I. General Information
School Name: Cherry Hill Elementary
School District: SD#75 Mission
Inquiry Team Members: Raymond Wong: firstname.lastname@example.org, Hardeep Grewal: email@example.com, Rhea Paul; firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: Raymond Wongemail@example.com
II. Inquiry Project Information
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Areas Addressed: Applied Design, skills & Technology, Arts Education, Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Community-based learning, Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Differentiated instruction, Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning, Formative assessment, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Indigenous pedagogy, Inquiry-based learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Awareness of Coast Salish culture through the diverse respectful meanings of Coast Salish art.
III. Spirals of Inquiry Details
- The adapted key questions were implemented before and throughout the inquiry process to foster proactive holistic understandings of the learners in how they were progressing with their learning, wherein adaptations to pedagogical approaches were made with respect to differentiated instruction and social emotional learning for student success. Additionally, the adapted key questions also contributed to creating access points for their learning.
- Every learner’s experience encompasses the many diverse aspects of their student life (e.g., emotional, intellectual, and social) and how their experiences (intrinsic and extrinsic) are interconnected to the school community, more importantly, how their life at home connects to life at school and vice versa.
- The OECD principles of learning provided complementary constructive means both as a form of a checklist and reference to help strive for meaningful student learning. For example, the timing of when a student responds to an adapted key question is integral to the type of response. Students who were afforded a one-to-one audience generally shared intrinsic responses without direct peer influence; therefore, it provided choice for both the interviewer and the student in the above proceedings to strive towards a more meaningful outcome. It is important to note that there are students who thrive outside of a one-to-one audience, which in turn also provides meaningful responses.
- With respect to the First Peoples Principles of Learning (FPPL), one of the many highlighted principles implemented was how “Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational”. The relational aspect of student-to-teacher relationship is important in how we can foster reciprocal teaching – hence the students become the teacher. For example, there are instances that a student asked another student the adapted key questions to generate a more intrinsic and meaningful response when compared to a teacher and student, because of the relational factor (peer to peer) in their school life.
- There is a reflective and reflexive element from the FPPL and how students are provided opportunities to reflect on their learning (reflection-in-action/reflection-on-action) as they learn. Reflection also extends from self to co-reflection, to provide diverse opportunities to express themselves linking to the scanning process.
- The school team was invited to explore the Cross Curricular Salish Weave Art Project, which provided the school with authentic Coast Salish art prints and the wonderful learning opportunity for students to increase respectful cultural awareness. The project afforded students invaluable learning experiences to respectfully dive deep into the meaning and intent of what each diverse Coast Salish art print encompasses.
- Share with students an array of multiple diverse perspectives into how each Indigenous artist draws upon their culture, traditions, and stories. The exploration of the authentic Coast Salish art prints open doors for students to learn about the culture and provides a context to understand and appreciate themselves and others. With respect to Sections 62 & 63 of the TRC (Truth and Reconciliation Committee) Calls to Action Report, and how it addresses tasks for educational institutions about “Building student capacity for intercultural understanding, empathy, and mutual respect” (Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action, 2015), connects with how this project gives each student the power to respectfully express themselves in their voice during the learning process.
- The following are positive practices:
- The school provides opportunities for students to volunteer within the school community – to grow both as individuals and leaders. Examples include volunteering for school events (e.g., Sports Day, assemblies, Spirit Days).
- The school provides opportunities for students to join school sport teams (e.g., cross country, basketball, volleyball, track & field, touch football) and school clubs.
- Additionally, the school recognizes student success through volunteerism, leadership, and community contributions.
