Their First Year: Blended+ Humanities Takes the Classroom to the Real World

March 15, 2023 3 min read

Humanities courses, which are comprised of English and social studies, focus on the richness of the human experience. From reading and deciphering literature to understanding history as it relates to our current world, it only makes sense that the Blended+ program for Grades 9-12 gives students a greater opportunity to learn in the real world.

Welcome, Ms. Heard and Mr. Gierl!

For the newest Blended+ Humanities teachers, Meagan Heard (Grades 9-10) and Markus Gierl (Grades 11-12), their first year teaching in the program has come with many surprises and welcome changes to how they view education and how learning is only evolving in a post-pandemic world.

Ms. Heard, who has been with Calgary Academy since 2008, and Mr. Gierl, since 2017, both jumped at the chance to try something new for the 2022-23 school year. From being part of the design for a new program now in its sophomore year, to having the ability to work even closer with students due to smaller class sizes, they have been pleasantly surprised at how students have responded to the unique elements of the Blended+ program.

“I’ve been really delighted to see the students much more engaged in their learning because they have full control of their learning journey which allows them to understand the material on a deeper level.” – Ms. Heard

Creating a nurturing community for students

Just how many students come into the classroom daily has been a welcome surprise, which is a testament to the nurturing community feeling that the Blended+ teachers are curating.

“Students can choose which environment is better for them, but most Grade 9-10 students come in every single day. I think this is in part because we have created a safe space where students are allowed much more autonomy in their learning, but know they have the support they need to succeed.” – Ms. Heard

A program that caters to a variety of learners

Blended+ continues to cater to a wide variety of learners as the needs of students are just as diverse as its teachings. From competitive athletes accessing coursework from around the world to students volunteering at the Humane Society in their free afternoons to having the chance to take on leadership opportunities with Early Years students in PE, and even taking on additional classes for credits that they would not be able to otherwise, the program gives students a glimpse into life beyond the four walls of CA.

“I have seen students who really wanted more independence, find a lot of success in Blended+ because it’s really the first time in their education journey that they’ve been given the chance to make school decisions that fit with their lifestyle. – Mr. Gierl

Blended+ takes it to the skies…and the stage

While both teachers agree that the students are most looking forward to jetting off on their field trip to Montreal in May, there are lots of opportunities within the robust arts community here in Calgary to take learning to the next level.

“At the end of March, our classes are going to a stage production at Theatre Calgary. The chance to combine the experiential learning opportunities that Blended+ provides with the English requirements of reading a modern play is a nice coincidence. Students can experience how something plays out in the real world while learning the theory in class–which is what learning is all about.” – Mr. Gierl

To learn more about Blended+, join an upcoming Admissions tour running until June. RSVP here.