Sunday, June 16, 2013

place-based learning

Some of our primary classes (divisions 7, 9, 10 and 11) have participated in a focus on place-based learning this term with visits to our local pond, park and learning about the Mighty Fraser River which is just a short walk away from our school.

Division 9 used Google Earth on the iPads to find a map of Richmond and see how the Fraser River branches out around it as it heads to the Pacific Ocean. The students were excited to see the Olympic Oval and bridge on their iPads and to find our school!

We used a felt board story to learn about the history of the Mighty Fraser River and all the changes that have taken place in this area over the last few hundred years.

Some of the classes have participated in the WE CAN SEE project which involves early primary classes from all across North America sharing what they can see in their particular place in the world during different seasons. Divisions 10 and 11 posted a short video about what they could see and hear in the spring in our school park and Division 9 took the digital cameras out and about to our park and to the local pond to take pictures of what they could see in spring and then we made a video with those photographs! The We Can See blog can be viewed HERE.

I have also shared some of my photographs of my walks along the Mighty Fraser River and shared stories of salmonberry picking and watching a great blue heron guard his or her territory along the banks of the river.

Division 9 did a digital storytelling project this term and the setting the students used for their stories was the river.

I have shared my understanding of the Musqueam culture, our local aboriginal community which is a living, thriving culture. More information about the Musqueam First Nation can be found HERE. Musqueam means "people of the river grass" and the students learned about how the Fraser River was and still is important fishing grounds for the Musqueam and how hundreds of years ago, the Musqueam peoples would have canoed over to this place where we now live and pick berries and crabapples to dry and preserve for the winter months. The students were fascinated to learn about salmonberries and to know that these berries have been growing along the Fraser River for thousands of years.

One of the goals of place-based learning is for students to feel connected to the land and the place where they live. I hope the students have a broader understanding of the history and richness of this place where we now go to school and live.

~Ms Novakowski

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