Creating a Sense of Belonging in Middle Years’ Classrooms

Please join us for a ZOOM presentation October 28th from 7:00-8:30 p.m. where teachers Chantelle Balicki, Kelli Fredlund Kelly Gibson and Chrisa Farrell will share their findings from their McDowell Foundation research project. They will be joined by Fatima Coovadia, Vice Chair, Concentus Citizenship Education Foundation. This event will be co-hosted by the Saskatoon Teachers Association. To register or for additional information please email mcdowell@stf.sk.ca.

Volunteer Opportunity: Foundation Board Members Needed!

The Foundation is currently accepting expressions of interest from people passionate about public education to sit on our Board of Directors. Directors are appointed for a three-year term and provide strategic direction, fiscal oversight and risk-management leadership for the Foundation. The Board meets approximately four times per year. Serving on a non-profit board can support the development of leadership skills, encourage professional research in the province and be a great way to meet others who are passionate about public education. No previous research experience is necessary. If you are interested, or for more information please contact mcdowell@stf.sk.ca by October 25, 2021.

Media Advisory

Thirtieth Anniversary of the McDowell Foundation SASKATOON – Today marks the thirtieth anniversary of the Dr. Stirling McDowell Foundation, which has empowered thousands of Saskatchewan teachers to explore their passions, innovations, and creativity in support of students. The Foundation has funded more than 300 research projects and awarded over $2 million in grant dollars, directly impacting the professional lives of Saskatchewan teachers. To celebrate this landmark anniversary, the Foundation invites you to join us at 3:45 today on Facebook Live for the launch of our #MF30for30 campaign. The McDowell Foundation was established by the Saskatchewan Teachers’ Federation in 1991. The Foundation operates as an independent registered charitable organization, named in honour of Dr. Stirling McDowell, who had an ability to inspire both creativity and cooperation in education. His visionary work and internationally recognized research were only exceeded by his unwavering pride and passion for student learning and the teaching profession. Read more…

Lily Mckay-Carriere’s Story

In 1997-2009, I took a Masters in Education and my Action Research involved interviewing elders. We formed a group of teachers over the summer to turn those stories into units to help classroom teachers teach Cree Literacies. These three are students in a community based teacher education program through the U of S and they are studying to become teachers. They learned Cree literacies designed as an output of the Macdowell foundation funding that helped with creating the Cree units of study. The video is of the students singing a song about gratitude for the earth, animals, trees, elders, children and water.  https://youtu.be/vY39xe4HOQI

George Gordon First Nation Mîkiwahp (Tipi) Project

Katherine Oviatt, Lana Steiner, Tammy McNab, Amanda Moosemay, Alberta-Rose Bear, Lindsey Bear, Sonia Kinequon, Heidi Linford This project is the first of many hopeful future projects that will set the foundations for redesigning the way students are taught and assessed through a curriculum that begins with Indigenous Ways of Knowing and is responsive to the holistic way that Indigenous children learn. The curriculum outcomes can be found within the holistic teaching and learning will be assessed through a holistic approach rather than an outcome attainment approach that will include learning stories as the foundational data source through the holistic lens of the Circle of Courage. From this project students will reconnect with their traditional ways of learning by designing and constructing an outdoor learning space (Mîkiwahp) that will enable them to continue with their land-based learning beyond the breadth and scope of this project. The project will include returning to Read more…

Nurturing Emergent Literacy in Play-Based Outdoor Education: An Exploration of the Learning Journey of a Kindergarten/Grade 1 Class in Forest School

Denise Heppner, Tirzah Reilkoff Leaders in education are wondering if the COVID-19 pandemic will nudge educators to explore the benefits of outdoor education. This research will take up that challenge and delve into the aspects of literacy learning that are fostered by participation within an outdoor educational context (Forest School), adding to the emerging research literature that outdoor play-based activities provide authentic learning for all students. Using action research, this study will examine literacy development fostered through the sociodramatic play of students in a Kindergarten/Grade 1 class as they engage in play-based learning within Forest School. Skills in oral language build the foundation for emergent literacy and supports the development of reading and writing. In dramatic play, students adopt imaginary roles and build on each other’s oral story-telling abilities during story co-construction; teachers can then extend this knowledge to teach narrative writing. Research shows that children are healthier, happier and Read more…

The Impact of COVID-19 on Band Teacher Practices in Saskatchewan

Katlyn Redding & Kristen Myers As music educators in rural Saskatchewan, we noticed the tremendous impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on band programs. Since band instruction is typically almost exclusively delivered through the playing of wind instruments in a group setting, which became a high-risk activity in the context of COVID-19, band teachers were forced to rethink and redesign their instructional practices to meet curriculum outcomes in different ways. We collaborated with band teacher colleagues to reflect on and tell the stories of the change from traditional wind instrument-based instruction to alternative practices in Grade 6-12 band programs based on the following research questions: How have band teachers continued to engage students in music making throughout the pandemic? How has the COVID-19 pandemic changed band teachers’ learning goals for students and their definitions of student success in music education? What new instructional and assessment practices will band teachers retain once Read more…

Social Media as Anti-Racist Teacher Education: Implications and Possibilities

Dr. Carmen Gillies and Melchior Sysing At this historical moment of worldwide anti-racism protests that have led to increased institutional support for anti-racism policies and practices, we—as teachers—must ask ourselves how we may contribute unknowingly to racial divisions. In particular, we believe a need exists to think critically about anti-racism messages communicated through social media. This research study is, in part, a response to changing social contexts. While anti-racist ideals have become increasingly accepted, we have also noticed a rise in rhetoric that fails to align with the central goals of anti-racist education. Furthermore, the culture of shaming those who do not agree with specific positions does not align with Indigenous epistemologies nor Canadian democratic principles. Through a qualitative critical race participatory action research study with six self-identified anti-racist middle-years teachers, we seek to investigate how anti-racism messages transmitted to teachers through social media impact their classroom practice and lessons. Read more…