School Name: Ecole Roosevelt Park Community School
School District: SD#52 Prince Rupert
Inquiry Team Members: Stacie Mestre; firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Career Education
Focus Addressed: First Peoples Principles of Learning, Inquiry-based learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus for the year was increasing outdoor education activities, specifically through inquiry-based structure building, in order to develop communication and problem-solving skills amongst the students.
Scanning: By engaging in cooperative and hands-on outdoor education activities, students actively participated in the scanning process. Students were able to communicate their success, challenges, next steps for their group, and strategies they would like to implement in the future.
In holding with the First Peoples Principles of Learning, our NOIIE Inquiry followed the belief that learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational; furthermore, learning involves patience and time. By approaching a similar task repeatedly, with slight variations, students were invited to grow from each challenge and become more confident in their natural environment.
Focus: We selected this area through our observations that both classes, a grade 1 french immersion class and a grade 1/2 class, were both facing similar challenges in communication and conflict resolution. Both classes were similar in the way that their kindergarten and/or grade 1 years had been cut short by the COVID-19 pandemic, and subsequently very little social interaction happened for months.
We were hoping to encourage communication and problem-solving in our classes, while also increasing the amount of outdoor education opportunities, and building confidence in the learners.
Hunch: This year was unique for practises and policies at our school due to Covid Protocols put in place. We have been broken up into 2 class cohorts and there were significantly less whole school activities. This limited opportunities to collaborate across ages and stages. It was our hunch that this limitation of engagement between classes and age groups was significantly and negatively impacting the social-emotional wellbeing of our students. Furthermore, our cohort consisted of a French immersion class, and an English stream class. By encouraging engagement in the cohort, we increased interactions between the two sides of dual-stream Roosevelt.
New Professional Learning: Our new areas of professional learning focused on social-emotional learning at the primary level, which was inter-woven through all teaching we did this year. In the future, specific resources from wilderness schools or schools with a larger infrastructure for outdoor education would be beneficial, as there is a lot of room for continued learning as professionals implementing an outdoor education curriculum.
Taking Action: Our team decided to follow the same questionnaire to conduct with one or more groups of students after each structure-building session. This questionnaire allowed students to speak on their challenges, successes, new strategies they tried, and areas that they would like to grow in. We decided to do this questionnaire so students were able to share their experiences in their own words, and we could observe consistent themes or changes in their experiences.
Checking: The goal of this activity was to improve problem solving, communication, and working as a team. Group dynamics made a difference with communication success and changed depending on who was placed with who throughout the project. Sharing and listening to other student’s ideas and asking for help from teammates had to be modelled by teachers somewhat in the beginning. There was some improvement to sharing ideas and asking teammates for help as needed, with less teacher prompting in later attempts.
Reflections/Advice: We learned that our students really enjoyed the opportunity to do something unique and collaborative that was also outdoors. The task was not always easy and did not always turn out as planned, but they showed perseverance for difficult tasks when highly motivated to make it work. The next step would be to include more outdoor education opportunities, since we saw the interest and motivation shown by the students.