Author Archives: elizabeth jensen

Cyber Traveler: Final Post

After some communication with the instructor I decided to use the plethora of information gathered in this weblog in a paper or slide show rather than a website for teachers. Upon closer examination, I don’t believe a website would do the amount of information justice and I want to make sure it isn’t cluttered. I was also reminded to focus on the cultural aspects and how it is a difficult concept to teach to those who aren’t within the aboriginal culture themselves. Here are my final resources, which I feel are most focused for my final paper.


1.Celebrating Canada’s Indigenous Peoples Through Song and Dance

This pdf focuses on how to teach indigenous music and dance. With my general focus being on introducing the culture to my physical education lessons, I wanted to ensure I touched upon every aspect, not only dance, of indigenous cultures. I am also reminded here, that certain dances and music are sacred to specific regions and cannot be presented in others. 

2.First Nations Music in Canada

This link focuses on the history of music in aboriginal peoples. It included quizzes and even an activity. It would be an excellent resource for teachers and students alike. I have yet to include any real music focused resources and since dance is the focus, music should go along with it. This would be an excellent fine arts cross-curricular activity that would allow students to research some of the origins of the music they will be dancing to. 

3. Newswire Article: Strength in Dance

Since my final project is how to meld indigenous dance and technology, I felt it necessary to include video or media that teachers could use to show their students as inspiration. The above is a great motivator for students who may not be interested in the concept of indigenous dance. It focuses on the physical aspects of dance, which may be a great motivator for some older students who may be more interested in sports than dance. It creates a great image of what can be accomplished through dance.

4. Indigenous People in Film

While my audience is mostly elementary school, the following could be used for upper elementary grades and high school students . The idea was to have students record their dances and edit them, essentially doing a short film making type unit. I would like to use this with the elementary school students too and think it could easily be modified. They may not be able to film themselves but I believe a lesson on editing could be easy for the middle elementary grades. The younger grades could use technology in different ways such as viewing music and dances via the internet as opposed to live.


5. Participaction

Since the whole concept of my final project is to integrate technology into physical education, it is only fitting I source something that gives resources to do so seamlessly. While this website has many apps and programs that use technology in the gym, several of them would only work for high school classes. However, the one app that would allow this indigenous dance unit to be successful is the Show Me app. This app allows teachers to record their lessons, and upload them. This would be fantastic for sharing dance lessons with other teachers, and even for students to upload their dances for future viewing.

Module 3: Cultural Stereotypes and Curricular Connections

This week, based on the readings and discussions, I found myself drawn to more curricular based research. I wanted to find where I could possibly fit these ideas into gym classes, but also how I could help teachers connect students to the culture. The cultural biases and equality discussion also made me think about how this related to the physical education aspect of my research and I wanted to touch on this as well.


1.BC Curriculum

I decided after a very interesting pro-d day that focused on first nations representation in our curriclulum on how this physical education piece could possibly fit into the first nations cultural views. I first looked on our British Columbia new curriculum website and found surprisingly nothing. I did however, start to get creative and looked at the positive personal and cultural identity section. Much of the dances I would be teaching should  enhance the idea that everyone is unique, yet also connected.


2. Teaching Tools

This is not necessarily a dance inspired resource, however I would like to include it in my website as a tool for teachers looking to use first nations influence in the gym. This website is extensive and while not based in BC has some fantastic ideas for using first nations ideals in the gym. There are options for primary, intermediate and older.  Use of animals is definitely highlighted and is a wonderful way to inspire gross motor skills, I use this daily regardless of whether it is culturally significant or not.


3. Statistics

I also decided I would delve more into the health aspect of the first nations culture, possibly as a motivator for teachers to insert culture into their gym classes. Health statistics for first nations people are very interesting and should serve as a useful tool for teachers. Specifically page 27, which highlights physical activity and food consumption. Interestingly the majority of first nations peoples (35% of men and 26% of women) were physically active for 60 minutes per day, a statistic I feel could be higher. Unfortunately, there are no statistics for children in these families, however, physical education as youth could help increase physical wellness in adults.

