In my Abed Inquiry, my focus was on how I may introduce the values of the First People’s Principles of Learning into my classroom. The two main principles in which I focused on were the following:
- Learning ultimately supports the well-being of the self, the family, the community, the land, the spirits, and the ancestors.
- Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, and a sense of place).
In my language arts unit, my focus was on selecting and connecting with texts that fosters positive relationships and empathy. This relates to the First People’s values in respecting and working closely with everyone in the community. We role-played to the story The Giving Tree, where students took on the role of the boy or the tree. Students take on the actions and experiences of their character, and reflect on how their actions makes them feel. Students reflected on what being giving means, who have been giving to them, and how they can be a more giving individual. Being giving involves helping others without expecting anything in return. There were several books that were the core of this unit: Have You Filled a Bucket Today?, How Full is Your Bucket? For Kids, Will You Fill My Bucket?, and Bucket Filling From A to Z. Students explore through stories and personal experiences on what it means to be a bucket filler, and how our actions can fill and dip others buckets, as well as our own. Students applied their understandings of bucket filling and dipping when we explored bullying and compassion. We extended our understanding of bucket filling and dipping by creating a means to express our feelings through writing on slips anonymously. Students can share bucket filling acts that they have observed or experienced on pink slips and may acknowledge the bucket filler, or they can share bucket dipping acts on yellow slips which needs to be written anonymously. These would be acknowledged during class meetings, where we will also discuss solutions or goals to address bucket dipping acts as a class.
Roles and Responsibilities:
- Students take great pride in their classroom role.
- These roles are rotated every two weeks so that all students will be able to take on different responsibilities within the classroom community.
- Each role has two positions, and are usually a pair with a second and a third grader. In larger roles such as composting, the third grader will share and lead the younger peer.
What Would We Like Our Learning Environment to Look and Sound Like?
- Students share what we need to focus on as a class and for themselves.
- Communicating expectations as a community teacher-students.
Learning Involves Recognizing the Consequences of One’s Actions:
- Students self-assess their effort and their overall safety and participation in DPA.
Connections With the Land and Place, and Involves Patience and Time:
- Spuds in Tubs Program: Students inquire and learn about planting potatoes.
- Tomatosphere: Students inquire and observe the growth of two groups of tomato seeds that has been exposed to different environments.
Connections and Finding Ourselves in Others:
- Activity One: Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox. Students select an animal or object that they identify with and describe their connections with the subject.
- Activity Two- Aboriginal Stencil Water-coloring: What Does Your Animal Mean for You? Students select one of four stencils that I have received from the AbEd Conference in the Fall of 2015. Students identify what their selected animal represents to them; including characteristics and descriptions.