School Name: Adams Road
School District: SD#36 Surrey
Inquiry Team Members: Jennifer Cox: email@example.com, Kevin M’Lot: firstname.lastname@example.org, Lilliana Bolton: email@example.com, Leah Wolosnick: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kathy Warkentin: email@example.com, Shelley Vernon: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kristin Melvin: email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Other: Cross-Curricular
Focus Addressed: First Peoples Principles of Learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? We wanted to investigate First People’s Learning, expanding it to more cross-curricular areas.
Scanning: We believed the students were becoming more connected to each other in their classrooms. Due to classes needing to remain in their cohorts this school year, they established closer connections as a result. We also believe our previous inquiry helped encourage these connections.
Focus: This year we were hoping to deepen each student’s connection to the First Peoples Principles of Learning, and to extend that understanding to different curricular areas within our classrooms.
Hunch: Teachers at our school expressed a strong desire to explore more Indigenous connections in a variety of subject areas and methods of sharing these strong connections.
New Professional Learning: We continued using the resource Circle Forward in our classrooms, specifically during morning meetings or circle time (SEL). A couple teachers used the Scholastic resource Take Action for Reconciliation: Path to Wellness booklet in their classrooms to educate students about how culture is connected to wellness and ways that Indigenous Peoples Stay Healthy, hoping that they could connect these strategies to ones they already use, as well as learn some new ones (SEL and Physical and Health Education).
Taking Action: We booked a school wide presentation called Th’owxiya: The Hungry Feast Dish — Axis Theatre, and used our funds for this. The focus is: “When you take something from the earth, you must give something back.” Students will get the chance to enjoy traditional Coast Salish and Sto:lo music, mask and imagery, which made this a cross-curricular presentation that should appeal to students of all ages at our school. They also provide a study guide to help prepare classes that give the curriculum connections (art and social responsibility) and connections to the First Peoples Principles of Learning. It also gives questions to use before and after the show, and a link to David Suzuki’s website so we can share how hard he has worked to educate people about the environment and climate change (Science). They also suggest a Social Studies connection of labelling a map with First Nations regions in our area.
Teachers in our whole school have also been discussing the tragic news of finding the 215 remains of children at the Kamloops Residential school site. We have been encouraging students to wear orange, and discussing why we wear orange. Additionally, teachers decorated the pavement with hearts and messages (and will do this again on Monday), and we are getting students to colour in the feather and shirt designed as a response to this latest discovery. This sad event has really hit home and helped staff and students understand what families went through that were affected by residential schools. I was able to connect it to my grade 6 Socials unit about how education can change lives, and the unequal education the First Nations students have received.
Checking: We won’t know the results of the virtual school presentation until it happens. Teachers have access from June 7th to 18th. We anticipate a lot of great discussion before and after, and being able to use the study guide to make even deeper cross curricular connections.
We are happy to continue using Circle Forward as it is so rich with ideas and resources. The teachers who used the Scholastic resource also felt that their classes benefited from the information it provided.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that there are so many valuable ways to include Indigenous learnings in our classroom, and how residential schools are still so much a part of the present as well as the past. We learned about a new resource (Path to Wellness) that we can borrow from Aboriginal Resources, and about a wonderful presentation that the whole school can enjoy and learn from. We look forward to continue this learning next year and deepening on the foundation we have begun building.