Keeping our Students Safe – We’koqma’q School

This school year has been very challenging for our schools across the province. Principals, teachers and school staff have been working extra hard to be innovative with their lessons in order to keep student safety at the top of their priority list. We had the opportunity to chat with some of our teachers to hear how they and their students are doing. They are all doing an amazing job and we are glad to be able to share their stories.

(Story submitted by Tiffany Gould – Grade 1))

This time around we were all more prepared for online learning but there was still a couple students that needed that one-on-one support. My plan was to meet with one student in particular but it was a learning time for the whole family and the neighborhood. We set aside a day out of the week to learn with the neighborhood students in Grade 1, but other students joined as well and learned with us on our outdoor learning adventures. I planned learning centers just like we’d do in the classroom and it has been going great! On Fridays I packed up the Osmo’s and did a fun learning day for all their hard work throughout the week.  

            Here is a picture of the family doing center work and having some fun on the Osmo’s. The grandmother loved it so much she ordered some for Christmas!

We also invited some other students from our class to take part in Land based Education around their neighborhood. On our first outdoor adventure we learned about birch trees and how to tell them apart from other trees. Once we found a birch tree we took pieces off and I taught them about birch bark biting. Students were absorbing all the cultural teachings that day and kept saying it was “the best day” outside. Here is a couple pictures of the students birch bark biting.

On our second adventure with Land based learning our lesson was about Mi’kmaq medicine and we went back to the Dam(water pool) to search the woods for Golden thread with 2 other students from the neighborhood. They too were amazed that this root was used as medicine and were determined to find some. It was nice to see how they picked up some soil but placed it back because they noticed insects were living in there and they needed to be warm for the winter.

Primary: Learn and Play Online – Story submitted by Cindy Bernard

Digital teaching for primary sounds very complicated and scary. How are we supposed to teach children ages 5 and 6 online through this iPad? Will students participate? Will they enjoy it? Is it going to be like my classroom? Many questions, but the answers are simple. 

Primary students can do online and the best part is that parents are there helping and seeing the progress! Communication is the best key to online success and having that communication with parents gets their child/ren into their online classes and activities. 

Students meet with me through Google Classroom for their individual teaching time. Students read and write with me. We use a cool literacy digital program called Literacy Footprints to support their literacy growth.

I actually get a guided reading lesson done with no interruptions! Our students love seeing the book pop on the screen and parents love seeing how their kids are doing and improving. After lessons, parents message me saying how very proud they are of their kids. No, it’s not like a classroom, but it’s the safest and best solution for right now. 

My job is not just to teach these kids, it’s to keep them safe, along with our First Nation communities. Working and learning from home is and can be challenging but it can be done and it gets easier each time you log on! Remember to communicate and have schedules ready and things will work out. Accept that there are challenges and rescheduling because we are going into their homes and sometimes 9:30 AM isn’t going to work today but 2 PM might. Once things get easier, teachers will start to have fun and appreciate how digital learning is still helping each child succeed.

 I’ve decided to use 5 main apps for teaching. Google Meet, Literacy Footprints, Seesaw, Math Seeds, and Squiggle Park are the main apps I use. Primary is a very hands on Grade but we are trying to make learning still interactive and fun. So play is an essential part of their learning at home. This is possible with my co teacher, Cammeilia who has her ECE . She provides great lessons to include fun  Learn Through Play activities  . She also made the Primary students educational binders filled with literacy, numeracy, Learn through play activities, nursery rhymes, music and movement, and social skills activities to do at home. I am proud to say most of my students are participating through online learning and we are all enjoying it! 

Primary: Cammeilia Googoo : Primary ECE Educator

I have created the home learning binders for our primary class for online/home learning. The binder has included literacy, numeracy, learn through play, nursery rhymes, music and movement and outdoor ed. I also included playdough, blocks and markers. This will help children to use their fine motor skills for the worksheets given. In the binder, I have given detailed instructions to parents on how to teach each section. Ex. One section has the alphabet. Week one students will be working on letter H: Students will get the instructions to trace, build and create. They can use either blocks, playdough or yarn. I wanted to make the binder enjoyable and fun for both parents and students. 

I meet daily with my students online providing them with “Learn Through Play” activities to build their communication and social skills.

Story submitted by Holly Hudson – Middle School Math teacher

We have been doing digital learning for 10 school days now and I couldn’t be more proud of our middle school students. From the lessons we learned in the Spring we tailored a cross curricular inquiry model for our students anchored in the concept of Netukulimk. This has been delivered in a way that is manageable for our students to be engaged and accountable but not overwhelmed. Participation is up over 60% from the spring putting us at about 90% roughly participating in google meets daily. Tasks are being completed at an even higher rate. But I am most proud of the students reaching out for support, meeting in google meets one on one, and communicating with us consistently. Students are learning to advocate for themselves and to ask specifically what they need help on. That assured me that the digital skills we’ve focused on and the relationships we’ve fostered will allow us to successfully weather this pandemic. 

Inquiry Project Video by Caleb Gould

Here are some of the Kindergarten students working from home!