With our life sciences weekend just around the corner (14 – 16 October!), the Siyavula team is full of excitement and anticipation for what the weekend will hold! Much planning and activity is happening in our office, as we make final preparations for the weekend to ensure its success!
We have Tommy Botha who is the Senior Curriculum Planner for Life Sciences in the Western Cape attending, as well as Mari Clark from Westville Girls’ High School in Durban, who was one of the syllabus writers for the new CAPS documents. Educators from the Western Cape that are coming are Nicole Masureik (Pinelands High School), Mike Kendrick (South High), Laura Kannemeyer (Rondebosch Boys’ High School), and Peter Mann who is now retired (was previously at Fish Hoek High School). In addition to this we have educators from Johannesburg coming down, namely Erica Makings (La Salle College, Discovery), and Hassiena Marriott (Dominican Convent School). We have twelve students from UCT and Stellenbosch University that have signed up, as well as a graphic designer, and a social transformation specialist on board, in addition to our wonderful facilitator Helene! It is going to be a great weekend and we look forward to the collaboration that will take place!
We created a free Dropbox account which serves as a repository for everyone to contribute their life sciences resources to. Our curriculum framework plus style guide are available in this Dropbox folder, along with a mindmap of the Grade 10 syllabus. We have encouraged everyone that has signed up to look at this before the weekend so that on Friday afternoon we can discuss it as a group, and come to an agreement on the documentation.
Dropbox is an online tool for sharing documents, which you can read more about here. By sharing a folder in Dropbox with selected people, these people download the client to their own computer, which then lets them copy their documents into the folder, and it automatically syncs with everyone else’s folder too. This means that when we share this folder with educators and volunteers, they can add their own life sciences resources to the Dropbox, and everyone that has access to the folder will be able to see all the content that is being contributed. We hope that by having all the life sciences educators and volunteers able to see the shared content, it will be a further motivator to everyone to add more of their own resources to the pool!
So far we have content contributed by Cheryl Douglas from Bishops and the Teaching Biology Project, and we will be adding content from Mindset Learn to the folders too. If educators are not able to add their content they are welcome to email it in to us and we will add it to the Dropbox on their behalf. If the content is too large to be emailed then educators are welcome to bring it with them on Friday, and we will add it to the Dropbox then. All we ask is that it be pre-sorted so that it will be easy for us to put in the correct place. If any other life sciences educators would like access to the Dropbox, please send me an email [bridget at siyavula dot com] and we will gladly add you to the folder.
We are currently creating the framework for the paper prototyping exercise that everyone will participate in on Friday afternoon. This is an activity that literally involves using coloured paper and cardboard, and which will represent the chapter structure and what content needs to be added in and where. This is the best place to start the formulation of each unit of each chapter, especially as content is coming in from different people, and it will just help everyone see how their chapter will be constructed, and where they need to pull information from. We are doing as much preparation for this as possible, to ensure the process runs smoothly on the day.
Our fabulous caterer Carise is ready to provide us with delicious food for the weekend, which is very important for everyone involved! The weekend is going to be fully catered, and will cover breakfast, mid-morning tea, lunch, afternoon tea and supper. We have a wonderful menu for the weekend, which will really add to the experience for all involved.
In the leadup to this weekend we held three life sciences information evenings, which saw many sign ups for the weekend sprint emerge. We provided a general overview of Siyavula and what we do, as well as what the life sciences book will involve and how it will be created through collaboration. There was much excitement about the book expressed at these evenings, and we look forward to the energy this will bring to the weekend.
If anyone is still interested in signing up for the life sciences weekend, please do so here: http://siyavula-lifesci14-16october.eventbrite.com/
We welcome any suggestions / comments / feedback around the planning and prep for the weekend. The countdown has begun – 7 days to go!