Westdale Film Festival

Imagine the auditorium a buzz with excitement as the Oscar winners rush on stage to receive their prize. The audience laughs and gasps during the screening of the winning films. This is how student work should be  shared!

Former Westdale students, Stefan Pejic, David Gunn and Khalin Elliott, once the stars of the Media Art program, are now  celebrating the new talent and presenting the Oscars. We also had Nathan Fleet, an established musician and successful filmmaker and curator of the Hamilton Film Festival  return to present the best short films. All the films were judged by our returning student presenters, plus Lock 3 Media, a documentary film production company and Miles Davren, film editor.

Photos from the show, the crowd – Junior and Senior assemblies, Andre  for  tech, our student MCs, Dan, Taylor, Milos and John Connolly teacher MC.

The winners are posted on our Vimeo Channel

Next year I think that we will be combining the junior and senior assemblies in order to show all the films to all the students. It is good for the juniors to see what the seniors are producing.

Learning through Hip Hop

A surgeon shows, through functional MRI imaging, that during improvisation the brain is working on many important levels, unlike when someone is using memorized material. Creativity is a neurological process that can be measured and this experiment measured brain activity while musicians were playing or rapping – comparing improvised jazz keyboard playing and hip hop rapping. The experimental question was: What happens in the brain during something that’s memorized and over-learned, and what happens in the brain during something that is spontaneously generated, or improvised, in a way that’s matched motorically and in terms of lower-level sensory motor features?

So if the brain is engaged on many levels during improv vs memorizing, then students should not be memorizing content. Why invest precious classroom time in a strategy that simply does not benefit the student? This speaks to the importance of learning through creativity, self-direction and discovery.


Edugains.ca is a rich resource for all teachers regarding AER, DI,

ELL, Literacy & Math.
It has reference manuals, strategies, and example lesson plans and guides.
The DI section is particularly robust, with a 2010 educator’s package that includes a guide, scrapbook and reference cards.
There are videos showing DI instructional practices in action for the following subjects at this link:
Career Studies
Family Studies – Food and Nutrition
Mathematics (5)
Religious Education
Science (2)
Technological Education
Understanding Canadian Law
Visual Arts (2)

There is also a series of unit plans posted for download from several subjects at this link that lay out the unit is a DI format with areas for DI Details, Curriculum connections, A&E, Prior learning, Materials & Resources, Lesson Activities