The Robertson Program team was invited by Seven Generations Education Institute to Treaty #3 Territory (Fort Frances, Ontario) last week to work alongside our educational partners at Seven Generations Education Institute and the Rainy River District School Board.
Planning our upcoming conference with Seven Generations’ First Nation Student Success Program and the Rainy River District School Board
Our visit began by meeting with Seven Generation Education Institute’s Kim Kirk, Shelly Jones, Aimee Beazley and CEO Brent Tookenay, along with Rainy River District School Board Director Heather Campbell and Cultural Coordinator Angela Mainville. We are planning our next conference, which is happening in October later this year.
Our theme for this year’s conference is Culturally Responsive Teaching and Learning, which encompasses land-based learning, land reclamation, language revitalization, understanding treaties, and developing innovative learning opportunities in STEAM subjects (Science, Technology, Engineering, Art and Mathematics).
Pegamigaabo School and Mikinaak Onigaming School
Principal Lyn Blackburde and our friends at Pegamigaabo School in Big Grassy First Nation, and Principal Steve Grinrod and our friends at Mikinaak Onigaming School in Onigaming First Nation, welcomed us into their schools to explore computational thinking and coding activities. The Grade 3/4 students at Pegamigaabo School showed us their impressive coding skills when we field-tested a series of lessons there.
At Mikinaak Onigaming School, we worked with Kim Kirk and Jane Tom (Seven Gens) along with teachers Margaret Romain (Grade 1/2) and Julie McQuaker (Grade 3/4) and their students to try a coding lesson first developed by Western University’s Dr. George Gadanidis, one of the leads of the Math Knowledge Network. The lesson develops children’s understanding of repeating patterns and computational thinking with non-digital and digital coding experiences. This lesson has had many iterations – it originated with Dr. Gadanidis, along with teachers and students at St. Andrews P.S. (TDSB), and was recently the focus of a lesson study at the Dr. Eric Jackman Institute of Child Study. We are grateful for the opportunity to learn from the children at Pegamigaabo School and Mikinaak School!
Creating a “Friendly” Math Assessment
We also worked with the Seven Generation’s First Nation Student Success Program team and children at Mikinaak School and Pegamigaabo School to develop a “friendly” Grade 3 mathematics assessment. It is an assessment that gives students an opportunity to show what they know in mathematics. We will be refining this evaluation with Seven Gens in the coming weeks.
Crossroads P.S. “Parent Engagement Night”
We were thrilled to attend “Parent Engagement Night” at Crossroads School where more than 100 students and their families gathered for a wide array of art workshops, crafts, math games and activities. Principal Kerri Tolen and vice principal Sharla MacKinnon, along with their team of educators and community partners, created a dynamic experience for everyone in attendance.
The school was transformed into an art gallery with children’s beautiful works of art on display throughout the hallways and in the gymnasium. As well as all of the math and general interest activities in the gymnasium, each classroom hosted an arts or crafts activity –Soap Stone Carving, Whimsical Windchime, Gnome Garden, Chalk Pastel Drawing with Indigenous artist Shawna Grapentine, Stained Glass Mosaic Garden Stone. Participants were given the opportunity to record the math in each of these activities. A delicious feast was prepared and served in “Café Awesome.”
We were reminded of the first Family Math Night at Crossroads PS back in 2013 – our first year with Sharla MacKinnon when she was the numeracy lead for RRDSB.