School Name: Nechako Valley Secondary School
School District: SD#91 Nechako Lakes
Inquiry Team Members: Mia Moutray: email@example.com
David Peterson: firstname.lastname@example.org
Patty Borek: email@example.com
Casey Litton: firstname.lastname@example.org
Monique Morris-Mullings: email@example.com
Jose Arocena: firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Secondary (8-12)
Curricular Area(s): Science
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Growth mindset, Inclusion and inclusive instructional strategies, Inquiry-based learning, Land, Nature or Place-based learning, Social and emotional learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? To create an inspired place-based, Koh-Learning space in a commonly used learning space.
Scanning: As a teacher team, we collaborated and discussed what we were noticing with learners as late fall and winter arrived. Many ask to go outside, as our place- and land-based Koh-learning project generally come to a halt in October. During this time, many learners are tired and have a difficult time focusing on learning indoors. Learners seem to realize the impact that fresh air and nature have on their well-being and sense of belonging. Any hands-on, experiential learning inside will generate greater engagement, but the connection to place and land is weakened with less outdoor and place-based learning experiences.
Focus: Our focus was on creating a shared Koh-learning indoor space, where our land- and place-based cross-curricular shared learning permeates the learning environment. This space is to share our stories, to create a collaborative narrative, and to increase a sense of belonging to place and community for all.
Hunch: We think there is a strong disconnect between the “on- and off-season” of Koh-learning. In September and October, as well as May and June, learners are immersed in outdoor learning. In between, we tend to be indoors a lot more in separate classrooms, with few reminders of our important learning on the land.
New Professional Learning:
– Bi-weekly collaboration meetings
– Maps of our watershed for the walls
– Teaming – how to build efficient teams
– Innovative Learning Environments – discussions on what makes them and how to create one
– The importance of story telling
Taking Action: In our bi-weekly collaboration meetings, we planned and started designing our space (using post-it notes on walls to remind ourselves of what should go where), imagining what could be. That is as far as we got. Heather Hinz (LSW) and David Peterson cleaned the room thoroughly during remote learning and did plenty of decluttering and organizing.
Checking: Our collaboration came to an end in March, as our school closed due to the pandemic. However, our inquiry has inspired many of us to declutter and rethink our own classrooms, to become more organized and create inspiring learning environments. Many of us paused to consider the message our learning environments send to our learners. David Peterson spent a lot of time re-organizing the shared learning space and setting it up for the next school year. During the remote learning time, our Koh-learning team had a chance to bond and discuss how to move forward with and deepen cross-curricular Koh-learning — which is all very exciting!
Reflections/Advice: We will continue to finish setting up our shared space. Right now, it is a functional and organized space, but it still needs work to turn it closer to an inviting learning environment. We will do this at the end of August. We are striving towards making the most of 108, as used as a teaching space to support messy, hands-on learning. We hope to see this as a goal for next year.