Feb 23

JICS Lesson Study focuses on creating curriculum in response to the TRC’s Calls to Action

Lab School Teachers explore Treaties in Grade 5 and the Seven Grandfather Teachings in Grade 1

By Beverly Caswell, Jisoo Seo and Zachary Pedersen

Yesterday, teachers from the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study Lab School (OISE/UofT) held their annual Lesson Study, a professional development model that involves collaborative planning, teaching and reflection on classroom lessons and student learning.

This year’s focus was on creating curriculum to respond to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. We were very honoured that Dr. Jennifer Wemigwans, York University, joined us as the discussant for the day. Her insights and expertise provided an invaluable experience for our professional learning community.

Primary Years’ Lesson Study

The Primary Years’ Lesson Study Team focussed on the Seven Grandfather Teachings. Grade 1 Teacher Zoe Donoahue taught the public lesson, introducing the seven teachings to the Grade 1 students in connection with their study of communities. The lesson concluded with a reading from the beginning of The Lost Teachings by Michael James Isaac.

Junior Years’ Lesson Study

During the initial planning meetings, the Junior Years’ Lesson Study Team agreed that it would be essential to draw on Anishinaabe expertise and perspectives when talking to the Grade 5s about Treaties. Through our work with the Rainy River District School Board (RRDSB) and Seven Generations Education Institute in Treaty #3, we built relationships with Anishinaabe educational leaders. We were very appreciative of the Skype sessions with Jason Jones (Native Language Curriculum Coordinator/Land-Based Pedagogy Coordinator, RRDSB), Robert Horton (Anishinaabemowin Coordinator, Seven Gens), and Niigaanibines (Don Jones, former Chief of Nigigoonsiminikaaning First Nation, Treaty #3 Nation).

Following the Skype sessions, Niigaanibines visited with staff and students at the beginning of February. With the Grade 5/6 students, he shared his childhood experiences growing up on a trap line. With teachers, he shared his expertise on Treaties. He also attended yesterday’s lesson study. The Grade 5s began by looking at a map they created in Grade 4 that compares ancestral lands (pre-treaties) to the current provincial/territorial boundaries of Canada. They then discussed their initial understandings of Treaties and, after watching a recorded interview with Niigaanibines (see video at the bottom of this article), the students reflected on the meaning of a sacred promise as it relates to the negotiation of Treaty #3 in 1873.

The Grade 5 Lesson Study ended with a series of images intended to encourage the students to make connections to current events.

Early Years’ Lesson Study

Also, on February 8 another Lesson Study took place at JICS in the kindergarten classroom. Carol Stephenson used the picture books Shi-shi-etko and Shin-chi’s Canoe by Nicola Campbell to introduce the topic of residential schools in developmentally appropriate ways.

Final thoughts…

We can’t stress enough the importance of Niigaanibines’ and Jennifer Wemigwans contribution to our growing understanding of how to respond in a meaningful way to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Actions around education.

We congratulate the Lab School teachers for their dedication to new learning and their thoughtful, respectful and reciprocal approach to teaching!

Read the Lesson Studies by JICS Teachers

Download the Early Years Lesson Study Overview
Download the Primary Years Lesson Study Overview
Download the Junior Grades Lesson Study Overview

Niigaanibines – Treaties

This video was used in the Grade 5 lesson. Listen and watch as Niigaanibines explains what a Treaty is.

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