Tag Archives: best practices

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.

Module 2 Weblog- Erin Howard

In this module’s weblog, I begin to dig deeper for sites that can inform post secondary institutions and educators on how to infuse Indigenous perspectives into their curriculum through best practices and quality resources.

University of Lethbridge FNMI Curriculum Database


I stumbled upon this incredibly comprehensive database of over 1100 FNMI resources for educators. This resource has been curated by educators at the University of Lethbridge and is dedicated to Johnel Tailfeathers, an educator at the U of L and founder of the database. The database was designed for education students and teachers for the purpose of incorporating Indigenous content into their classrooms. The resource spans content areas as well as grade levels and is searchable by many fields. Resources are hyperlinked where available. It is linked off the U of L FNMI Curriculum page found here: http://www.uleth.ca/education/resources/fnmi-collection


Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada: Calls to Action


This document has many implications to post-secondary education. It calls for changes to programming and curriculum to provide Indigenous perspectives, protect language, and eliminate inequalities in order to begin the reconciliation after the residential school crisis. Although many of the calls to action are targeted at government, I believe that it is our job as educators to take a proactive approach to meeting these requests and allowing this to inform our practices.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network: Culturally-Based Curriculum Resources


This is another database of curriculum resources. It is from Alaska and includes resources for educators that encompass Indigenous perspectives. Some of these resources are place-based, although many would be useful to any educator. The site notes that it includes a “balanced, comprehensive and culturally-aligned curriculum framework adaptable to local circumstances”. What really caught my eye is that these resources are categorized according to an interactive theme-based curriculum spiral which is used to search. This framework challenges educators to consider not only what they are using as resources, but what values the resources may correspond to.

Ontario Institute for Studies in Education. Deepening Knowledge: Resources for and About Aboriginal Education


University of Toronto’s “Deepening Knowledge Project” aims to incorporate Indigenous perspectives, histories, and knowledge into Canadian education. This site includes a large database for educators, student resources, and community-based resources. I was interested in the Teacher Resources page which had a huge list of up-to-date and relevant resources such as videos, readings, and lesson plans. What also caught attention was the section on First Nation Representation in the Media which examines how Indigenous are portrayed in media and includes quality media produced and written by Indigenous artist. This site is very applicable to this class and could be used as a resource for our final projects.


Aboriginal Post Secondary Education and Training Policy Framework and Action Plan 2020:  Vision for the Future


I couldn’t find a publish date on this particular document but it is still very applicable to my class project as it has a framework and list of recommendations for post-secondary educators with clearly identified targets and milestones through to the year 2020. On pages 12 and 13 are a list of principles and a framework that inform five main goals. These are further broken down into actionable steps and targets for the province. Although this resource is slightly dated, I feel that the principles and goals give a good foundation for post-secondary institutions and educators to consider when envisioning the future.


Going Local

I am making this post in the order that I found these resources as I feel it illustrates my research path. I’m getting warmer.

Cherubini, L. (2014). Aboriginal Student Engagement and Achievement: Educational Practices and Cultural Sustainability. Vancouver: UBC Press.

This online book uses stories from the Aboriginal Student Program at an Ontario high school to illustrate the implementation of best practices and programming for aboriginal student engagement and achievement. The book describes the program derived in part from Ontario’s Ministry of Education and outlines the outcomes of the program with intent of others learning from their success. Access to the book requires UBC library login.


Henderson, R., Williams, K. & Crowshoe, L. (2015). Mini-med school for Aboriginal youth: experiential science outreach to tackle systemic barriers. Medical Education Online, 20.

I originally thought that this article might contribute to my final project. Upon reading it, I don’t think it applies to my goals, but is a fascinating summary of a program with admirable goals. The University of Calgary’s Cumming School of Medicine runs a mini-med school for indigenous junior and senior high students. The program supports the overarching goal of improving health care services for aboriginal people as well as addressing the under representation of aboriginal people in medical professions. I look forward to reading future reports on the success of this program. Available online at UBC library.

Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative. (n.d.). Promising Practices in Aboriginal Education. Retrieved from http://www.maei-ppw.ca/professional_development.html

This website composed by the non-profit group Martin Aboriginal Education Initiative is invaluable for practitioners. The site has reference documents on 80 issues relating to Aboriginal Education. The documents range from tip sheets to full reviews of implemented programs. I know that I will be accessing this site again.

Alberta Education. (2015). Guiding Voices: A curriculum development tool for inclusion of First Nation, Metis and Inuit perspectives throughout curriculum. Retrieved from http://www.learnalberta.ca/content/fnmigv/index.html

This resource will be a primary resource for my final assignment. It is a guide for curriculum developers in Alberta and a required toolkit for use by curriculum developers in Alberta. Curriculum developers are responsible for the Alberta Programs of Studies, which then guide course development. Ideally, the same principles and guidelines should follow from these guidelines.

Robb, M. (2005). Our words, our ways: teaching First Nation, Metis and Inuit learners. Retrieved from teachinghttps://education.alberta.ca/media/563982/our-words-our-ways.pdf

I have finally hit the jackpot on locally developed resources on Aboriginal Education. This document outlines the cultural background of Aboriginal groups in Alberta and touches on strategies for education. This resource was developed by teachers and elders in Alberta for teachers in Alberta. I can’t wait to dive in.