Indigenous Education – Ms. Chan's Class Blog
 

Category: Indigenous Education

Fantastic February!

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Dear families,

So excited for ice skating tomorrow! Please come to school on time. We aim to leave as soon as the bell goes.

To bring:

  • Booster seat – CLICK HERE for ICBC child car seat requirements.
  • Gloves or mittens to protect their hands (mandatory)
  • Wear long socks (Highly recommend! Sometimes the top of the skates dig in to their legs but the longer socks protect them.)
  • Ski or snowboard helmet but the rink will have them to borrow.
  • Waterproof pants are recommended but this is not necessary so you do not need to go out to buy.
  • Dress in layers. While it is cold at the rink, once they start moving around, they get quite warm.

For parent volunteer drivers. We have just enough so if you can’t make it, please let me know as soon as possible. Thank you!

  • We have such appreciation for your help to drive us to the rink. We will be leaving right after attendance is taken. When we arrive at Bill Copeland, the rink and skate shop is on the lower floor. There are a set of stairs from the outside that will lead you there.
  • BEFORE: Please help children line up to get their skate rentals. The helmets will be in a bin off to the side. For better selection, get the helmets BEFORE they put on skates. Please help children tie skates.
  • DURING: Some students may want a break and come off the ice. Please encourage them to take a short break and then ask them to go back onto the ice to maximize their skating time.
  • DURING: If you will be on the ice, please support help us support our beginning skaters as much as possible. This is a very large group so everyone’s support during this time will be greatly appreciated.
  • AFTER: Help remove skates and wipe down the blade. There should be a towel close to where they return the skates. If you return to school before I do, please bring them to class so they can eat their snacks. Thank you!

Deep Kindness

We talked about the difference between kindness and deep kindness. Showing kindness can be things like holding the door for others and helping others like getting ice or a bandage for a friend. Some of these actions may feel easy to do. When we feel empathy, it can move us to show compassion. We dove a little further into the difference between these two words too. Compassion is empathy with action.

To demonstrate kindness and compassion, we watched a short video about a girl who needed help. In the first scene, the other person chose not to help because she was too into her iPad game. They re-do the scene with the girl deciding that even though she was focused on her game, she paused it to go help. Showing deeper kindness can be doing things when you don’t feel like it.

This was followed up by reading a story called Each Kindness by Jacqueline Woodson. It’s about a young girl who is new at the school. She tries to make friends with the others but they ignore her and make fun of her. She learns that there are opportunities to show kindness. If you don’t take those opportunities, sometimes you don’t have a chance later.

Parents, I enjoyed reading Deep Kindness by Houston Kraft. He talks about a gap between our beliefs about kindness and the need for intentional actions to show deep kindness. If you like, watch the author as he shares about and encourages us to practice deep kindness in this YouTube video (7:36). Every day, I see many of your children demonstrate this level of deep kindness towards their classmates and it is truly heartwarming.

We are mathematicians.

We continued to solidify our understanding of 2-D and 3-D shapes. Students have learned the difference and can use the vocabulary of faces, edges, and vertices to describe shape attributes. We had fun showing what we know in the form of an active game I made up: Geometry Dash!

First I asked each table group to sort the shapes for part one. Then for part two, they had to retrieve the shape based on the description. For example:

  • Which shape has 6 faces and 8 edges?
  • Which shape has only 2 faces?
  • Which shape has 5 vertices?

They had to use their critical thinking brains to figure out which shape to bring back to the basket.

Your child should be able to identify the 3-D shapes too: sphere, cube, cylinder, cone, rectangular prism, pyramid, triangular prism.

Art with Ms. Kapusta

This week, students learned a new skill in art: weaving! We first began the day by reading a story by the Cree/Lakota author Monique Gray Smith and Cree/Métis illustrator Julie Flett called “My Heart Fills With Happiness.” We then we each shared what filled out hearts during our community circle. Because weaving has long been practiced by Indigenous people, we then had a discussion about Coast Salish groups in BC (including the lands of the Squamish, Musqueam, and Tsleil-Waututh on which we live, learn, and play), the importance of the cedar tree, and how cedar bark is stripped and used by Coast Salish people to make different kinds of weavings, including baskets and mats. 

