Drum Circles and Space PowerPoints

We had pretty much I think the best time we’ve ever had at our school last school day because of many factors. Most of which weren’t even involved with our teaching specifically, but with what we observed while at the school.

The first amazing thing that happened was that our co-op teacher came into the room with this giant box of books that he set down for us. While the students were doing their spelling test, we went out into the hallway and picked through the large box and were told that we could take any of the books we wanted. Every single one of the books was about Treaty Education, how to teach it, specific books about history to learn more, individual curriculum guides for grades two to seven, I believe and so much more. We took the whole box because they were going to recycle the books anyway because the teacher that they belonged to no longer was in need of them.

So needless to say, I now have a big box of happiness in my ‘printer room’ which is really just a hallway that leads to nowhere, but don’t tell anyone. I am excited to see what sort of information is available in the books and what will be useful in my future. I’ve always wanted to teach treaty education respectfully and with the emphasis that it deserves, but I’ve always been afraid that I would not know how to accomplish that when the time was right. But now I have so much help in the matter that I’m actually excited to do some research, which is pretty much unheard of for me.

The second amazing thing was one of the PowerPoints we watched our students present. The students were joking around with my teaching partner, because her jaw literally dropped when she saw their PowerPoint. There was music, animation, full sentences, and pretty good grammar for Grade Six. The pictures used were all high definition, and the students had added orange accents to the pictures to create a  flow to the presentation. It was so visually impressive – I don’t think I’ve ever done a PowerPoint that good in my life. I don’t think I’ve ever been so impressed, actually.

My teaching that I did was about drum circles. I specifically focused on the way that the drums are used in the dances and how integral the beat is to the music and to the dancers. I also tied the lesson with the gumboot dancing that we learned earlier in the semester by bringing up the religious and spiritual significance of the Cree Chicken Dance and relating it to how African American dancers now use the step dance as a way to honour the historical significance of the dance. The students were actually super involved in the lesson and I had many students volunteering to answer questions, and some students that I have struggled to focus before were incredibly polite and engaged. I was really pleased with the outcome, especially because my target this week was classroom management, and specifically making sure that the students were not being silly or not paying attention, and were instead giving the lesson the respect it deserved because it was about a very significant culture.

All in all, I had so much fun, and next week we are teaching drama! So it should also prove to be, at least, an interesting time!

Sarah

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