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The Woolastoqewiyik

Elementary, Middle

Description

This resource was prepared as an educational tool to accompany the Wolastoqewiyik Community component of the Smithsonian Institution's Internet-based Indigenous Geography Project.  The activities included will introduce students to the Wolastoqewiyik, a contemporary first nations community along New Brunswick's St. John River. 

The resource is divided into two distinct lessons consisting of fourteen stages each.

Lesson 1: We Are All One explores the interdependency that exists between humans and the Earth.

Students will:

  • brainstorm ways in which humans are connected to the Earth.
  • write poetry about how the Earth is connected to humans.
  • discuss and read stories about the different beliefs surrounding Thanksgiving.
  • take part in a Round Dance.

Lesson 2: Rivers of Life allows students the opportunity to explore the importance of rivers in the lives of different communities.

Students will:

  • listen to the story, A River Ran Wild.
  • research a river in their local community.

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • This resource explicitly teaches students how to participate in a Round Dance. 

Strengths

  • Resource is well laid out and easy to follow.
  • Appropriate case studies and background information are provided.
  • Assessment and evaluation strategies are suggested.
  • Activities are locally focused.
  • Resource effectively represents the past, present and future.

Weaknesses

  • Students do not take part in authentic action experiences in the core activities.
  • Activities all take place indoors. 

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        • Global Indigenous Peoples:Indigenous societies throughout the world value the well-being of the self, the land, spirits, and ancestors
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        • First Peoples and European Contact: The pursuit of valuable natural resources has played a key role in changing the land, people, and communities of Canada.
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        • The Ancient World to the 7th Century: Religious and cultural practices that emerged during this period have endured and continue to influence people.
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        • 7th Century to 1750: Contacts and conflicts between peoples stimulated significant cultural, social, political change.
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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (1)

    • Interdependence
  • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

    • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • Issues are presented in an engaging and age-appropriate manner.
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • the resource provides excellent opportunities for students to explore sustainability from an Aboriginal perspective.
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
  • Students are asked to reflect on the complexity of issues and the interdependence that is involved between humans and the Earth.
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Satisfactory
  • There are some action experience opportunities included within the extension activity section, but they are not fully explored. 
Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Good
  • Students discuss the impact on the Earth and are asked to develop a greater awareness of their connection to the Earth.
  • All activities take place indoors. 
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Good
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
  • Students are encouraged to brainstorm their own ideas and make their own connections.
  • Many of the activities are designed to encourage students to reach the same "right" answer. 
Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Satisfactory
  • There are multiple opportunities for interdisciplinary instruction, but they are not fully explored. 
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Satisfactory
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • The variety of activities included will help to meet the unique learning styles of students.
  • Differentiated instruction strategies are not explicitly addressed. 
Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
  • The majority of activities are simulation activities.
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Satisfactory
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory
  • The resource does provide some suggestions for assessment.
  • Assessment tools are not included.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
  • There are brief suggestions for ways in which students could work to educate others about issues addressed, but these are not fully explored. 
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Good
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Satisfactory
  • The majority of activities are teacher directed.
  • Students have limited opportunities to choose elements of their own programming. 
Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.