Before we began weaving, I reminded students of the First Peoples Principle of Learning: “Learning takes patience and time.” We had a brainstorm about what this meant and other things that we have learned that took patience and time. Every student shared a connection, and I knew they were ready to start weaving! Students were then led step-by-step in learning how to weave using paper strips on a paper loom. Every student finished their heart weaving–I was so proud! Weaving is a fantastic activity to practice fine motor skills and a growth-mindset.>

We are scientists.

The salmon eggs hatched so they are now alevin. We couldn’t see them because they are hiding but this is to keep them safe in this stage.

“Learning is holistic, reflexive, reflective, experiential, and relational (focused on connectedness, on reciprocal relationships, etc.)” – First Peoples Principles of Learning

It’s hard to believe we have three weeks before spring break. Time flies when we are having fun! We continue to work hard at all aspects of our holistic learning. Honestly, last week, one of the things that brought me great joy was watching some of them interact with people they don’t usually talk to during Heart Time. I told them how heartwarming it was to witness their effort and joy in building new friendships. (Notice. Name. Nurture.) Then before recess, one child said, “I’m so excited to be playing with two new classmates at recess because I’ve never played with them before!”

The connections we make in school are such an important piece to it being a happier place to be. When students contribute in showing deeper kindness and demonstrate all the qualities of what it means to be Kitchener HAWKS, (helpful, accepting, welcoming, kind, safe), they are happier, feel more connected, and learn better together. Strong relationships built on love, kindness, and compassion are the foundation to how well our class functions as a community because we are interconnected. This is why we intentionally start our day with Heart Time, Community Connection Circle time, and celebrate our small wins together.

I feel so blessed to spend every day with your beautiful children and to work alongside you. Thank you for sharing them with us and for your continued support at home! As always, please let us know how we can support your child better. ❤️

With a heart full of gratitude, Ms. Chan

Dear families,

Our first full week of February was filled with engaged learners!

Ice Skating on Monday, February 12 and 26 at 9:30 AM

To bring:

  • Booster seat – CLICK HERE for ICBC child car seat requirements.
  • Gloves or mittens to protect their hands (mandatory)
  • Wear long socks (Highly recommend! Sometimes the top of the skates dig in to their legs but the longer socks protect them.)
  • Ski or snowboard helmet but the rink will have them to borrow. There is no need to go out to buy unless you plan to use in the future. It’s just nice to have your own.
  • Waterproof pants are recommended but this is not necessary so you do not need to go out to buy.
  • Dress in layers. While it is cold at the rink, once they start moving around, they get quite warm.

For parent volunteer drivers:

  • We have such appreciation for the overwhelming response to help drive us to the rink. We will be leaving right after attendance is taken. When we arrive at Bill Copeland, the rink and skate shop is on the lower floor. There are a set of stairs from the outside that will lead you there.
  • BEFORE: Please help children line up to get their skate rentals. The helmets will be in a bin off to the side. For better selection, get the helmets BEFORE they put on skates. Please help children tie skates.
  • DURING: Some students may want a break and come off the ice. Please encourage them to take a short break and then ask them to go back onto the ice to maximize their skating time.
  • DURING: If you will be on the ice, please support help us support our beginning skaters as much as possible. I will be leading a short lesson at the beginning to teach them a few skills. This is a very large group so everyone’s support during this time will be greatly appreciated.
  • AFTER: Help remove skates and wipe down the blade. There should be a towel close to where they return the skates. If you return to school before I do, please bring them to class so they can eat their snacks.

How to prepare your child:

  • For most students, this will be their first time skating. Please talk to them about having a growth mindset. Falling, getting back up, and perseverance with a positive and “I can do it” mindset is a part of learning a new skill. “Learning involved patience and time.” – First Peoples Principles of Learning
  • Feel free to watch these videos to learn more and share with your child: Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset or this Growth Mindset vs. Fixed Mindset.
  • There will NOT be enough bars for all beginning students to use as they learn to skate. In my experience, these are often crutches and those who rely on these tend to learn to skate a lot slower. Please encourage your child to try the skills I will teach them during the lesson. They will make the most progress WITHOUT the bars or seals to hold on to.
  • Please arrive at school on time.