New Professional Learning:
- Participation in the Stó:lō Drum Teaching/Drum-making workshop
- Teacher Inquiry Project (TIP) of Heart Canoe Workshop
- Indigenous connections to the BC Mathematics Curriculum Workshop
- Opening the Basket: Sharing, Revitalizing and Reconnecting the Stó:lō Sitel Curriculum
- Connecting with key staff from Siwal Si’wes (Indigenous Education Department) helped greatly in several ways. The transparent discussions in how to proceed with the Cross Curricular Salish Weave Art Project led to the increase meaningful implementation of authentic Indigenous print and digital resources to share with the students, as well as contacting a local Coast Salish artist who shared his knowledge (e.g., carving tools, cultural protocols, art forms). This opened new doors in how we can foster student learning through authentic means.
- Certain elements of the Backward Design process were implemented, such as what students would create as the end goal. Once the end goal is set, planning the sequence of lessons to reach the end goal follows. The summative project was broken down into steps with physical examples for open collegial discussions: student learning process, summative project adjustments, and timeline projections.
- Elements of the Universal Design for Learning were incorporated to scaffold the needs of learners. Just as students benefited from visual supplements to enrich their learning, colleagues were provided with visuals (print and digital resources). Other means to help access information differently and enhance learning included artifacts such as cedar bentwood boxes, a cedar model longhouse, and drums to engage multiple sensory systems: tactile, olfactory, and visual.
- The organization of the project was formulated into five stages which connected to the curriculum and the core competencies. Each of the five stages has an overarching learning goal and under each learning goal comprises a Set of Actions (SOA) to complete the learning goal. SOA can be fluid meaning that refinements, enhancements, and alterations can always be made. After each stage, the following stages would be evaluated for optimal changes based on what happened within the current stage. The following is a concise description of the five stages.
- Stage One: Learning about Coast Salish culture and exploring the diversity of Coast Salish art. This also includes learning about cultural protocols and the acknowledgement of Indigenous works as well as incorporating the Stó:lō Sitel Curriculum Revitalization Project.
- Stage Two: Learning about the design elements, formlines, and spaces.
- Stage Three: Students engaged in print media and created block prints with acknowledgement and permission. Students traced, carved, painted, and stamped the blocks onto homemade linen placemats.
- Stage Four: Gifting of the completed linen placemats to Siwal Si’wes to be implemented for the in-person Indigenous Graduation Honouring Ceremony held at Mission Secondary School. This worked out beautifully as it coincides with the graduation of grade 6 students to middle school.
- Stage Five: Students generated their own questions for a local Coast Salish artist on various topics: art forms, cultural upbringing, physical tools, and inspirations.
- Incorporating the Indigenous Ways of Knowing & Being (BCTF) of how “Learning involves developing relationships, respecting distinct cultures, and honouring the perspective of others in our communities” helped to generate lesson plans to teach students about how each Coast Salish art print has within a distinct cultural story for each student to explore and learn. The key word is “Respect”, and engaging students to see the richness of each design element, formline, and spaces of each Coast Salish art print helped plant that seed.
- During stage five of the learning goal (see Taking Action section), this was where many students shared their innate curiosity when generating questions for the local Coast Salish artist, which fostered rich answers.
- The open-mindedness to share and learn from colleagues and students contributed to the success of the inquiry. This mindset helped to gain insight into others’ views and experiences which led to enriching the inquiry process. Additionally, the mindset of open-mindedness can be about the proverbial “emptying our cup” to receive new learnings, because it can sometimes be difficult to set aside or let go of knowledge that has served us well. Is it worth re-examining something that you mastered? There is always a new way to look at things and put our best foot forward.
- Transparency of the project was important to invite discussions and new learnings. For example, sharing the project process with the Indigenous Education Department helped to gain new helpful resources and provide traction.
- Staff being involved with the school community has helped establish connections for positive student-staff relationships such as the students that we coached from sports. The Teacher-Librarian on the team worked on projects with students on diverse themes (e.g., Black History, Diwali, Lunar Year New, National Indigenous Peoples Day, Pride), which fostered a space for students from diverse backgrounds to participate and see themselves as they experience and envision how they can create positive changes in their world (internal and external).