School Name: Coyote Creek Elementary
School District: SD#36 Surrey
Inquiry Team Members:Meghan Black; firstname.lastname@example.org, Sharon Hall; email@example.com, Lori Ingles; firstname.lastname@example.org, Shelley Wason; email@example.com
Inquiry Team Contact Email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), First Peoples Principles of Learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus for the year was to begin a journey in becoming more knowledgeable about Aboriginal Education and protocols while incorporating Aboriginal Education into all areas of the curriculum but with a focus on Social Studies.
Scanning: (Can you name two adults in the school who believe you will be a success in life?)
In our classes, we have had discussions about what success looks like in the school setting. We then asked our students if they know of at least two adults who believe they will be successful at school. Following this discussion, we learned that students in our classes indicated they have many adults around the school who believe they will be successful.
(Where are you going with your learning?)
We are aware at allowing students to take charge of their learning empowers them to make the learning meaningful through self-pacing and ownership, thus each member of our group took control of their own learning while collaborating and supporting each others’ learning. We are continuing to support each other in our journey of exploring aboriginal principles and content.
(How are you doing?)
We are coming along with our inquiry, and can demonstrate growth in our understanding of Aboriginal knowledge. As a school, we have undertaken several Aboriginal inquiry opportunities such as Professional Development, Orange Shirt Day, First Peoples in Residence Week, Cultural Presentations. As a grade group, we have had presentations on Metis culture through the Museum of Surrey, and a Contemporary Indigenous Art workshop through the Surrey Art Gallery.
(Where to next?)
– Become familiar with the new grade three/primary social studies (Inquiring Minds) resources.
– Plan for next year to continue on our learning journey: dig deeper into First Nation’s principles, Inquiry bins.
Focus: We selected this area of learning as a result of Coyote Creek being school with 18 aboriginal students out of 667. Traditionally, we have had limited Aboriginal workshops and presentations as well as minimal support from external services. Aboriginal Education has been identified as Coyote Creek’s school goal for 2018-2019. We were hoping to obtain a deeper understanding of Aboriginal principles by teachers and subsequently for students.
Hunch: As a result of having a relatively low number of Indigenous students and out-dated resources, we felt as though we were not doing justice to Aboriginal cultures and the new Aboriginal-focused curriculum. We are continuing to work towards becoming more self-sufficient and confident in knowledge in this area. By exploring Aboriginal education, we have been working towards a better understanding of the importance of preserving language and culture. We are also developing an awareness throughout the school of how to incorporate Aboriginal principles across the subject areas. Initial scans indicate that students have an increased awareness of facts related to Aboriginal culture. The next steps should focus on deepening the understanding of the principles behind aboriginal culture.
New Professional Learning: Some of us took part in the MOOC Reconciliation Through Indigenous Education Course (UBC – EdX) and we have attended a few Aboriginal Education workshops presented through the Surrey School District. We have been reading, “Indigenous Writes” by Chelsea Vowel and have found it extremely helpful. We have also been able to purchase the Inquiring Minds resource and find it to be helpful with planning units for our grade group. We are still hoping to host a focus day at our school around Aboriginal Inquiry and Aboriginal Resources. We are also wondering about incorporating the Seven Sacred Teachings as a school in the 2019-2020 school year.
Taking Action: We have participated in professional development (Spiral of Inquiry, Potlatch as Pedagogy, and learning through Social Studies (Global Indigenous Peoples) with Heidi Wood) in addition to having purchased specific resources (Inquiring Minds, Chelsea Vowel’s book “Indigenous Writes”). Our actions have worked out well so far, and we are looking forward to implementing more of the First Peoples principles next year.
Checking: We feel as though we have initiated a movement of learning that is sustainable. We are at a far better starting place for next year, in comparison to where we were at the beginning of this inquiry in 2018. We feel as though we are starting to share the First Peoples Principles with our colleagues, and are internalizing all that we have learned as an inquiry group this year.
Reflections/Advice: As an inquiry group, we have learned how diverse First Nation, Inuit and Metis cultures are, yet how many similarities there are in the “beliefs”. We have more knowledge than we did this time last year, and are looking forward to continuing to learn from each other and our Aboriginal Learning Department. Next, we plan to work on aboriginal inquiry bins. Our advice for other schools with similar interests would be to take a risk and jump in, regardless of how prepared or knowledgeable you may or may not be. This is an incredible learning opportunity for teachers and will certainly have a ripple-effect throughout our school community as we continue our inquiry.