Passion Projects

Students are excited to continue working and learning about their topics. What excitement a few students shared right at the door on Monday morning! They told me how they were working on their PowerPoint presentations while at home over the weekend. Thank you so much for your support and for fostering their love of learning at home! They are making good progress!

We are mathematicians.

We learned about the passing of time and also learned how to tell time. Your child should have brought home a clock to teach you how to tell time. Please continue to review.

Make it fun! Take turns asking each other what time it is. In Math, I often provide different levels of difficulty. They love challenging themselves!

Time concepts – Grade 3 Math curriculum

  • understanding concepts of time (e.g., second, minute, hour, day, week, month, year)
  • understanding the relationships between units of time
  • Telling time is not expected at this level.
  • estimating time, using environmental references and natural daily/seasonal cycles, temperatures based on weather systems, traditional calendar

While telling time is not expected, it’s a basic skill to know how to tell time.

Lunar New Year

We learned about Lunar New Year traditions and watched a lion dance along with a cool competition.

They enjoyed making bubble waffles on Wednesday! This was one of my mom’s favourite street snacks when she lived in Hong Kong as a child. She reminisced how she would go down to the streets to buy when she was given some extra spending money. These treats have become locally more popular in the past decade. If you would like to try, there is a stall at the Amazing Brentwood food court called Bubble Waffle Cafe.

Click here for the recipe I used from Pampered Chef.

Click here for the bubble waffle maker I purchased on Amazon.

We are authors.

On Thursday, we invited Ms. Sutton, our District Literacy Enhancement Teacher, to teach us about book making. Unfortunately, I was in the office on Thursday and Friday because Mr. Klarich was away so I did not get to see her presentation but I did see their excitement. As soon as I stepped into the classroom, so many of them wanted to share what they were working on!

Valentine’s Day

CLICK HERE to see the notice that was sent home. Thank you for returning the bottom portion to let me know which fruit(s) your child will be contributing. Thank you for your fruit!

Please also send a plastic bowl and spoon in a bag to be environmentally friendly. Feel free to send a container with a lid instead just in case they don’t finish their portion.

Save the Dates

  • Friday, February 16 – District Professional Day. No school for students.
  • Monday, February 19 – Family Day. School is closed.
  • Monday, March 4 to 8 – Hip Hop lessons
  • Monday, March 11 – Whole school performance (AM)
  • Monday, March 18 to Monday, April 1 – Spring break, school closure, and Easter Monday
  • Thursday, April 11 – Student Led Conferences from 3 to 6 PM (Families are invited to celebrate learning. Your child will lead the conversation and show you what they’ve learned so far.)
  • Friday, April 12 – Early dismissal at 2 PM
  • Monday, April 29 – Pro-D day. No school for students.
  • Friday, May 10 – We will be going to the Vancouver Aquarium by school bus with Ms. Santorelli and Ms. Tai’s classes. We will need parent volunteers to help supervise. Thank you!

I appreciate all of the love and care your children demonstrate to me and each other. I really do love and adore your children very much. They bring me so much joy! Many of them often share in our Community Circle time how grateful they are for their classmates. I always feel so very blessed and grateful to be their teacher and to work alongside you too. Thank you for your ongoing support.

Happy Lunar New Year! May you continue to experience love, joy, peace, prosperity, and good health! Sorry, we forgot to send home the Chinese paper lanterns on Friday.

With much gratitude, Ms. Chan

January Fun!

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Dear families,

It’s been a great two weeks minus a couple of fun snow days! Welcome back to school and Happy New Year! Thank you for your understanding about no blog post last weekend as my two ringette teams competed in a tournament.

Outdoor Education

Kate from Sierra Club visited on Monday for our in-school field trip. After teaching us about the importance of land stewardship and how the Indigenous People taught us how to respect our land and the animals, we walked to Willingdon Park to learn more about the trees there. Students also had an opportunity to build homes for the bugs.

On Friday, we followed up by studying spruce pine cones. We examined the patterns of the cone and talked about the seeds. We had samples of some that were closed, some that were open, and some that were just started to open. Then we submersed one in water and as scientists, noticed a number of things that started to happen. I loved the curiosity that was brought out. We will find out what happens when we return to school in the morning! After school, ask your child what we discovered!

