Year in Review: Our Experiences
We had a wonderful year travelling to our partner communities and speaking with teachers, Elders, Knowledge Keepers, and students. As we prepare for the end of the school year, we wanted to share some of our experiences.
Two members of the team and I will share our experiences in community. Read about our times leading trainings, interviewing Elders, and taking part in activities.
As we wrap up the 2018-2019 school year, I find myself reflecting on everything the delivery team at Learning Bird has accomplished. We’ve travelled to multiple communities across the country, built new relationships, and reconnected with some wonderful people. We’ve successfully delivered teacher training sessions, one-on-one coaching, professional development, webinars, and student workshops. I had the opportunity to travel to three First Nations a few times over the course of the year. I took part in a Fall Harvest, during which I interviewed community members, participated in Métis jigging, and learned how to fillet fish, make bannock, and skin a deer. I also had the honour of listening to Elders share their personal stories, knowledge, and teachings. I worked with 31 teachers for training and one-on-one coaching. What I enjoyed most about these interactions was getting to know the teachers on a personal level and hearing them share their successes and challenges. It keeps me grounded, helps me understand what their day-to-day looks like, and reminds me of the realities of teaching (all the highs and lows!). This allows me to provide them with more personalized support throughout the year. I also had the pleasure of working with an enthusiastic group of students on resume writing and interview preparation during a week-long workshop I led. As I look back at this year and previous years, I feel thankful for having the opportunity to visit First Nations communities, learn about their rich histories and cultures, and work with such engaged and passionate people. I can’t wait to see what next year has in store for us!
It has been a fulfilling year for the content team at Learning Bird. We’ve collaborated on a variety of projects with communities, including developing language revitalization lessons, recording personal and historical stories, participating in culture camps, and delivering student workshops. I travelled to five First Nations, with multiple visits to some, from October to March. I’ve had the pleasure of participating in two fall camps, learning about making bannock over the fire, preparing deer meat and filleting fish, harvesting wild rice, making a moose call, drying bear claws, and identifying wild plants in the bush. I’ve been privileged to listen to Elders and community members share stories about their lives: personal stories about their families and their childhoods, traditional stories that often provide meaningful moral lessons, and experiences at residential schools. I’ve learned about creation stories, traditional games, and the making of drums. Through student workshops, I’ve taught students how to transform a personal object into a digital story, and how to critically analyze stereotypes that exist in films, television shows and advertisements. Overall, I interviewed 76 people from five Nations, with the assistance of 16 passionate educators. It was truly an enriching experience, and pertinent that we were able to record everything so that future generations can learn and benefit from the knowledge that was shared.
As educators, we live for those moments of excitement when a student gets that spark of understanding. In my current role, those moments come when teachers find a resource that would be perfect for their students. In each of the eight training sessions, two professional development sessions, and 10 one-on-one coaching sessions I’ve delivered this year, I’ve been able to see these moments of excitement. The teachers I was working with were able to find resources that their students would be able to really connect with. They found resources that reflect their students’ faces, voices, and experiences. They found resources that teach the course curriculum through an Indigenous lens. Being involved in collecting the materials to create these resources, and then seeing teachers excited about showing the resources to their students is both humbling and exciting. In speaking with Elders and Knowledge Keepers, and in accompanying them while they practice traditional activities, I am able to see their desire to pass on their knowledge to the young people in their communities. I am honoured to be a part of helping them do so.
We would like to thank everyone who worked with us this year to bring Learning Bird into their schools and to create culturally relevant digital resources for students and community members alike. We hope to see you all again next year and to continue to help support your goals of offering your students engaging learning experiences.
If you are interested in working with us next year, reach out to us at firstname.lastname@example.org or 1-888-844-9022 to discuss a project that will work for you.