Pictures above from left to right: 1. Retrieved from http://onetimethrough.com/pumpkin-learning-activities-preschoolers/ 2. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/452400725042699550/ 3. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/sjpmholley/fantastic-fall/ 4. Retrieved from https://www.pinterest.com/pin/163325923963098188/ How do you see teachers honouring different ways of knowing? As stated by Frideres Indigenous knowledge is “contingent on the social, physical, and spiritual (not religious) understandings that have contributed to Native peoples’ sense of being in the world and to their survival”. A dichotomy is shown between this and Western ways of knowing which rely heavily on scientific knowledge subject to the scientific method to understand truth (First Nations in the Twenty-First Century, p. 41). Frideres, James S. 2011. First Nations in the Twenty-First Century. Don Mills, ON: Oxford University Press. The traditional Western style of learning is very evident. I observed no evidence of Indigenous ways of knowing in the classroom I am in. Although, there are 2 Indigenous students in this class. Mrs. W. shared with me that she incorporates individual, small group, and whole class involvement in her lesson plans. However, the variety of ways the students explored ways of knowing in my brief time with them was impressive. Mrs. W. honours the different ways of knowing in her classroom by offering many and varied learning experiences for her students. For the visual learner there is much to see all around the classroom through the use of posters, arrangements of books, a very busy white board display changes its focus each day. For example, this week the focus was on the life cycle of the pumpkin. I wished I had taken pictures but suffice it to say these are reasonable facsimiles. This assignment enlisted the visual, auditory and reading/writer learning styles. The teacher showed and talked to the children about the pumpkin life cycle. Then she showed and talked about the different parts of the pumpkin, including the strands. The black/white picture is similar to their worksheet that satisfied the reading/writer learner. They got to colour their pictures and were encouraged to be realistic in the colours they chose for the different parts.
An, especially, enjoyable time for the children was story-time when my teachers teaching buddy came in and animatedly read If You Give a Mouse a Cookie, engaging both the auditory and visual learners. Mrs. W. explained the circular nature of the sequence of events within the storyline of If You Give a Mouse a Cookie. This led into the math lesson next. The sequence of events numbered about 16. She, also, showed her students that these events could be linear, similar to a list. During the math lesson the children played a game where the teacher held up a number, up to 20, and the children would put their marker(s), either small disks, dinosaurs or buttons, on how many squares equaled what she held up. This allowed the children to use what best helped them enjoy the game.
How do you see teachers promoting knowledge in the classroom? The teacher(s) promoted knowledge by asking comprehension questions after reading the story. Also, by having the children sit quietly by crossing their legs and listening as she read she taught them the benefits of focusing. Focusing was strongly encouraged by not being distracted by disruptive students. By giving complete and precise directions before doing their assignments and working through the steps along with the students the teacher helped the children feel successful at their task. Giving deserved praise when questions were answered correctly, encouraging and assisting when needed assured each student that their learning moments were fruitful. What are the key supports that teachers rely on? Some important key supports my host teacher shared with me were having an Educational Assistant, volunteers, Administration, parental support, MMCC (Marion McVeety community council), classroom buddy teachers (professional teachers that support, encourage and assist one another). I found an awesome brochure at the school I work at that helps teachers plan field trips entitled, Saskatchewan School Destinations Directory, put out annually. Another key support for teachers is their school’s website that can include literacy websites, their school newsletter, and their school email connects them to their co-workers and Administration as well. Education Week in Saskatchewan supports the teaching profession. The theme this year is Celebrating Today, Preparing for Tomorrow. The Saskatchewan Teachers Federation How do teachers continue to build their own professional knowledge? My host teacher shared many different ways that she enhances her knowledge base. These include Professional Development days that are inservice days that encourage further teaching knowledge in literacy, numeracy, and awareness of the school climate. Professional Learning Communities include conferences out of school, at the board office, and coordinating with community supports. The Saskatchewan Bulletin is the teacher’s professional magazine that helps further their knowledge as do Professional Growth Networks that cater to a variety of educational disciplines.
Such a detailed weekly reflection that captures the learning in the classroom that directly connects with the focus question - nicely done. It's great to see pictures of the student activities that document learning that is, as you stated, designed to honour different ways of learning, different styles of learning. Very cool idea using language to introduce math concept (and I love the book, If you give a mouse a cookie) very creative and the more learning can be interconnected the more students will learn and retain new knowledge. It will be interesting to continue to observe and reflect on how Indigenous ways of knowing are honoured (perhaps in upcoming units). AND THANK-YOU for taking time to read and respond to so many (if not ALL) peer posts. You are genuinely interested to learn from other people's experiences in the field. Very professional and caring comments to all, much appreciated.