We are artists.

This is from Ms. Kapusta the first week back:

This week we began an art project tied to New Year’s Resolutions. We began the lesson by talking about what a resolution is and sharing our different goals for the year with the class. Some students chose phrases like “learn to ice skate,” “read more books,” and “become a better story writer” while others chose words like “leader,” “flexible,” and “inventive.” To make the art, we combined two really fun techniques – tape resistance and splatter paint!  I loved watching the students experiment with abstract versus straight lines for the taping, mixing colours to create beautiful new shades, and purposefully playing around with the splattering technique. The next step was removing the tape carefully. Next week, we will be adding our New Year’s Resolutions into the white spaces using Sharpie. Creating a unique and expressive piece of artwork and connecting it to affirmative statements is a powerful way for students to recognize their strengths while reflecting on how they can still grow further.

This is from Ms. Kapusta for last week:

This week we switched things up and connected art to literacy and SEL. We read “Lost and Found” by Oliver Jeffers, a thoughtful story about a boy who finds a penguin who appears to be lost. The boy works very hard to find the penguin’s home, and in the process becomes close to the penguin. In the end, it turns out the penguin wasn’t so much lost but alone and it’s a gentle tale about friendship and connection. We talked about putting ourselves in both the boy and penguin’s shoes (perspective taking). Then, students responded to a creative writing prompt titled “If I Had a Penguin,” as well as made their own penguin companions to attach to their writing. We talked about expanding on our writing by answering questions like who, what, where, when. We also talked about the importance of editing our work and doing our best jobs. I was really proud of how hard everyone worked! 

ADST

The previous week, we got together with our big buddies and worked collaboratively on creating in Minecraft. We will continue this activity this Friday!

On Friday, students were introduced to PowerPoint. I am building up their skills so that when we start our Passion Projects next week, the tools they will use will be secondary learning. It has been a while since we logged in to laptops so please help your child review their login and password. You can have them log into Office 365 at home to practice using PowerPoint too! Students love becoming proficient and they enjoy being mentor leaders in the classroom.

We are mathematicians.

Students have become more proficient with using the compensation strategy in addition. Please check your child’s understanding by asking them to do a few addition questions at home. What is compensating?

33 + 59 =

Look at the number that is closest to the nearest 10. Here, it would be 59 because it is 1 away from 60.

If you +1 to 59, it equals 60. We call these numbers a “friendly number”. Basically, these are multiples of 10 like 10, 20, 30, 40, 50, etc.

So if you add one to 59, then you need to -1 from 33 so this is the new equation: 32 + 60 = ___

Simply add the tens together and then add the ones: 30 + 60 = 90. Then add 2 = 92.

An alternate way is to compensate after you add the friendly number. Here’s what it looks like: Add one to 59 to make 60. New equation: 33 + 60 =  92. Since you had to add 1, you now subtract 1 so 93-1 = 92. I know it may be harder to understand but here’s a short video that may explain it better.

Literacy Week

We are excited that it is Literacy Week this upcoming week! We will be learning that there are multiple types of literacies.

Take a look at the quick overview of what the week looks like:

Monday – We have a whole school read over the PA. The book will be displayed on the projector for all to see. Then we will have a follow-up activity to share what they hope for. If you would like to read the book with your child after school on Monday, click here to view it on YouTube.

Tuesday – All children will be encouraged to wear any outfit that makes them feel happy! Some suggestions might be pajamas, a sports jersey, a costume, a favourite colour, etc. Be creative!

Wednesday – Throughout the day, we will be doing physical activities. We are invited to read the story “The Snowy Day” outside along the fence. After school, please feel free to walk and read the story with your child(ren) too!

Thursday – In the past, people talked about IQ (intelligence quotient or a person’s ability to reason). Then people started talking about EQ (emotional quotient or the ability to understand and manage emotions in positive ways including communicating effectively). A couple months ago when I was doing some research for my presentation, I learned about CQ (cultural quotient or the ability to adapt to new cultural settings). Understanding our personal and cultural identity is one of our core competencies. Anyway, on Thursday, we invite you and your families to join us for family reading in our classroom! Please feel free to bring other family members and books to share. If you have any books from your culture, that would be wonderful too!

