2017 Final Results


Building Thinking Classrooms

Building Thinking Classrooms, a mathematics teaching practice framework, was developed with, and for, mathematics teachers in BC.

This framework is predicated on a desire to design a classroom that is not only conducive to thinking but also occasions thinking. Thinking individuals as well as individuals thinking collectively, learning together and constructing knowledge and understanding through activity and discussion inhabit this classroom space. A classroom space wherein the teacher not only fosters thinking but also expects it, both implicitly and explicitly. 

Through 12 years of empirical work on the design and testing of such spaces, a collection of nine practices that both describes a thinking classroom and offers a prescriptive framework for mathematics teachers to build such a classroom has emerged, resulting in numerous publications. 

Since its completion, the popularity of this framework has spread across BC resulting in high demands to provide in-service education for K-12 mathematics teachers in Burnaby, Cranbrook, Dawson Creek, Delta, Kamloops, Kimberly, Nelson, North Vancouver, Oliver, Penticton, Prince George, Gulf Islands, Surrey, and Vernon. 


Peter Liljedahl, Associate Professor, SFU Faculty of Education


Through a Different Lens 

Through a Different Lens is a teacher-led project looking at innovative teaching and assessment strategies that capitalize on student strengths by allowing them to choose a method of both learning and representing that is aligned with their interests, cultural background, talents and strengths. The focus of the project is on engagement, strength-based teaching and assessment, and teacher collaboration. 

The project has collected over 1200 surveys from a wide range of students, completed 150 case studies of vulnerable students, involved over 130 teachers in inquiry groups, and impacted thousands of students. Additionally, TADL has offered English First Peoples to 350 students, hosted 12 Aboriginal book club gatherings for SD67 staff, made connections with the Penticton Indian Band, and offered workshops around the province, receiving numerous grants and awards in the process. 

Now in its sixth year, these initiatives have seen dramatic growth in every participating student, especially those at risk of not completing school. Students attend school more often, pass more courses and graduate. Since 2011, 6-year completion rates have risen from 84% to 87%, with completion rates for students of Aboriginal ancestry increasing from 53% to 65%. TADL has no plans to stop this initiative anytime soon. 


Todd Manuel, Director of Instruction for Student Services, SD67 
Myron Dueck, Vice-Principal, Summerland Secondary
Jeff Fitton, Helping Teaching, School Completion
Naryn Searcy, Helping Teacher, School Completion
Judith King, Helping Teacher, School Completion
Dr. Leyton Schnellert, Professor, University of British Columbia, Okanagan 


Inquiry Hub and Student-Powered Projects

Dream_Create_Learn was created to allow students to pursue personal interests with school support and for credit towards graduation. DCL is a transformation from a traditional model of students in block schedules in classroom settings to a schedule that provides student-directed learning opportunities.

Up to 50% of a student's week is available for them to determine their own learning intiatives. Time is made available by using online resources so students can have more control over the pacing of their course work, for example, they may work ahead in Math or review History lessons from earlier in the year. Students earn credits towards graduation through the projects that they take up during DCL time. 

Students are intrinsically mtoviated when they work on projects of their own design. Moreover, many of these student-powered projects benefit the school environment by producing long-term benefits, including the construction of a community garden, the addition of a student-created mural, and access to new technologies, such as a virtual reality headset and 3D printer. 

While DCL at Inquiry Hub is a stand-alone small program today, there is great potential for growth into a fully developed system in larger schools, with a redesigned schedule where every student is given time to Dream_Create_Learn. 


John Sarte, Teacher, Inquiry Hub Secondary 
David Truss, Vice-Prinicipal, Inquiry Hub Secondary
Alan Soiseth, Teacher, Inquiry Hub Secondary 



Farm Roots: A Ground Breaking Mini School

While earning dual credits for secondary school graduation and Kwantlen Polytechnic University, students design, plan and build a farm on a small school set on 8 acres. Students in this mini-school learn about food systems and sustainability by engaging with core course curricula in the context of farming. 

Nominees: Nancy Gordon, Jeanette Beaulieu, Brooke Moore, Graham Harkley, Tammy Veltkamp

Learning Without Limits: Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning

Surrey Academy of Innovative Learning (SAIL) is a blended interdisciplinary school where students learn through inquiry and project-based learning using a variety of digital tools. The school fills a need for students to learn in flexible, personalized environments in alignment with BC’s new curriculum.

Nominees: Sabrina Symons, Jaswinder Uppal, Lisa Domeier de Suarez, Tamela Manery, Margaret Westaway

Mobile Makerspace

Appropriate for Kindergarten to Grade 12, Mobile Makerspace provides schools with access to technological experimentation and design opportunities with Lego robotics, littleBits, Sphero robotics, and coding learning experiences. This access to technology is often difficult to come by given challenges with funding or lack of expertise.

Nominees: Corinne McWhinney, Josh Vance, Brendan Robertson

Take a Stand: Youth for Conservation

Developed to share and treasure the natural beauty of British Columbia with youth, the aim of Take a Stand is to inspire, motivate and empower youth to protect and conserve the environment through art, film, and youth-driven action.  

