The Sergeant Tommy Prince research project was specifically designed to assist all students to be able to look at the world from an Aboriginal viewpoint and understand the different Aboriginal points of view on a range of issues such as social justice, equality, and reconciliation.
Aboriginal perspectives were included across curricula and subject integration was key in making this a rich learning experience. Throughout the planning, creation and sharing stages we were able to include the design process, apply measurements, scale, ratio, mapping, geography, critical internet research, art, public speaking, French language, building structures, collaborative group work and so much more! As a result, children made connections not only academically but socially, empathetically and personally (one child discovered that he is directly related to Sergeant Tommy Prince) for a true holistic learning experience.
Grade 3/4 Mr. Tryon’s Class
Making Music While Exploring the Seven Sacred Teachings
In spring, we explored the world of sound by creating instruments and learning about Aboriginal hand drums. Students learned about the cultural significance of singing, dancing, and drumming for Canada's First Nations. We invited David Boulanger to teach our class about how to properly care for and play the hand drums. David and his friend Todd came and shared stories and music. They taught our class "The Spirit Bear Song", and explained that this is often the first song taught to children in Ojibwe culture. After performing the song for an assembly, the students were inspired to create their own song, based on the Seven Sacred Teachings. We chose the teaching of love because many students expressed that this teaching has the power to bring people together in a community. As we began to write words and sing along to the hand drum, some students had the idea to add other instruments. Some students played shakers that we made in class, others played their recorders or hand drums and several students played the tabla from their East Indian music class. What resulted was an unforgettable collaboration and celebration of cultures through rhythm and music.
The Spirit Eagle Song
Eagle, eagle, flap your wings
Love is what you always bring.
Eagle watching over me,
Nesting on top of the tree.
Migize, migize, love us all forever.
(migize = eagle in Ojibwe)
A Collaboration of the Head and the Heart
||Ms. Wright and Mrs. Ingram’s classes build concepts in geometry while understanding its roots in Aboriginal knowledge. Through this project traits such as patience, understanding, identity, collaboration and community engagement were explored from both an academic and indigenous perspective. With each other, the grade ones and twos along with the threes and fours created these rhombuses to tell a story and to explore mathematical concepts. The technicality of this project required and achieved getting it done as a true labour of love.|
Mr. Bahadoosingh’s Grade 7/8 Class Studied Residential Schools
Had Some Wonderful Support in Doing So
Throughout the year in Mr. Bahadoosingh’s class we learned many things about Aboriginal Perspectives. There were three main areas that we would like to highlight. The first thing we learned about was Residential Schools. We saw videos about the conditions of the schools, and we listened to testimonials from Residential School survivors. As a class, we thought it would be a neat idea to envision ourselves as students attending these schools. We thought about if we had one chance to write a letter back home, what would it say? This was a great lesson in empathy. It was very challenging to put ourselves in their shoes and write about all the hardships they endured, but we tried our best to give them a voice. Once we completed the letters, we soaked them in black coffee and crumpled up the papers to give it an authentic look. We then presented it to parents at Student-Led Conference, and they were very impressed with how much feeling and emotion we incorporated into our work.
The second thing that we studied was the book, “The Absolute True Diary of a Part-Time Indian.” This book was about a young boy named Junior, who lived in the Spokane Reservation and had a troubled life. He suffered from fluid in his skull, blindness in one eye, seizures and a lisp which resulted in him constantly getting bullied and teased. His father was an alcoholic and his mother was a former alcoholic. Poverty is also something his family struggled with. By reading this book, we learned about several things including bullying, racism and stereotypes. We got to put ourselves in Junior’s shoes and thought about what he goes through each and every day. We discovered horrific slurs and we were surprised to hear about the ways that fellow members of society treat each other. Each chapter we read, we would think critically about the questions we received from our teacher. Some questions we answered were based on stereotypes and we discussed it with our class and thought about ways we could help prevent it.
A third activity that we did in the classroom was an in depth study about the CBC 8th Fire series. 8th Fire draws from an Anishinaabe prophecy that declares that now is the time for Aboriginal peoples and the settler community to come together and build a place of justice and harmony. In the videos they talked about several things that happened in the past, and offered a context for how we arrived at the current situation. By watching this series we learned about a life from an aboriginal point of view, and we saw many positive examples of aboriginal people pursuing their dreams and achieving their goals. All of these lessons combined to offer us a better perspective of Aboriginal culture. We plan on being a voice of change and we hope to educate others along the way.