Friday – We will have a celebration of learning at 1:00pm.

One of my favourite times of the day is when I pick the kids up from the undercover area. They make me feel so loved by the way they greet me. I also really love seeing parents as you drop off. It brings me joy to see you too! 🙂

I am very grateful for your continued support at home. I wanted to mention again that if you have not seen your child’s report card yet, no worries at all. Please send me an email to let me know and I will send you a PDF copy. Thank you.

The ice skating notice will go home this week. School Cash online may not be set up yet but I can send you an email to let you know when it is open. We will need parent volunteer drivers and supervisors. If you are a confident skater, please feel free to help out on the ice. If not, we will need parent supervisors at the rink too. This is a new requirement this year at City of Burnaby rinks.

Your children bring me so much joy each day! Looking forward to another full week with them!

Gratefully, Ms. Chan

 

Dear families,

I had the greatest pleasure to present to 250 educators in Nevada over Zoom yesterday morning! I shared about how we can shape our mindsets to see CONNECTIONS as the key to being an effective educator and teach students how to build positive relationships with each other, inspire them to see their own POTENTIAL as we lift them up by believing in them and providing opportunities to grow in their stretch zones, and cultivate leadership skills to EMPOWER them to be the best versions of themselves each day.

Every atomic interaction is a moment of connection that offers an opportunity to intentionally uplift others through our love, kindness, and gratitude. We not only brighten someone’s day but also create lasting imprints on their heart, cultivating joy within them and ourselves. I strive to live by this motto and encourage your children to do so too as we work together to foster a connected community of caring learners and leaders. 

Ways to support at home: Have conversations about how every interaction can be a positive one to build the kind of relationships we want to have. It takes great self-discipline especially when we are in the midst of challenging situations to have grace for others and to speak with love and kindness so that others feel heard and supported. “I can solve problems in peaceful ways.” Getting along with others and effective communication is key to our well-being. It begins with our mindset about how we value relationships.

It’s always interesting to learn what resonated most with participants in my sessions. Today, it seemed that sharing love and joy struck people most. Here are four of the most powerful statements I shared and say to your children regularly:

  • I love you.
  • I appreciate you.
  • I believe in you.
  • You bring me joy.

Brushing with Cedar Leaves

Last weekend, I had the greatest pleasure to join our Mentorship Network at Loon Lake in Maple Ridge for an overnight retreat. I have been a part of the organizing committee for five years as a supporter to beginning teachers in our district. One of the sessions was led by Ditta Cross who led us into to the forest to teach us about the Indigenous ways of connecting and respecting our land. One lesson that deeply resonated with me was called brushing. Here’s an explanation found on ChatGPT:

The Coast Salish people have a deep cultural connection with cedar trees, considering them sacred and using them for various purposes, including ceremonial practices and crafting. Cedar leaves, with their aromatic scent, are often used in brushing ceremonies.

Brushing ceremonies involve gently sweeping or brushing a person with cedar leaves to cleanse and purify their spirit, mind, and body. The fragrant essence of the cedar is believed to carry healing properties, removing negative energy and promoting balance and harmony.

This practice is conducted with reverence and respect for the cedar tree, acknowledging its significance in Coast Salish culture. The act of brushing with cedar leaves is considered a form of spiritual cleansing and renewal, often performed as part of traditional rituals or ceremonies within the community.

This practice has really resonated with many of the students too! There is something very calming about this.

We are scientists.

Water is really important to us!

We are grateful to have had a guest speaker, Diana, from Skye Consulting, come to teach us about the water cycle, local watersheds, water conservation, and to answer these questions:

When we turn on the tap, where do you think this water comes from? What are different ways we use water?

We learned that our water in Burnaby comes from the Seymour Watershed.

Then we had an opportunity to draw the water cycle and do a sort to figure out the order with images.

Ways to support at home: Ask your child to explain the water cycle and tell you about watersheds. Practice water conservation!

