On Thursday, May 5th Marie Thom and I hosted a year end sharing celebration for our Playful Storytelling through the First Peoples Principles of Learning project. This project began as a Ministry affiliated Quality Teaching and Learning project (hence the QTL tag in the category section of this blog) with four of our Richmond schools and has grown to ten schools being involved – Blair, Blundell, Diefenbaker, Kidd, Steves, Ferris, Cook, Tomsett, Bridge and Debeck. This year we were glad that a French Immersion school wanted to be a part of the project.
We had our first session in the fall (blog post here) and teachers have been providing storytelling experiences to their students over the year. Because of other curricular demands, Marie and I haven’t been able to make it into classes as much this year but we were able to provide TTOC release to our teachers in the first year of the project to go an visit teachers’ classrooms who have been involved in the project for a couple of years. This proved to be a valuable experience!
At our event on Thursday, each school shared one thing that they have tried this year from felting story settings, retelling stories from picture books, creating cedar storyboards to creating story stones.
Teachers shared their professional learning in different ways – through powerpoint slides, sharing student creations or preparing documentation panels.
After a lovely dinner together, each school team was provided with some new resources from Native Northwest and Strong Nations. We looked through the new books and shared ways we might be able to use them in our classrooms.
In asking teachers to reflect on their experiences in the project, they commented on a need to share resources and ideas and wanting more opportunities for collaboration and observations/visits to other classrooms.
When we asked teachers to consider a moment or event where they noticed a shift in their practice regarding the First Peoples Principles of Learning, some of the written reflections we received included:
“When I noticed during our sharing circles how students’ responses had changed and reflected the principles of patience and respect.”
“I noticed the children’s relationships to each other and the environment around them.”
“Children were using the ideas of place in their play.”
It is powerful to see the First Peoples Principles of Learning enacted in our classrooms and in our professional learning communities. Marie and I are looking forward to continuing our work with this project next year!