Emily Longworth Award

The Emily Longworth Memorial Award provides financial support to Faculty of Education students at SFU who are in elementary practicum placements in their Professional Program.

The purpose of the Award is to help fund curriculum enrichment and/or extracurricular activities for children that promote positive social change, such as multicultural understanding, healthy lifestyles, environmental awareness, and inspiration to achieve their full potential in life.

2016 RECIPIENT STORIES

David Lee

Thanks to the Emily Longworth Memorial Award, my class of Grade 3 students from Garden City Elementary School had the opportunity to participate in an outdoor educational experience at the Cheakamus Centre in Brackendale, BC.  To get there, the students endured a long 2 hour bus trip that had its fair share of “Are we there yet”’s. The long drive, however, created much excitement, anticipation, and wonder as to where we were headed and to what we were going to be doing, learning and experiencing.

Upon arrival, students were split up into 2 groups and their day was divided into 3 different parts: Wilderness Survival, Bird and Wildlife study and lunch in between.  In the Wilderness Survival activity, students were first introduced to some of the essentials required when heading out into more isolated wooded areas.  Some of these things included a fire starter, rope, a compass, water, and a knife.  Students also learned about the Four 3s: 3 minutes without air, 3 hours without shelter, 3 days without water and 3 weeks without food.  Students then took part in making their own shelters.  With only some rope, tarps, loose foliage and sticks, the students built different shelters that would help protect them from many of nature’s elements. 

In the Bird and Wildlife study, students had the opportunity to discover the many wildlife species that inhabited the area.  They started by looking at the different types of scat and footprints that the Cheakamus centre had created molds of.  Looking at their specific characteristics, students collaborated to match the scat to the footprints.  After, we then had the opportunity to look at a variety of birds that had been preserved through taxidermy.  Students were tasked with determining the type, age, and sex of the birds depending on their size, coloration and other characteristics.  Lastly, we went out to the pathways along the river and did some bird-watching with binoculars. 

Between these two activities, we had our lunch.  What the Cheakamus Centre likes to do at lunch is track the amount of food waste that we created.  When we had finished eating, we organized the used cutlery into their respective places and put all the food waste into a bin.  We could see how much food we didn’t eat which would then go to the animals who lived on the farm. 

Each of these activities had an objective, or big idea, in mind: They were meant to promote the importance of connecting with the environment all around us, to show how BC’s curriculum can be taught and experienced in different forms outside the classroom, and to build environmental responsibility as to how we interact with the world around us.  In the classroom, the students learned about biodiversity and being socially and environmentally responsible but they did not fully understand it.  Through directly interacting with the physical environment and sharing this experience with fellow classmates, students were able to connect with their learning experiences at a deeper level helping them understand the material that was taught in class.  They learned how to build a shelter by actually searching through the woods to find resources.  They learned about birds and wildlife by examining physical representations of the animals and seeing them interact in their natural environment.  And finally, they were able to partake in a shared experience outside of the classroom that not only engaged them through their mind, but through their bodies.  

Tahnee Pierson-Roberts

I would like to begin this report by thanking the Longworth family for presenting me with this award. The money allowed my class of grade 1/students from Garden City Elementary to experience what it is like to be on a working farm and to better understand where our food comes from. The field trip I proposed was two parts: a trip to UBC Farmwonders and a trip to the Ecodairy Farm.

The first day was spent at the UBC Farmwonders program, where Farmer Melanie met us and started our tour of the farm. We had the opportunity to check out many different areas of the farm, starting with the orchard. The students got to learn about how far apples travel to get the stores and how the UBC farm services the area it’s located in with fresh fruitand vegetables. The students then got to see the beehives that are on the farm, and learned about the characteristics of bees and their importance in agriculture. Farmer Melanie then took us to the chickens. The students got the opportunity to go into the chicken pen, where the very friendly chickens gathered around them and pecked at their legs and feet. The students found this hilarious and were so excited to be so close to the chickens.

After the chickens the students were given a lesson on composting. They were given different buckets of compost at various stages of the process. The students were asked to observe the differences between the stages and were given a very in depth look at how composting works. The final part of the day was many of the students’ favourite part, as the students were taken on a walk through the forest they have on the property. This was an amazing opportunity for the students, as there was no real path to follow, meaning that the students were walking over, under, and through logs and branches. They loved this and I loved watching them experience nature in such a holistic way.

Many of the students had never been able to go and hike before, so this was the closest they had come to hiking through a forest. Being at the UBC farm allowed the students to understand where food comes from by actually experiencing it firsthand. Being able to give the students the opportunity to explore a working farm has been an amazing experience, and I feel that it is not one they are going to forget anytime soon. By having the chance to touch the fruit trees, be pecked by the chickens, run their hands through the compost, and walk over logs in the forest, the students were able to begin to understand the complex process that goes into the food they eat. They no longer believe that food comes from a store, and have now seen where it is grown and produced.