Candy cane crystals

Watch a video to learn more about how our Borax crystals formed! If you like, make some more at home following this recipe. I enjoyed seeing the creativity. We didn’t just see candy canes, we saw beautiful crystal stars, snowflakes, and a heart too! Please note that these are made from Borax so if you have young children in the home, it is best to put it out of reach.

OWL (Orphaned Wildlife) in the Classroom

On Thursday, we had an informative session to learn about falcons and owls. We met a barn owl named Alba and a American kestrel, Willa. Check out the videos and more images in SpacesEDU. Students learned:

  • The function of the OWL Society
  • The basic biology and behaviour of raptors
  • Sizes and types of raptors
  • Dangers to raptors and other wildlife
  • What students can do to help raptors and other wildlife

 

Ways to support at home: Ask your child to share five facts they know about owls. Be curious! Model curiosity and tell them what you wonder about. Visit the public library to take out books on owls, go online to look for more facts, or watch videos on owls. Anytime you search online, this is a great opportunity to talk about staying safe as they search and to teach them about using key words to type in the search bar. Adding “for kids” is a simple way to narrow your search, for example.

If you’d like to learn more, visit: OWL Rehab. They offer 30-60 minute guided tours on the weekends (by donation). Be sure to make an online reservation before you go.

They are located at 3800 – 72nd Street Unit 3, Delta, BC.

Self-reflections and Goal Setting

Two of our core competencies is reflective and critical thinking:

Critical and Reflective Thinking encompasses a set of abilities that students use to examine their own thinking and that of others. Students apply critical, metacognitive, and reflective thinking in given situations, and relate this thinking to other experiences, using this process to identify ways to improve or adapt their approach to learning. They reflect on and assess their experiences, thinking, learning processes, work, and progress in relation to their purposes. Students give, receive, and act on feedback and set goals individually and collaboratively. They determine the extent to which they have met their goals and can set new ones.

We spent some time reflecting on how we are as learners, what we feel proud of, and set some goals to work on for next term. I also gave them an opportunity to give me feedback on what I am doing well and how I can be a better teacher for them individually and for the class. I want to model reflective thinking and am in constant pursuit of learning and betterment. So, if you have feedback for me, please let me know too. I appreciate your support!

Winter Concert on Tuesday, December 12 (Two Performances)

We have been working hard with our buddies and Mr. Turpin on the songs and actions! Please have your child wear a white top and black bottoms on Tuesday. You should have received two red tickets to attend the evening show on Tuesday, December 12 at 6:30 pm. Please bring your tickets to the evening concert.

6:00 pm (or later) – Bring your child to the Annex – A2 (Strong Start room)
6:00 pm – Gym doors open (The PAC will have a concession stand. Thank you for supporting them!)
6:30 pm – Concert begins
After the performance – Pick up your child from the Music room in the Annex.

*Please let me know if you do not plan to attend so I can expect their absence. Also, we can release your tickets to other families when you return your unused tickets to school.

1:30 pm Concert – An option for families with young children or if you don’t have enough tickets for the evening performance. You do NOT need a ticket for this concert.

To practice the songs at home, check out our Musicians page. Here, you will also find the overview of what was taught this term by Mr. Turpin, which you can refer to when you receive your child’s Learning Update on December 20.

Gingerbread House Making

This Friday, December 15, we will be making gingerbread houses with our big buddies. Please have your child bring small assorted candies (nut free) in a labelled bag to decorate their own houses. They can start bringing them to school anytime next week.

Every student will be provided with a paper plate, royal icing, and graham crackers to build their houses. We are looking forward to this fun community building activity and can’t wait to see the creativity and joy that this activity will bring! Thank you for your ongoing support in making these moments memorable for our students.

Field Trips in the New Year – Save the dates because we will need parent volunteer drivers, please. Thank you for your support!

  • Friday, January 12 – South for the Winter at Michael J. Fox Theatre (Collaborative dance performance with four Burnaby secondary schools). The notice will come home early next week.
  • Monday, February 12 & Monday, February 26 – Ice skating at Bill Copeland from 9:00 to 11:00 am.

Every time I get to present to educators, I cannot help but feel so appreciative that I am your child’s teacher. Thank you for sharing them with us and for your part in supporting their education with me. I appreciate you!

With love, joy, kindness, and gratitude, Ms. Chan

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