School Name: Mountain View
School District: SD#68 Nanaimo-Ladysmith
Inquiry Team Members:Thea Miscavish: firstname.lastname@example.org, Susan Mullett: email@example.com, Kristine Letourneau: firstname.lastname@example.org, Kathy Bergman: Kathy.Bergman@sd68.bc.ca , Tina Moore: Tina.Moore@sd68.bc.ca
Inquiry Team Contact Email: email@example.com
Type of Inquiry: NOIIE
Grade Levels: Primary (K-3)
Curricular Area(s): Language Arts – Oral Language, Language Arts – Reading, Social Studies
Focus Addressed: Indigenous understandings (for example, Traditional Knowledge, oral history, reconciliation), Differentiated instruction, First Peoples Principles of Learning, Flexible learning
In one sentence, what was your focus for the year? Our focus was to integrating First Nations learning within the Daily 5 literacy model through the use of rich, First Nations-based literature to extend fluency, vocabulary, accuracy, and comprehension.
Scanning: With the use of Daily 5, the attempt is to read with each learner and confer with him/her about his/her reading. Goals are set with each lesson. The springboard for the inquiry was a) the lack of (First Nations) literature in the school that was at an early literacy independent-reading level (i.e. levels 1-20). Both classroom teachers had plentiful access to the Strong Nations’ readers at their previous school so were inspired to purchase them for this school. Additionally, inspiration came from a group study on the Salish people, which sparked interest and compassion from the students.
The following was how we answered this question in our application: (note: further reflection to the four questions is provided at the end of this case study)
• Developed a KWL chart to determine students’ current knowledge of First Nations. Highlights included:
• They eat bannock (link to the older grades’ learning of Two World’s Meet learning).
• They use Cedar trees.
• They appreciate animals.
• There is one student (and one teacher) who has self-identified as First Nations.
• In addition to this we have some literature with indigenous themes, however, I find that many students don’t tend to gravitate to them during their ‘book shopping’. I would like to foster an appreciation for all aspects (appropriate for the grade level) of the culture.
• Students created many questions about First Nations and often tried to answer each others’ queries based on prior knowledge.
Focus: With the use of Daily 5, the attempt is to read with each learner and confer with him/her about his/her reading. Goals are set with each lesson. The springboard for the inquiry was the lack of (First Nations) literature in the school that was at an early literacy independent-reading level (i.e. levels 1-20). Both classroom teachers had plentiful access to the Strong Nations’ readers at their previous school so were inspired to purchase them for this school. Additionally, inspiration came from a group study on the Salish people, which sparked interest and compassion from the students.
Our hope was that introducing the levelled text through differentiated instruction and embedding them into our pre-existing format of reading instruction (Daily 5), students would make connections and build upon previous knowledge of First Nations people. We hoped that it would allow them to extend their acknowledgement of, interest in, and appreciation for Indigenous people, both within and beyond their community.
Hunch: Children who are in grade 1,2 & 3 typically can be inspired by teachers that show interest in their learning. Because we were working 1:1 and much of the ‘instruction’ piece was differentiated, we knew we would easily be able to recognize if they were interested or inspired or not. Because students would be matched with books at their reading level we knew that the likelihood of reading success would be high.
New Professional Learning: 1. Video taping – We videotaped some of the students’ responses and their reading. Upon viewing how they read (both for them to watch and reflect upon and for us as educators) we realized that it was a huge resource that was literally at our fingertips that we hadn’t used prior. Additionally, we could use the ‘data’ to share with parents in Freshgrade and for ongoing communication.
2. Collaboration between teachers was huge. Because both classroom teachers were ‘new’ to the school (but had worked together previously) it allowed for meaningful collaboration to take place. Sharing of strategies, data collection, and stories and planning were among the wonderful ways they collaborated. Each teacher has her own strengths so there was an element of trust to ensure that the work was done and recorded.
3. Because most of the authors of the levelled books are local, we connected with the publishing company (Strong Nations) and were fortunate enough to have one of the authors visit the classrooms to enhance the overall understanding of how book ideas are conceived and fulfilled. It was rewarding for all involved; students and educators. It also reinforced how important it is to have guest speakers in the classroom.
Taking Action: Collaboration, discussion, and trust were the strategies that we used. Making a plan of how to share the books, how to store them, and how to collect data on what was shared by students was key.
Checking: Our results were amazing! Because we built the inquiry across a three-grade program the sophistication of the connections that they shared with us went from the superficial (i.e. “First Nations people used totem poles.) to deeper (i.e. “I did my personal inquiry of Bowen Park because I connected with the totem poles that I saw there.”) to incredibly personal and reflective (i.e. ““I’m connected to Spirit Bear. I like him because I’m strong and brave.” )
Even MORE exciting were the connections that the children made outside of school. On a regular basis, one educator would receive photos (via text/facebook messenger/email) from parents of their children with artifacts that they came across in their daily life. (i.e. “Dear Mrs. Miscavish. I’m not sure why (student) wants me to do this but I am sending you a photo of him with this Totem Pole because he said I had to.) The teacher would then project the photos in class and the child would share their experiences. These were completely unprompted; completely inspired by the children because they were excited to learn and share.
In terms of evidence in class, quotes from students (sometimes prompted; sometimes not) were collected and growth of reading level was tracked. Benchmarking was used to confirm independent reading levels and they were consistent.
With respect to the questions:
Can you name TWO adults in this school who believe you will be a success in life? We like to think that our students are more understanding of and appreciative of First Nations learning and that their classroom teachers, SST, and Ab Ed EA are here to support them.
Where are you going with your learning?
Students were asked to make attainable and meaningful reading goals for the remainder of the year. Many have set goals of either reading level (#) or the book that they want to be able to read independently by the end of the year.
How are you doing?
We ask the children when we confer with them weekly this question. They often say that they can make connections to First Nations.
Where to next?
This ties in with the second question. The exciting thing is that the grade ones from one class may end up in the other classroom next year or the year after, so the inquiry project can continue to grow and be built upon.
Reflections/Advice: 1. Kids are amazing! Giving them a tiny bit of information and then the room to inquire is amazing. Also, allowing them to make connections and share their responses with each other allows for real ‘extending’ to occur.
2. Wrap yourself up in the Inquiry! Be open and creative in how you can build it in different levels. By involving the community (i.e. Strong Nations) and resources (i.e. authors) the project become rich and memorable.
3. Learning doesn’t just happen in the classroom! Be willing to listen to the observations and reflections from parents.
We are thrilled with the results…that we know will continue to grow as the children grow. As classroom teachers we are happy knowing that the inquiry will naturally continue into the next years because we have the resources and the continuation of students.