Ladysmith Primary School SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

School Name: Ladysmith Primary School

School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith

Inquiry Team Members:Linnaea Murray:, Kendra Smith:, Leanne Sanford:, Pamela Puska:, Janelle Mould:, Sydney O’Toole:, Cheryl Campbell:, Oksana Legebokoff:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

Type of Inquiry: AESN (focus on Indigenous learners or Indigenous understandings)

Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)

Curricular Area(s): Other: Self regulation

Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), First Peoples Principles of Learning, Indigenous pedagogy, Self-regulation, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can we include aboriginal ways of knowing into how we approach self-regulation with our young learners?

Scanning: We used observations of the energy levels of our students and their ability to self-regulate throughout the day and in different situations. We also looked at ways we include aboriginal ways of knowing into our daily routines.

Focus: Through observations of students, our teachers noticed a decrease in the ability of our students to self-regulate during the school day. This was impacting their ability, not only to learn, but to be part of the school community and to have positive interactions with peers. Teachers also wanted to explore ways to include aboriginal ways of knowing into their daily routines. As a staff we made one of our school-wide goals: “To develop and model the behaviours, skills and attitudes necessary to make responsible, ethical and empathetic choices” which we focused on during this inquiry. Using the Zones of Regulation program combined with Indigenous pedagogy, we hoped to support these students in their ability to self regulate in the classroom and out on the playground, as well as build community and connections within our school.

Hunch: In our school, we do not have a common language or practice for self-regulation, which makes it hard to help students who need support to self-regulate, or when they are working with different teachers and EAs. We also felt that this inquiry would enhance the community-building that is done in the classrooms and help to make every child feel a stronger connection to each other, the staff and the school. Pairing Zones with Sharing circles is a wonderful way to authentically bring Aboriginal pedagogy into the classroom.

New Professional Learning: The Zones of Regulation program professional book club at lunch
Use of The Sharing Circle book
Sharing circle presentation by Michelle Sokoloski
Weaving lessons with a local Elder from the high school

Taking Action: We had a weekly professional book club using The Zones of Regulation program to help us prepare to give the lessons in class each week. This kept everyone on track, but also allowed for flexibility and timing of the lessons. We also had a speaker come to our PLC time to talk about Sharing Circles and to make talking feathers with us to use in our morning sharing circles. Teachers began to use sharing circles each morning to discuss student’s current “Zone” and to create community in the classroom. Our students also teased wool that was given to us from the high school as a small act of reconciliation, and a calming activity. This wool will then be spun into yarn to be woven into a traditional Coast Salish blanked that will be displayed in the high school lobby. We are working to get each student in the school to weave a stitch in the blanket.

Checking: For evidence, we used ongoing observations of students using the Zones language in their daily interactions and in their work. Observations of the increased willingness of students to share in the sharing circle and of students’ ability to self-regulate. As well as observations of calm and focused energy while teasing the wool and weaving our piece of the blanket.

It is starting to make a difference. Students are using the Zones language more frequently as teachers do more and more lessons. The daily sharing circles are becoming a wonderful part of the teachers’ and students’ routines, and have been a very simple way to begin to bring aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom. The act of teasing wool has been very calming for the students, and working with the high school on a traditional blanket has brought aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom. It is also a small step in our young students’ journey of reconciliation. While we didn’t get through all the lessons in the Zones Program, teachers are on their way and ready to pick it up next year to continue the work.

Reflections/Advice: We learned that Sharing circles are a simple and meaningful way to build community and bring aboriginal pedagogy into the classroom. Working together as a community contributes to a sense of place and teasing wool is an incredible and calming way to bring aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom, as well as start our young students on their journey of reconciliation. The Zones of Regulation program is a great program to help students understand their emotions and give them tools to self-regulate.
Teachers will continue to teach the Zones of Regulation in their classrooms and work through the lessons. Teachers will continue to use daily sharing circles as a way to bring aboriginal ways of knowing into the classroom, build community and enhance self-regulation skills. Now that teachers are feeling confident with sharing circles, next year we will look at more in-depth ways to authentically bring aboriginal pedagogy into our daily routines.

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