*This Blog Post is written in large part thanks to our student teacher from the ICS/OISE Program at Uof T, Amanda Santos (@amandasantos_ed & www.learningstem.ca)
This year, the HPAS theme is “Food for Thought” which investigates poverty, inequality, and discrimination. Over the course of the year, we've learned about the water cycle, different types of communities, written stories which illustrate our own personal connection to water, made predictions as to how our lives might change if we didn’t have clean water (see previous blog), and then we watched a video of First Nation community members being interviewed about what it is like to not have clean water. Students then created new questions in response to that video, continued to inquire about types of water pollution and causes including mining, how we get clean water to our tap and brainstormed possible ways we can help those without access to clean water.
Watch Amanda's video: How Do We Get Clean Tap Water?
We took some time to ask students 1) What's something new you've learned 2) Are there any questions you still have? and 3) Is there an action that you think we/people should take?
We started to talk about what we should do to help these First Nation communities who don’t have clean water and we emphasized that this problem is very complicated; for many generations, the Indigenous peoples of Canada including First Nations have been treated very unfairly in many ways, and one of those ways is by not have clean water to drink. It is going to take many years and many people who care (US - the grade 1s and 2s at HPAS!) to change things so that ALL people can have clean drinking water from their tap. We learned that this process of making things better with the indigenous peoples of Canada is called Truth and Reconciliation; Truth means learning the what actually is happening and Reconciliation is learning about how we can make it better.
It can be hard to learn about such sad and scary things that are happening in our country, but our students were brave and did an incredible job watching, listening, and showing respect. So what was our next step?
There are many people who don’t know that there are Canadians who are sick and who are dying because they do not have clean drinking water; to help raise awareness we can share what we have learned with...THE WORLD.
To consolidate and to communicate our learning about water access in First Nation communities, we participated in a group writing exercise ... we wrote a letter to post here on our website, telling people what we’ve learned, questions we still have, and actions we think we should take:
We welcome your comments, questions and hopefully some answers to our questions as well!
Please click the comment box at the bottom of the blog.
After that, to continue raising awareness and to encourage people to visit our website to read our letter, students wrote tweets that were sent to specific people and groups:
Please visit our Twitter Page to reply to, retweet & like students' tweets
* update *
We are raising awareness:
We were Re-Tweeted by @LifeStraw - our post may have reached 5,000+ people!
Some Indigenous organizations have seen and liked our tweets. They appreciate our learning and sharing and might bring this information to their advisory groups!
Some TDSB teachers have seen and liked our post - they might bring this information to their classrooms and their students!
Some TDSB Learning Coaches have seen and liked our post - they might bring this information to their Learning Centres (other schools, principals, teachers and students)!
Some #HPAS Parents have seen and liked our post - they might be continuing the conversation at home with their children and sharing with people they know in the community!
In our Room 108 Classroom Community, we foster an engaging, respectful and caring environment. I aim to balance a consistent program with flexible responsiveness to students' individual needs.