Monthly Archives: December 2014

This Year is Gonna Rock! Using Inuksuks to establish class rules and beliefs


ce vieux sage fait de pierres

nous guide en silence

et nous sert de repère

Classes run smoother when students know what behaviour is expected of them. We built our Inuksuks in September but this lesson could work just as well when you need to fine tune and refresh class rules and routines in January.

Start the discussion with the sensory questions : What does the ideal class look like ? sound like ? and feel like ? using a Y-chart. Students work in pairs then present.


y Chart

From this discussion you ask them to come up with 3-5 rules that they believe in.

Tell them they will build or paint their inuksuks using these rules. The core foundation of the inuksuk are the legs which represent respect and safety.am1

Students use tagboard to do a watercolour wash for the sky. They then draw and label their inuksuks with the consensus rules and beliefs that will help them work together as a community for the rest of the year. A key principle of First Nations learning states that learning involves recognizing the consequences of one’s actions.

Restitution empowers students to fix their mistakes and think of how their actions effect others.

I used the kit from the District Library Resource Centre (DLRC) entitled « Chez moi, dans le Grand Nord ».

am 2

Ann Louise Richter


Bonne année à tous

Aboriginal Education Inquiry Team Session 2


On November 20 the Stronger Together Inquiry Team gathered for the second session of the year. Teachers on the team investigated the First Peoples Principles of Learning and the ‘Big Questions’ we have about the Principles and how they can be applied within classrooms for the benefit of all learners. The session also featured rich discussion in book talk groups, as well as a sample inquiry lesson regarding the Tsilhqot’in war. All participants are engaging in commitments to action in their classrooms that promote Aboriginal worldview, perspective and understanding for all learners. Through two sessions it has been a rich experience for all involved!

Session Two PowerPoint Slides

Globe and Mail Article on Tsilhqot’in War

First Peoples Principles of Learning

Ms Ferreira: Byrne Creek Secondary – English 10 & 11

What did we do?

Students chose a focus for their project and plugged it into the question: “How do we overcome _____________ ?” They could choose from a number of different options, but many of them chose fear or trauma or loss.  Some chose to focus on the loss of identity or overcoming stereotyping. It was a good way to look at the notion of resiliency and what it means to be a strong person, especially after a difficult experience.  We looked at these questions in the context of the novel Keeper ‘n Me, which the class loved reading.

How did it go? 

Student conversation and understanding of Aboriginal issues has been strengthened, as well as their understanding of the resiliency and strength found in all human beings – this way, they have been able to connect and understand more intimately.

Two Student Examples:

Maki & Alberta

Matteo & Oliver\

What’s Next?

Currently we are working on a semester-long inquiry with my English 8 class.  Our Essential Question is: “Why is bravery an important aspect of being strong?”

Our class has quite a few different texts and genres, and as part of our study, we have read a number of Aboriginal texts, including illustrated texts (“Shi-shi-etko” by Nicola Campbell, “When I Was Eight” by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and “Home to Medicine Mountain” by Chiori Santiago), short stories (“Borders” by Thomas King and “The Animal People Choose a Leader” by Richard Wagamese), poetry (“I Lost My Talk” by Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe and “Footprints in the Snow” by Nichola Batzel). They’ve also done a synthesis piece with the story “Borders” and a documentary called, ‘Up Heartbreak Hill’, which is about a group of Navajo teenagers who are living on a reserve and who are all, in some way, trying to find their themselves, their story, their identity, and forge their way in a world that doesn’t always understand or accept them. It’s a darker film, but students connected with the notion of finding our way in a world that doesn’t accept us.

Aboriginal Education Inquiry Team Session 1


Twenty classroom teachers from K-12 spent the first of a series of days discussing the inclusion of Aboriginal worlview and perspective in their classroom practice. The intention of the inquiry team is to enhance the great practices already taking place in classrooms through the inclusion of Aboriginal content, perspective and principles of learning. Each participant will submit a blog post over the course of the inquiry process, which we hope will provide as examples for others in our District looking to do the same. Below are many of the resources discussed during the first session on October 16, 2014. These should assist us in sparking action in our classroom practice.

First Nations War Veterans 

Acknowledgement of Territory Sign

Acknowledgement Of Territory Information

Traditional Territory Map

Books Discussed

One Good Story, That one – Thomas King

We Greet the Four Seasons – Terri Mack

Legends of Vancouver – Pauline Johnson

Other Resources

Indian Residential School Survivors Society

First Nations Education Steering Committee

BC Curriculum Drafts

Project of Heart