Nominees: Allison Kermode, Norm Hann, Nicholas Teichrob, Anthony Bonello

Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad

The Young Entrepreneur Leadership Launchpad (YELL) is a hands-on, experiential accelerator for high school students interested in gaining knowledge and developing experience in all areas of business and entrepreneurship. YELL helps students interact with like-minded individuals, build a community-based framework to enhance innovation, and provides a learning structure to foster innovation and advancement for future generations.

Nominees: Amit Sandhu, Punit Dhillon, Rattan Bagga, David Cameron


Accelerative Integrated Methodology

Accelerative Integrated Methodology (AIM) uses gestures, storying, drama and dance to promote effective language learning. Focused on French programs, AIM has transformed language learning and teaching from Kindergarten to Grade 12 in BC and around the world.

Nominee: Wendy Maxwell

Byrne Creek Family of Schools Robotics and Coding Initiative

Reaching upwards of 500 students, the Robotics and Coding program teaches students the fundamentals of coding and engineering design. Students learn the basics of computer algorithms, programming language, and experiment with three dimensional models and robotics equipment.

Nominee: Ashley Vince 

Coding with Spheros

The Coding with Spheros initiative is a first-of-its-kind program in BC. Students program a small “Sphero” robot using a coding application to tell the Sphero what to do. Coding with Spheros provides basic coding knowledge for students and emphasizes student-driven learning.

Nominees: David Sands, Theresa Roberts, John Sarte, Patricia Gartland, Ryan Peterson, Kelsey Bowman

Dancing Backwards

Dancing Backwards is a free 8-week school program for BC students in Grades 5-8 that uses reflective study and creative storytelling to highlight contributions of Canadian women in politics and Aboriginal women in governance. 

Nominee: Sandra Mayzell

Development and Implementation of Core Competencies Within Curricular Competencies at Vernon Community School

A unique venture in its school district, Vernon Community School is an alternative school for students in Grades 7-12. It is a place of mindful teaching and learning rooted in social justice and encourages students to “take up” their own learning.

Nominees: Murray Sasges

EDGE-ucation: Experiential Education Fostering Personal Growth and Academic Success

The EDGE Program is an experiential, interdisciplinary program created for Grade 11 students. Every other day, EDGE students and teachers only have EDGE classes, which removes traditional classroom restraints by blending outdoor experiences with in-class learning.

Nominees: Grant Inkster, Terry Stead, Doug McEachern, Eric Balzarini, Julia Bryant-Taneda, George Kozlovic

E.N.T.E.R. Program

The Ecademy of New Technology, Engineering and Robotics (E.N.T.E.R.) embraces student-centred learning, STEM subjects, hands-on experiences, and community integration.

Nominees: Roger Vernon

Growing Wild Connections for BC Schools

The Growing Wild Connections initiative provides teachers with environmental education and funding resources with the aim to cultivate environmental literacy from Kindergarten to Grade 12.

Nominee: Kerrie Mortin

Modern Learning for a Modern World

The Modern Learning for a Modern World program sought to re-envision school design and collective identity through a shift to inquiry-based learning, reconfiguration of school spaces, and adoption of a new school identity.

Nominee: Craig Cantlie

Nahmatahow: Mammal Track Indentification

Nahmatahow (meaning “we see visible tracks” in Cree/Michif) is a unit developed for students to learn to identify mammal signs and tracks; discover Aboriginal world-views through stories related to tracking and hunting; and to practice hands-on discovery through experiments and observations.

Nominee: Lisa Pugh

Real Acts of Caring

RAC (Real Acts of Caring) is about doing something kind and not expecting anything in return. RAC Week is celebrated each year in February during the week of Valentine’s Day, and helps promote connectedness, gratitude, and self-esteem.

Nominees: Harriette Chang

Smalls Acts of Courage

Small Acts of Courage is a program which teachers children to recognize and develop their capacity for courage. It introduces topics related to the capacity of courage and uses student examples and reflection to solidify understandings.

Nominee: Heidi Jungwirth

Teaching with Cases in Secondary Schools

Teaching with Cases in Secondary Schools is an intensive learning program intended for secondary teachers. It uses curriculum materials and a teaching film to demonstrate how to evaluate student performance using case method teaching.

Nominee: Selma Wassermann 

The Power of Student Driven Music Education

The Power of Student Driven Music Education is a program that teaches Grade 9 to 12 students to perform and record music. In class, students of all abilities work together in teams on projects based on their music interests.

Nominee: Stavros (Steve) Sainas

Verbathon®: How to have fun with verbs and grammar!

Verbathon® is a teaching tool comprised of a custom wallchart, a set of cards and a teacher' manual, which doubles as a game for learning verbs and grammar. The Verbathon kit is used by schools across Canada, the United States and overseas and is available in French, Spanish and German.

Nominee: Emmanuel Escueta

W.L. Seaton Junior Academy

At W.L. Seaton Secondary School, the Junior Academy integrates the core subjects in an engaging and inquiry-based model. The program aims to ease the transition between elementary and secondary schools and allow for deeper exploration of big ideas.

Nominees: Cara Cyr, James Carr, Ross Ohashi, Jackie Kersey, Michelle Freebairn


Please enjoy some images celebrating the winners and nominees!