The lesson plan on the Exploration of Medicinal Plants (http://ankn.uaf.edu/Curriculum/Units/medplants.html) found on the Alaska Native Knowledge Network site integrates Indigenous knowledge with Science curriculum outcomes, giving students experience learning first hand about where and how medicinal plants are used.
At the International School I worked at in Singapore, I had the opportunity to be involved in our Open Minds program which was based on experiential learning outside of the classroom. Holistic connections were made with our natural environment and with examining issues through different perspectives. For example, when I taught Grade 2, one of the sites we visited was the Eco Garden at the Singapore Science Centre. (http://www.science.edu.sg/exhibitions/Pages/ecogarden.aspx) where we examined the different uses of medicinal plants.
The next step for this program would be to add in connections to Indigenous cultures, for example working with elders who have knowledge of the local plants and their uses. It is also very important to ensure students learn about Indigenous communities connections to the the land and environmental sustainability.
This article on Ed-Tech Review provides more excellent insight into how to deploy modern technology for the purposes of the most ancient form of learning: experiential learning. As discussed in an earlier post, experiential learning is a key component in the Indigenous educational model, this information will be vital in providing educators with practical techniques to blend modern technologies with ancient indigenous educational practices. This article focuses on some unique strategies however such as sensory input technology, and asset creation.
This resource offered via the Gwenna Moss Institute through the University of Saskatchewan offers insight into technology being developed for the purposes of experiential learning. As experiential learning is a key component in the Indigenous educational model, this information will be vital in providing educators with practical techniques to blend modern technologies with ancient indigenous educational practices.
Many of the discussions in Module 3 have focused on the importance for students to learn about and through Indigenous pedagogical beliefs. It is exciting to hear about the research being done and the collaborative planning between researchers, educators, elders and other community members. Culturally responsive education and allowing students different ways to share their learning needs to take place not just in the Elementary years but continue through high school and university through the First Nations values of respect, relevance, reciprocity, and responsibility. One example that I just read about in my nephew’s Queen’s Faculty of Education Convocation Program is the Aboriginal Blanket Ceremony, a tradition established of presenting Aboriginal graduates with The Creation Turtle Pendleton Blanket in recognition of the barriers and challenges faced at post secondary institutions and to acknowledge their potential in being role models for the Aboriginal youth of their communities.
Here are some resources as a starting point to use in elementary classrooms in the development of a culturally responsive curriculum through a transdisciplinary approach across subject areas.
Aboriginal Head Start Association of BC- http://www.ahsabc.com/index.php/resources/other-resources
This website- http://www.ahsabc.com/images/other_resources/aboriginal-childrens-books_janhare.pdf includes a link to is an extensive list of books for and about young Aboriginal children. This list was compiled by Dr. Jan Hare PhD, Associate Professor of Indigenous Education in the Department of Language and Literacy Education (UBC). Canadian First Nations, Métis and Inuit cultures are represented. Early literacy and numeracy titles are also listed.
Dr. Marker suggested the Alaska Native Knowledge Network as a valuable place to find educational resources. Here are some links from their website (http://www.ankn.uaf.edu/)
Guidelines for Respecting Cultural Knowledge http://ankn.uaf.edu/publications/knowledge.html
Culturally Responsive Units/Lessons http://ankn.uaf.edu/Curriculum/Units/
Online Resources- http://ankn.uaf.edu/curriculum/resources.html
Handbook for Culturally Responsive Science Curriculum http://ankn.uaf.edu/publications/handbook/index.html
First Nations of Canada– http://ankn.uaf.edu/IEW/firstnat.html