Garden Project // Planting Season 2017

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This spring our class had an amazing opportunity to collaborate with a local community garden.   It is important to me that the students have the opportunity for land based learning; therefore this project has been near & dear to me && I am excited to share how our class was involved this year.

 

The community garden is conveniently located on the next block over from our school, which was great as we could walk there in about 5 minutes.  Through the months of May and June we would visit on a weekly basis.    During our visits we were able to participate in some great learning opportunities, such as planting and caring for our garden, creating bird feeders, rock painting, and a variety of outdoor play and food experiences.

 

At the garden, there is a cluster of tables for seated and whole group activities, as well as a dramatic play mud kitchen, and many plots for growing.  The garden plots were lined with paths which helped guide the children carefully through the garden.

Early in the year I met with the garden coordinator to plan our visits and align our vision of what the garden would be for the children in my class.  We accomplished what we set out to do and collaborated to make a safe outdoor space, rich in learning and that promoted a sense of exploration and a connection to mother nature.

Gardening developed each child’s capacity to care and connect with mother nature, but it also nurtured their empathy and connections to the community, especially through the planting and education surrounding our heart garden.

 

In our community we have a history of residential schools, and the heart garden {combined with stories and conversations} was a way to introduce the children to Indian Residential Schools and Truth and Reconciliation.

“Heart gardens honour residential school survivors and their families, as well as the legacy of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada. Each heart represents the memory of a child lost to the residential school system, and the act of planting represents that individual’s commitment to finding their place in reconciliation.

 From the First Nations Child and Family Caring Society:
Honouring Memories, Planting Dreams. 

As the school year ended, I continued to care for and harvest our garden with the help of students from our schools summer program.  && with the garden season now complete, I have been able to reflect on this rich learning experience: the conversations, questions, the stories and connections prompted by our time in the garden.  I appreciate the partnership we were able to create with the community garden and their patient, planned, and thoughtful staff.  There are many benefits to gardening with children & I am already looking forward to next years growing season.

 

@mstinyteacher

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Treaty Education in Kindergarten

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Today I am sharing a UBD plan, that was co-created with a friend && former colleague of mine, Kayla Schaefer.  At the time she was teaching Kindergarten and I was teaching Grade 1-2 and we developed this plan to be multi-grade and multidisciplinary introduction to an Indigenous worldview and Treaty Education for our young learners.

As we co-taught this unit we noticed our K-2 students were very engaged, learning cooperatively, and able to represent their learning and insights in a variety of ways. Interest from teachers from within our school division led to the modelling of lessons and sharing of this resource.  As a treaty catalyst, and an educator who is passionate about incorporating Indigenous content and contexts into our classrooms I am very excited to share with you our UBD Plan K-2TreatyEdUnit which also includes examples of student learning && instructional resources.  AND here is the link to the OTC Treaty Teacher Wikispace SMARTboard Activities, which includes technological resources relevant to the unit.

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This year, I chose to revisit this unit in my Kindergarten class.  This unit is a great starting point for Treaty Education in primary classrooms, and I was able to use it as a guide then adapt it to more specifically address the Kindergarten Treaty Education outcomes and indicators;; particularly

SIK2: Express personal connectedness to nature and one another (e.g., Circle of Life, seasons, elements, weather, families, and relatives).

HCK3: Explore the connection all people have to the land as expressed through stories, traditions, and ceremonies.

TPPK4: Examine the intent of different kinds of promises.

These are some of the highlights of our learning, shared on my Twitter (@mstinyteacher)– follow me && stay tuned as we continue to learn about PROMISES!

 

@mstinyteacher