Shaun Else: Meeting students where they are on the road to learning
Year: 2018 – Province: Ontario
Prime Minister's Award for Teaching Excellence in STEM
John William Boich Public School
2474 Sutton Road
Burlington, ON L7L 0G2
Subjects and grades taught: All subjects in grades 3 and 4
Shaun Else is a teacher who not only sees students and colleagues for who they are but also excites them to think about who they can be and what paths of opportunity lay before them in an ever-changing world.
In his classroom community, "Elsewhere," Shaun engages his students through technology, inquiry, problem-solving and hands-on experiential learning. He models lifelong learning and believes all children can learn and be successful.
STEM in the Classroom
- Harnesses STEM to support students with a variety of abilities: those struggling to connect with teachers due to cognitive or learning needs can work in a specially design makerspace; Grade 3–6 boys challenged by reading and writing join the Need for Speed club to do building tasks and then reflect on the experience in writing
- Engages students at their academic entry point: learning about coding ranges from basic to more advanced techniques, and eventually mentoring others; a project on pulleys is tailored so students can build a simple one or a variety, enhanced with motors and lights
- Capitalizes on free online tools and children's love of stories to helpful them grasp tricky concepts: small teams of Grade 4 students plan, write and illustrate a choose-your-own-adventure-style story to solidify learning about the transformation of rocks
- Provides opportunities for student leadership, including designing the school's new creative applications room where students can try out new programs for coding, integration of sound, and video and graphics, along with the school's new 3D printer
- Makes significant contributions to school board's strength in technology through on-site, live-streamed and recorded presentations, and as a technology presenter for the training program for new teachers, and at provincial conferences and board workshops
- Organizes and leads community-school activities, including driving school participation in a cancer research fundraiser in honour of the school's namesake, and community events such as Movember
"What truly sets him apart, I believe, is how he has taught my children to value their own unique qualities, set goals for themselves that can take them in any direction and to know what it feels like to be excited about their learning."
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