Also interesting was table 3 as it highlights resiliency seen in first nations students and the graduation statistics among them. This doesn’t necessarily relate to inspiring physical wellness, but should be a motivator in introducing culture and personal cultural identity. That sense of community would hopefully help first nations students be motivated to complete their degrees and excel in school.

4. This week’s readings and discussion had me thinking about cultural stereotypes and how first nations people are viewed in terms of physical health. Unfortunately first nations people have not been as active in, say, the sports community as would other cultures. However, I think looking at this image the outdoor education aspect is something to be emphasized. Fishing and hunting are all forms of sport and allow for some physical activity to take place. Field trips or walks in nature would be an excellent cultural activity to complete as a part of gym class. While this is not necessarily dance related as I had hoped, I think it is important for teachers to touch on all ways first nations people are physically active and make it a point to convey this to students. Since the culture is so rich and often viewed in one way, students need to learn how cultural stereotypes come to be.


5. Our Health Counts

I stumbled across this slideshow on this linkedin profile which was based in Hamilton and was titled an Urban Aboriginal Health Database Research Project. The image was the one I thought would be beneficial to my research. It is important to note that physical wellness, while important to first nations people, is not necessarily what makes one healthy. Considering this, there would be great crossover lessons available to emphasize the mind-body connection so important in first nations culture. To me even practicing deep breathing could be beneficial physically, while at the same time emphasizing wellness. Yoga would be an excellent example and lesson to do as it does incorporate animal poses, something important to first nations culture. The mind-body concept would be an excellent starting off point for teachers of both younger and older students.

Module 2- Practical Dance Resources

            As I am moving along in my research I am looking more for practical ideas on how to implement indigenous dance into my physical education classes. There are very few local persons who are willing to come provide dance lessons for my class, however with our first nations culture being so rich at our school I have spoken to a couple of the first nations support workers. They suggested using YouTube videos and even researching some of the history of the dances as a talking point during the lessons. As a teacher, especially in a school with such a rich first nations population, it is important for myself (and any educator really) to fully educate myself on the many styles and stories that accompany first nations dance. This entry is a little all over the place and probably appears to lack some focus, but I think each site can be focused to the one area of streamlining aboriginal dance in schools.  I have expanded my research to the following.


  1. Raven Spirit Dance 

This particular group of people provide workshops and education in Vancouver and surrounding areas on different forms of aboriginal dance forms. Mainly they appear to focus on contemporary dance and storytelling through said dance. Along with the excellent images on the website, this group would be an excellent starting point to have students experience first nations dances, along with the storytelling aspect.

  1.  Vancouver Sun Article 

This article not only delves into the history of aboriginal dance on the NorthWest coast of Canada, but it also discusses how the dance is done. Images and video from the festival itself would be a great visual for students, as it is very traditional in nature, as opposed to the contemporary dances in link above. There is excellent information on the history of the festival and would be a great resource for any teacher wanting to do a first nations dance unit. Not necessarily to use in class, but to educate ourselves before teaching something so rich in cultural history.


  1. Traditional Grass Dance 

Since the goal of this research is to put together a website for elementary teachers looking to incorporate aboriginal dance into their gym classes, it is important to provide examples. Not only for the teachers to view and study, but also for the students to get an idea of the traditions and story behind what they are learning. I have found that visual aids are much more effective, especially in the gym. Students need to see an example of the skill they are about to complete, not simply hear about it. The above video is not only beautiful, but short and sweet, perfect for the younger students with little attention span!


  1. Modern First Nations Dance Music 

Since most elementary teachers also have older students who tend to turn their noses up at something they feel “isn’t cool”, I thought this example would be a fantastic hook. This group mixes modern with traditional first nations dance music and comes up with a cool sound. Showing this to students at the beginning of the dance unit would maybe make them rethink their ideas about traditional first nations dance. I also thought this would be a great starting off point for creative dance unit, but using first nations moves and storytelling they have already learned. In the website I will be creating, this will be a part of one of the intermediate lessons on first nations dance.


