School Name: Saseenos Elementary
School District: SD#62 Sooke
Inquiry Team Members: Jenna Hobbs firstname.lastname@example.org
Lenna Talman email@example.com
Gord Johnson firstname.lastname@example.org
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Literacy, Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Inquiry-based learning, STEM / STEAM, Universal design for learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? How can children use oral language during story workshop to incorporate Aboriginal Ways of Knowing?
Scanning: We noticed that our early primary students lacked an in-depth understanding of the core competencies and we wanted to give them opportunities for learning about the core competencies while incorporating the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Being. We decided to use the 6 cedars as our primary resource. We challenged our students to make deeper connections with the animals and their strengths by having them create stories incorporating one or more of the animals and that animal’s strengths. We think that opportunities for students to create stories about the 6 cedar animals will deepen their understanding of these animals’ strengths and help them to identify and grow these strengths in their own lives.
We noticed that our students were very engaged in the creative process involved in story workshop. Students were able to create and share meaningful stories based on the strength of an animal from the 6 cedars. Their stories demonstrated an understanding of the core competencies and the Aboriginal ways of knowing.
We focused on 3 Aboriginal ways of knowing when planning this learning experience.
“Learning is connected to land, culture, and spirit.” – We wanted our students to connect to the spirit of an animal through their own personal experiences. We also incorporated outside lessons and activities to focus on this.
“Important teachings emerge through stories.” – Students created their own oral stories to teach about their animal’s strengths.
“The deepest learning takes place through lived experience. It requires exploring our identities, learning from our mistakes, and having gratitude for our gifts.” – We wanted our students to have the personal experience of creating their own story, and the freedom to change their story throughout the process. We also wanted our students to appreciate their own stories and others’ stories through sharing, and to recognize how their own personal strengths are connected to those animals.
Focus: We wanted our students to have a deeper personal connection and better understanding of the First Peoples Principles of Learning, the Ways of Knowing and Being, and the Core Competencies. We decided to use The Six Cedars to help our students connect to and understand the core competencies. In addition to the above, we wanted our learners to fully experience the First Peoples Principles of Learning and work on literacy skills at the same time.
Hunch: We think that opportunities for students to create stories about the 6 cedar animals will deepen their understanding of these animals’ strengths and help them to identify and grow these strengths in their own lives.
New Professional Learning: The 6 cedars was a new resource for us. We liked how students were able to see the core competencies within an animal. It became easier for them to understand the core competencies and generate novel examples of the core competencies at work in their own stories. We feel that since “The deepest learning takes place through lived experience”, this learning will stay with students and have a deeper meaning.
We shared our learning with other colleagues through meeting regularly and sharing strategies that worked. We connected with other teachers at a distance through emails and Google Slides.
- Scanning and seeing a lack of understanding of the core competencies in early primary students.
- Developing a focus that helps our students develop literacy skills while incorporating the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Being.
- Deciding on resources and materials to use (books, videos, websites, loose parts materials, animal figurines, and 6 Cedars).
- Meeting regularly to share our progress, strategies that were working in our classrooms, and examples of student work.
- Deciding to focus on one 6 Cedars animal at a time.
- Providing lots of opportunities to share their stories and learn from each other.
Checking: Our students were able to demonstrate a deeper understanding of the core competencies and the Aboriginal Ways of Knowing and Being through their stories. We ended up focusing on one of the 6 Cedar animals (beaver), and next year would like to give students the opportunity to learn more in-depth about the other 6 Cedar animals to be able to create other stories highlighting their strengths. We feel like we have created a good model that we can follow next year.
- Student engagement is high when there is a lot of choice
- Opportunities to share stories helped students appreciate their own and others’ stories and the messages in them
- Through the grant money we were able to purchase specific items to help facilitate this learning opportunity