Richmond is one of six districts to have been selected to take part in this year’s iteration of BC’s Quality Teaching and Learning Project (QTL). Representatives from the six districts meet throughout the year to share their projects and learn together. We also have meetings for the teachers involved at the district level. The proposal we submitted was several pages long but in brief the project looks at the role of playful storytelling in the early primary classroom, using natural materials and animal toys and stories. The main areas of focus are on oral literacy and on teaching through the First Peoples Principles of Learning. Kits were provided to each school team and each school has its own focus, such a personal stories or stories about self, environmental awareness, place-based learning and Aboriginal cultural awareness. In Richmond we have four schools involved: Blair, Blundell, Diefenbaker and Kidd. Marie Thom (Early Learning Teacher Consultant) and I help to facilitate the project.
Our first district meeting was at the end of November and school teams shared what they were doing at their schools and teams also received some new materials to add to their kits.
Marie and I spend time at the schools, capturing and collecting data for the project and documenting the schools’ experiences. Last week, I visited both Diefenbaker and Kidd.
At Diefenbaker, Michelle Hikida hosts the project work in the library. Last week, teachers Linda Radford and Kelly Hinks brought their K/1 and K classes to the library. A story from the kit, Just a Walk by Jordan Wheeler, was read and then the students were asked to choose an animal character and think about what adventures it would have when it went on a walk. Different materials were set up on the tables in the library and the students were very engaged with the materials and their stories.
We video and audio recorded some of the students’ stories and the students also enjoyed sharing their stories with their classmates.
And a short little animoto video of some of the playful storytelling experiences with the K and K/1 classes at Diefenbaker:
At Kidd, I did an introduction to the kit with Penny Nakamoto’s grades 2 and 3 class and Laura Birarda’s grades K and 1 class. Each class was then given time to explore the materials and books in the kit, beginning their storytelling experience.
This project has so many connections across curriculum areas and engages students in many of the core principles of the new BC Transforming Learning curriculum frameworks.