  1. Best Practices for Teaching Aboriginal Students 

This actually came directly from my school district’s website, but I have linked it in a google doc. It is actually very informative and a great refresher to use before delving into a first nations dance unit. I will be including this in the website as a kind of, “Before you begin…” preparation type of section. This research has me thinking about the vast possibilities of the website I would like to create. I have begun to pare down and find some excellent resources I hope will help teachers feel more comfortable teaching first nations dance to students.

First Nations Dance Website for Teachers


The following video was inspirational to me at the beginning of this research journey. I actually came across this video after completing Module 1 Weblog post. This type of dancing was actually performed for a school I previously worked at, and I remember it being mesmerizing.


Hoop Dancing


My dilemma in this assignment was connecting this course to something relevant to my area of teaching; physical education. Not only do I teach PE, but I teach it at an elementary level so it is sometimes difficult to find activities all the students will be successful at. Having taken several dance courses during my kinesiology degree and through professional development activities, I thought this was a great place to start. I began looking for first nations dance resources online, I found many for the elementary classroom, but not specifically for dance.

I have always been passionate about physical education and most recently as a physical literacy mentor, teaching students fundamental movement skills in creative ways. I feel this is how I will touch upon the topics explored in this course, indigeneity, technology and education.

My idea for this project is to develop a resource specifically for teachers looking to use first nations dance to teach a variety of fundamental movement skills.  Over the years, I have found it difficult to find great PE resources that are also cross curricular and are laid out in a user friendly way. My hope is to create something that highlights first nations culture while exploring fundamental movement skills students require for lifelong health and wellness.


There are many resources, including the substantial article, In Our Own Words: Bringing Authentic First Peoples Content to the k-3 Classroom that can modified or tinkered with to apply to the physical education curriculum. Also several articles which link dance to health benefits, something I feel teachers will find useful when completing assessments.


Hooper, D., Hunt, J., & Smith, J. (2012). In Our Own Words: Bringing Authentic First Peoples Content to the k-3 Classroom. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from

Takeuchi, C. (2009, February 4). Cultural dances offer a world of benefits. Retrieved September 29, 2017, from

First Nations Dance in Physical Education-Module 1


I decided to focus my research on a subject I am very familiar with, physical education, and try to find connections with both first peoples, education (specifically PE) and also technology. After beginning my research I realize it is going to be difficult to tie all three of these topics together, however with some creative lessons I feel it can be done. I have spent the past 6 years in elementary schools and as a high school trained physical educator it is difficult to spark interest in the younger students, especially with subjects like dance. Yes, surprising, but unless they feel connected to the topic, they lose interest easily. I think this research will help me create lessons that not only tie students to the first peoples rich community I currently work in, but will help them learn how to express themselves in a new way. 


In Our Own Words-First Peoples Content k-3 Classroom

This is a website that links to a PDF containing lessons and resources on how to introduce the first peoples culture into the k-3 classroom. Since I currently teach k-5 PE I feel this is a valid resource. There are two units I felt could be integrated easily, with some creative lessons, into physical education; The Spirit of Celebration and The Power of Stories. Using these topics as a starting off point to a dance unit would be great.


Native Dance

This is an incredible website that contains video, lessons, and ideas about native dance across the country. This would be an excellent starting off point for students looking to create a dance to honour first people. It also has some great examples for them to view.


Cultural Dances Offer World Benefits

I took this resource mostly because it is from one of my favourite papers, but also because it has some great ideas on why cultural dance should be taught to youth. Not only is dance beneficial physically but it can help students feel more tied to their communities.


Statistics Canada

I teach at a school that has a very high population of first nations students and found this extremely interesting. It is from statistics Canada and gives some insight into the number of first nations youth who actually participate in cultural activities and extra curricular activities, which will provide some great points for my study on first nations dance in gym class.


Art and Styles of Pow Wow Dancing

This final website is mostly beneficial to me, as a physical educator, in that it breaks down the pow wow dance in detail. It gives some excellent examples of the elaborate costumes worn and could be used with students in the classroom. It also speaks to the importance of storytelling in the dance itself, something I feel will help students connect with the topic more.