Aboriginal Week

It is Aboriginal Week at Bear Creek Elementary this week.  There are a variety of guest speakers, storytellers, activities such as learning Slahal (traditional guessing game), making bannock, and other educational experiences focused on aboriginal culture planned throughout the week.

Bear Creek Elementary is situated on Katzie Territory and we are very fortunate to have  support for our school with regards to resources focusing on aboriginal culture, as well as staff who are experienced themselves, either personally or professionally, with aboriginal culture.    Two such staff members are Joanne Fischer and Len Pierre, who are full of knowledge and put together an amazing week of discovery for us all.

On Monday after the students had a chance to socialize, enjoy their centre time, and sharing we distributed their spelling lists.  The students are on an individualized spelling program, and have words that are applicable to their own individual learning needs. This week I also thought it was important to incorporate a variety of words that will become meaningful for them throughout this week – aboriginal terms.

After recess we viewed two amazing carvings completed by Clarence Mills as Len explained the process and the meaning behind them.

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Then, our class was fortunate to experience drumming & singing by the talented Mavis & Donovan, both also from Katzie Territory.

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Our class has more exciting experiences waiting for them to discover the rest of the week: Jingle Dress Dance by Victoria Vaillancourt, Storytelling by Robbie Bandura, and to view a variety of aboriginal displays.  Elders will be visiting Bear Creek Elementary as well wearing their traditional regalia to share about their community and background.  The week will end with a closing assembly and Hoop Dance Presentation.

This is a fabulous opportunity for students and staff to experience different aspects of a culture many of our students are already a part of.  I also feel that it is important to incorporate the many amazing aspects of aboriginal culture into our lessons and classrooms daily.  For my lessons there are a lot of tactile/hands-on activities, and regular opportunities to share thoughts and learning orally.

Happy National Aboriginal Day (Canada) on Friday, June 21.  Let’s keep the awareness going.

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Home Again!

Although I have been in & out of the classroom over the past seven weeks, I have not taught a full lesson in at least three.  My partner and I had a student teacher with us and she has done a terrific job within the past seven weeks.  It has been an interesting process for me to watch how she has grown from the beginning of her practicum to the end.

This is the last week of her practicum and the first week I was teaching my beloved science again to our wonderful group of learners.  Boy did it feel good!  Not only do I love teaching the subject, I missed having that direct interaction with our group after all this time!

We did an experiment with “Feely Balloons” where the students were divided up into groups and were provided with 5 balloons with mystery substances inside.  They had to develop strategies by using 4 out of 5 of their senses (not taste!) to determine what was in the balloons.  It was amazing watching them as they went through the process and all the insights they shared with me and each other.  They also recorded their observations on a chart.20130604_105839 (480x640)

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Next, they were then given the actual substances in clear jars and matched up the jar with the balloon.20130604_112626 (480x640)

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Finally, it was the big reveal!  I cut open each of the balloons in front of the class with the students cheering when the contents were revealed.  Quite the excitement about rice in a balloon! But, I realized I felt a lot like my wonderful students. After my first science lesson with them after seven weeks,  it felt so good to be home. 🙂

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