Category Archives: #treatyeducation

Inquiry Based Learning – You’ve Got A Good Thing Goin’ On.

“Inquiry is not asking questions and finding answers. Inquiry is wrestling with dilemmas and seeking epiphanies. Inquiry is being comfortable living in the soup.” – Educon, 2013


As part of an in-class exploration, we collaboratively unpacked the Crab Apple Jelly “Me to We” Project currently being inquired on by students at Mother Teresa Middle School in Regina, Saskatchewan. Alongside the inquiry-based learning process, we mapped out a project plan – outlining what a project such as this might look like in a middle years classroom.

We began by discussing a time-frame by which we thought this project would occur, taking into consideration time accounted for brainstorming, collecting materials, canning the jelly and selling the product. My lack of experience with actual implementation of inquiry-based learning in a middle years classroom led me to believe we may have over-projected time-wise. However, we would want our students to unpack the experience to the extent they so chose to – taking as little or as much time as needed, within reason.

Upon delving into the Saskatchewan curriculum, we quickly found that making cross-curricular connections would not be an issue – the basis of the project fit seamlessly into almost every subject area. I believe that cross-curricular connections are an important aspect of inquiry-based learning, as it allows for easy transition between subject areas, while allowing students to make meaningful connections throughout the broad areas of learning. A learning experience that encompasses ample opportunities for personal growth provides the framework for shared experiences to occur in the classroom and community – as evident in the Crab Apple Jelly Project.

We included an exploration alongside Treaty Education into the project plan as we felt as though it was an integral component to student learning. There were multiple areas by which connections could be made within the Treaty Education Outcomes & Indicators Document; however, we chose the outcomes found to be most significant focusing on Treaty relationships and worldviews. Additionally, assessment and differentiation work hand-in-hand during an inquiry-based learning experience, as the tools and strategies used must reflect student interest, learning styles and the foundation of student learning within the project itself. A brief break-down of exemplar assessment strategies can be found in the image below (KWL chart, journaling, conversations/dialogue, visual representations, etc.).

Throughout the remainder of my pre-internship, I hope to further explore inquiry-based learning alongside the students in my co-operative classroom. I presume there will be a combination of successes and challenges; feelings of triumph and defeat; multiple ‘detours’ along the way – all of which will keep the experience interesting! Let’s face it – inquiry-based learning, you’ve got a good thing goin’ on!

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We are all Treaty People.

“Now is the time for all people to come together and build a new relationship. If not, things could get a little awkward. After all, First Nations peoples are Canada’s fastest growing population and more than half of us now live in cities. It’s time to meet the neighbors.” (Wab Kinew, Indigenous in the City, 8th Fire – CBC Documentary)

I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to engage in a lecture on Treaty Education with Moose Jaw teacher, Claire Kreuger. She shared with us her journey through a fairly challenging inquiry on Treaty Education, reminding us that despite any obstacles, we must never give up on teaching this topic. Through integration of technology in the classroom, her students created outstanding representations of their learning. The connections they made to their past, the present and their future really hit home for me, reminding me the importance of the relationships embedded in Treaty Education – we do not own the land, we SHARE it. Their words were inspiring, as one child claimed, “We need to own what we have done.” – a very powerful statement, for a child who was obviously not present at the signing of the treaties, yet is taking ownership for the actions of her ancestors. How can we move towards a peaceful future without mending damaged relationships?

My professor once shared her encounter with an elder where he asked: What do we do if we are studying oceans and we do not know something? We look it up. Why are we not doing this with Treaty Education?

As soon as culture is involved, it seems to automatically become a touchy subject. I often hear, ‘I don’t want to offend anyone by teaching it wrong” or “I don’t know anything about it”. As educators, we are not EXPERTS; we do not know everything there is to know about the world we live in. I believe that making mistakes alongside our students makes for authentic learning – showing our students that we too are vulnerable and learning something new everyday. That being said, our excuse should not be that we do not know anything about it. We should be realizing that making mistakes makes us human – our students will appreciate that and value the learning experiences they encounter through error.

In order to understand our place in society, we need to understand the agreements made through the treaties, as well as how we benefit from this today. We would not be living the life we have, on the land that provides us with so many opportunities if it were not for the treaties. This is valuable information that our students deserve to explore – it is part of their identity, and will be part of their future.

“As long as the sun shines, grass grows and river flows – we are all treaty people.”