Veronica Doyle, Teacher, A.E. Bowers Elementary – To support the development of our Fall Playbook, the Ripples of Change group took part in a design day aimed at defining How Might Questions (HWM) and developing prototypes. During this design day, we decided our HMW question was going to be, “How might we incorporate more Indigenous learning and Ways of Knowing in our teaching and classroom environment?”
As a group of cross-graded teachers, we decided that each grade was going to prototype a new initiative that would hopefully thread even more Indigenous content into what we were already doing. Since then, the Gr. 2 group of Ripples of Change has developed a whole project on “Water is Life”. The Kindergarten group is looking at how it can take care of the Earth “Na’a.” The Gr. 5 class is building on its knowledge from last year’s interactions with Elder Randy and looking at its learning through the lens of story. In Grade 1, staff is using Indigenous Knowledge to deepen students’ understanding of the needs of plants and animals, as well as to create colour.
Collectively, we have identified strategies to help each group achieve this goal. Our main strategy is to employ firsthand knowledge gained from conversations/interactions with Elder Randy and Elder Line. Because we are using what we have already done before and infusing more Indigenous content, we are purposefully doing things. Our Kindergarten students take part in Outdoor School every week. Being out on the land and interacting with the land is one of the First Peoples Principles of Learning. The Gr. 2’s “Water is Life” statement is grounded in the knowledge that Elder Randy and Elder Line share that without water, nothing can live.
As each member of the Ripples of Change group continues to develop their own personal way of incorporating our HMW question, we check in as a group at least once a week to share professional learning opportunities and information we have uncovered that is relevant to our end goal. Our path continues to develop and change as we gain more knowledge from our experiences, students interests and passions, and as we allow current events to shape our journey.