Maddaugh Elementary SD#36 Surrey

I. General Information

School Name: Maddaugh Elementary

School District: SD#36 Surrey

Inquiry Team Members:

Inquiry Team Contact Email:

II. Inquiry Project Information

Type of Inquiry: NOIIE Case Study

Grade Levels Addressed Through Inquiry: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)

Curricular Areas Addressed: Applied Design, skills & Technology, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Writing, Social Studies

Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset, Indigenous pedagogy, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning

In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To support our community in caring for salmon like family and developing reciprocal and respectful relationships with Mother Earth, in the thought of that when we are caring for our environment we are in turn caring for ourselves.

III. Spirals of Inquiry Details

Scanning: Our learners do not spend time outside in nature, in the forest, and have lost connection and relationship with the land. Building drums was an experiential learning inquiry which created an opening to build self-efficacy in our Indigenous learners and non-Indigenous learners alike.

Focus: We were hoping to raise the self-efficacy of our Indigenous community and support them in leading our learning. We were hoping to deepen all students’ learning around Indigenous story, culture, practices, protocols, and build our capacity to engage in Indigenous ways of being with the land within our school community.

Hunch: Our learners did not have strong connections to the land. Children do not play outside on the land like they used to. Indigenous learning is often from a book and not experiential. Post covid impact has separated us and kept us at a distance from each other and the land. Working and learning collaboratively and engaging in Indigenous learning as a community would deepen our Indigenous knowledge, build self-efficacy in our Indigenous and non-Indigenous students alike. We valued the FPPL that Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits and the ancestors.

New Professional Learning: Our learning was largely experiential. We learned from Elders, district helping teachers and Dr. Cher Hill (non-Indigenous) from SFU who all supported us with our inquiry. We used the Spiral of Inquiry and looked at OECD principles of learning and were guided by the FPPL. We were gifted songs from Elder Lekeyten Antone and we practiced and learned them with our class. Then we sang and invited our larger school community to sing with us. We learned step by step how to build drums and the significance of each item that went into building the drum. We then practiced and shared this learning with others in our school. We had children make ‘how-to videos’ and share them.

Taking Action: Our project was experiential. We brought in an Indigenous Elder and his non-Indigenous helper to support us and teach us how to make the drums each step of the way. We were gifted the wood from a local high school and the wood working teacher invited our students in to cut the wood. We then sanded the wood. Every single child, teacher, and hundreds of parents took part in sanding the drums. Eight classes skinned the drums. We held a teacher drum skinning evening and 2 parent skinning evenings. We held an evening for Indigenous families to glue and then to skin the drums.

Checking: Through the drum project our goal was to support students in learning Indigenous knowledge systems, protocols and practices related to drumming, drum-making and singing. We learned so much more than how to make drums. Our community learned that songs come from the land and the school was gifted four local songs by Elder Lekeyten Antone. Indigenous students stepped up as lead drummers and singers. We learned ceremonial practices involved in the blessing and drum awakening ceremony. We learned that drums are sacred as they are made from living beings including wood that came from a cedar tree harvested on Land that will house a school, and skins that came from cows. We learned that drum making is hard and relied upon our Salmon teachings of perseverance when we faced setbacks and challenges. Beyond our goals for our students, we endeavoured to support the resurgence of Indigenous practices and the development of cultural capacities within our school community. We invited Indigenous families to learn and lead alongside the students, resulting in many beautiful collaborations and friendships.

Reflections/Advice: We have learned so very much from this inquiry. I learned to not get disappointed when things don’t work out; when things don’t work we do it again. I learned it is okay for it not to work out when you have hundreds of children watching and wanting to take part~ that this is a learning experience. We learned how powerful it is to have parent nights and encourage Indigenous parents to lead, to support people in seeing their strengths, and that they can lead, that they have something to offer, and we have something to learn. We plan to use our drums, to sing the songs of the land, and to connect that by caring for Mother Earth, we are all connected. We will deepen our connection with community and bring in Indigenous parents to sing, drum, and build community and culture within our school.