School Name: Ecole Christine Morrison Elementary
School District: SD#75 Mission
Inquiry Team Members:Lorien Osborn (firstname.lastname@example.org), Judy Cathers (email@example.com), Shannon Greig (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3), Intermediate (4-7)
Curricular Area(s): Applied Design, skills & Technology, Language Arts – Writing
Focus Addressed: Aboriginal understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Core competencies (for example, critical thinking, communication, problem solving), Experiential learning, Flexible learning, Growth mindset
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Connecting aboriginal understandings and oral story telling practices through experiential, applied design, skills & technology practices.
Scanning: The NOII grants for the last several years have helped to build a foundation and richer opportunities for furthering the incorporation of Aboriginal learning practices and knowledge. Our school MDI report for 2017-18 indicated a gap in technology use by the students at our school. To further develop student and teacher perspectives on First Peoples traditions, we chose to engage students in the Elders visits and storytelling to foster the connections that are so critical to Indigenous culture through documentary work and digital storytelling. What connections do our students have within the Elders, the school, and the community? How do these connections impact their learning? How can we make the impact the Elders are having relevant and meaningful to the student’s lives? Focusing on the role of storytelling will provide insight for students and our team to make connections to the impact of stories, past and present, to create meaning.
Focus: The focus of storytelling was selected to explore the nature of community building and sharing. A documentary project was selected to help students discover the power of community, tradition, and storytelling to share experiences. Connecting to the oral history, Halqemeylem language of the local Stolo people, the hope is to engage students in storytelling through documentary work to learn about traditional ways and digital storytelling.
Hunch: The learning culture at our school is evolving and the infusion of Indigenous culture is becoming more common practice. We recognize that this is critical for all learners. Our Aboriginal Liaison has been working in many areas of the school to share traditional knowledge in areas such as Halqemeylem language learning, storytelling, food sources, traditional clothing, a welcome song at school assemblies, a Running Club, celebrations of Stolo calendar events and traditions and she continues to gift us with her knowledge. It is truly exciting to have so much happening in our school. Our hunch is that those students engaged in the documenting of the storytelling will become further engrossed in the traditional teaching of our local Stolo Elders.
New Professional Learning: With the focus on storytelling and traditional ways the professional learning came in the form of documentaries and technology. As a team we explored the technical side of video production, critical stages of story-boarding, value of quality over quantity when it comes to video footage and the value of an authentic audience as well as the legal requirements for FOIPA. The students will create documentaries about topics such as the traditional food sources of the Stolo people, traditional plants planted around our school and Elders visits. The final products will be shared at our final year end student learning showcase.
Taking Action: This year we took action by participating in a Wild Salmon Forever project and apple Canada Classroom. In each project we engaged in conversation and professional development with educational stakeholders across BC. In building community and capacity in the areas of educational technology and Indigenous films the students and our team has embraced a new method for engaging with Aboriginal story telling.
Collaboration: As the classroom teacher taught primary grades and the students that were part of the film makers group were from the intermediate grades we realized that we had to coordinate the use of additional support through our Aboriginal Liaison Teacher to ensure that there were always adults present during the process of filming and production.
Indigenous Elders were invited to work with the group of students from the intermediate grades who chose to participate in the film making process. Together they identified and followed, film making procedures such as creating a story board, filming sound bites, adding script to video, and basic editing of filmed materials.
Checking: What connections do our students have with the Elders, the school, and the community? We found that the process of film making engaged the students involved with storytelling and knowledge building of indigenous culture in the community. The video was presented to the school community which further engaged those students and staff that were not directly involved with the project.
How do these connections impact their learning? How can we make the impact the Elders are having relevant and meaningful to the student’s lives? Those students involved in the film making process built a connection to the elders we were working with through the process of filming and editing and having to go back to the elders to discuss matters in the film. Furthermore, the inclusion of Halqemeylem language meant the students were required to speak with elders to be sure translation were accurate and the message delivered the true meaning of the story.
Reflections/Advice: Some of the problems we ran into involved accommodating the time required to edit the film footage. Thankfully, Lolahawk, one of our elders, was able to take time out of her very busy schedule to aid in the editing process. Other problems arose due to inadequate technology and out of date devices that made filming for long periods of time difficult and required more editing then would have been required if we had had devices with more memory.
Below is the excerpt that was published in the Canoe edition of December 2018.
HOW CAN WE HELP THE SALMON COME HOME Water is life – salmon are sacred. Eddie Gardner brought the message of the importance of clean water for salmon to primary students. He also shared drumming and songs which the students danced to. Students also presented their songs and dances, along with masks they had created with their teacher. An important part of this visit was the documenting done by the Christine Morrison Aboriginal Kids Society (AKS). In preparation for this visit, these students participated in several IT learning sessions with a School District Technology specialist. One of our elders, Lolahawk, along with the students from AKS worked hard at developing a short video for the Youth For Salmon contest (https://wildsalmonforever.org/) and to be presented to École Christine Morrison Elementary.