication, I would expect that the global perspectives of all who participate will be transformed.
Yours in education,
Mr. Slinger