Thursday, March 5, 2015

Have You Heard of The 7 Grandfather Teachings?

In my school board (YRDSB), we focus a lot on character education and the ten character traits. To see a list of them click here. I am a firm believer in all members of a school climate exhibiting good character.

Then I attended a workshop through my school board on First Nations, Native, Metis and Inuit (FNMI) Studies. That's when I first learned about the 7 Grandfather teachings and wow are they ever so wonderful! A few groups across Canada live by these teachings which very much overlap with the character traits that we teach our students. Some of the groups who follow these set of teachings on human conduct include: the Anishinaabe, Ojibwe and Chippewa people.

Take a look at a the 7 teachings below:
Ever since I first came across the 7 teachings, I have been trying to incorporate them into my teaching practice. Specifically, I have been really focusing on "Wisdom" with my homeroom class of grade 6 students. How we practice wisdom is by showing respect and thanks to our elders in our own community in Stouffville. So, I have invited any family member of my students' willing to come visit us and share their wisdom to do so! So far elders have come into my class and talked about various jobs, hobbies and interests of there own in a Q&A style format. My students will develop a list of questions ahead of time for the elder. I will send a copy of the questions home to the elder and when the elder comes into my classroom they are prepared with answers. My students have learned so much from these community circles with their elders that I truly could go on for days about all the positive feedback. Elders have also expressed so much reward from the experience as well. It has truly brought our community of learners closer together.

Besides incorporating the 7 teachings with my 6s, I have also introduced my grade 4 art class to these set of teachings as well. The first week back in January from the winter break, I asked my students instead of developing a new years resolution to adapt it. We learned about the 7 teachings and I asked my students to select one teaching that they would really like to work on in 2015. Each student selected a teaching and wrote a brief blurb on a recipe card as to why they want to work on that teaching. The students were brutally honest. For example, one student wanted to work on ''Truth" because they admitted that they lied a lot in their past! This exercise alone was fantastic. Then the 4s learned about the animal that is associated with each teaching. Finally, we learned about Dot Art and looked at some beautiful Australian Aboriginal Dot Art to help learn this new skill. We incorporated all this knowledge and created dot artwork of the specific grandfather teaching we wanted to work on for 2015. The results are incredible. Take a look below:

Thanks for stopping by!

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