The second day of the fieldtrip involved a trip to the Ecodairy farm in Abbottsford. This was an amazing farm that taught the students about milk production. The students were given the opportunity to walk through the barn, where the cows are kept. They were able to see the cows up close, and even had the opportunity to touch them. As we walked into the barn, one of my students looked at me with a look of astonishment on his face and said “I’ve never seen a cow before!”. This comment made the whole fieldtrip worthwhile.

The students spent a lot of time just observing the cows as they ate, drank, and scratched themselves on their scratching brush. The students were then taken into a viewing room, where they had the chance to watch the robotic milking machine, Robbie, in action. The students spent over 20 minutes watching the cows take themselves into the milking machine and have Robbie attach his arms to the cow’s udder. They were amazed. After the milking machine, the students watched a movie about the trip the milk takes from the farm to the table, and they were given a really in depth view of how the milk they drink gets to their house. The tour ended with time in the discover center, where the students had the chance to experience hands-on activities related to cows and their lifestyle. They were able to lay on the beds that the cows use, had the chance to milk a replica cow, had to play games that had them matching sounds and smells to animals, and even got to crawl “inside” a cow’s stomach. This was anamazing opportunity for the students, and they learned so much about cows and milk production through these activities. Before lunch, the students went up to an area where there were more games and activities related to cows and their lives.

The Ecodairy farm gave the students a chance to see that their food doesn’t always come from a far away place, and that there are animals and farms that provide food close to where they live. The students had the opportunity to be up close with the cows and to see and smell where they live. By watching the milking process, it gave the students a better understanding of how milk is produced, and the video helped them to understand how it got to their tables.

The Emily Longworth Memorial Award gave my class of grade 1/2 students a better understanding of how food is produced and what the process is behind getting that food onto our tables. This was the first time many of the students had had the opportunity to experience a real working farm, and to be so close to farm animals. They also got to spend some time outside and with their hands in the dirt, really allowing them to experience the world around them.

Without this award, my class would never have had the opportunity to learn about their food in such a hands-on, real way. I would like to thank the Longworth family for giving my students a chance to really experience their food, and to understand that food doesn’t come from the store

Nancy Lloyd 

As a student teacher enrolled in the French Immersion Education module at Simon Fraser University, I passionately worked to create moments of learning that extended outside of the classroom. I believe opportunities of learning by student led curiosity and fascination about the natural world are integral to the lifelong learning of my students.

As such, Artspace, a children's visual arts centre located on East Hastings street, provided an opportunity for my students to discover life outside of the classroom and school community settings. Complementing the Grade 3 curriculum, Artspace served not only as a conduit of curiosity but also as a tangible link between the Grade 3 curricular competencies and student awareness of the natural world. Through both visual art and dramatic art workshops, based on the theme "Animals and Their Habitats," students extended their knowledge of biodiversity in British Columbia, a Curricular Big Idea we explored during my practicum and students' Learning in Depth projects. Inspired by the great Grizzly Bear, students created a personal work of art using various artistic techniques , such as layering and sponging. Students also learned how to use different materials such as pastels and stencils. Similarly, in the dramatic art workshops students continued their exploration of ecosystems, a concept discovered in the classroom, by engaging with dramatic techniques such as improvisation, role-playing, and still frame/freezing . Both workshops at Artspace, celebrated the uniqueness and individuality of each student. From creating works of art using the same stencils and tools as everyone else to role-playing the same characters, no two students' creations and interpretations were alike.

As such, not only did students come away from these workshops more excited and interested in the subject of biodiversity and British Columbia's ecosystems, they came away with a deepened understanding and appreciation of individuality. By engaging with the knowledge learned in the classroom throughout the entirety of the workshops, my students came away feeling both proud to share their learning with others and proud of their uniqueness.

Kayla Langton

It was a great honour to receive the Emily Longworth award. It allowed for capacity-building and curriculum enrichment to take place in my practicum classroom. Many of my students had challenges with reading and writing. They also had little exposure to current events. The task of addressing Global Issues as a social studies unit felt daunting at first. With these funds, I was able to create a project that every single student was engaged in and learned something meaningful from without being overcomplicated. With the use of technology, students created children’s non-fiction books about education from around the world. The students created images and narratives based on their research throughout the unit. Some students worked individually and others worked in groups.

Once the books were complete, they were ordered in hard copy. Each student will have a copy of their own published work and the Montgomery Middle School library will also get a copy of each of the books as well. These books can inspire other students to do a similar project or serve as examples of non-Eurocentric literacy. Through this inquiry-based assignment, the students have explored questions such as “What is normal?”  “How do others’ get to school?” “What do others’ learn?” and “What makes us unique?” Students were encouraged to use names common in their region of research and were asked to create characters that looked like children that would live there as well. It was also a lesson in compassion because my students soon discovered how dangerous it is for many children around the world to get to school and the lack of supplies they have in their classrooms. First Nations education was also explored by some of the students. This project was immensely meaningful. The students feel a grand sense of pride in what they have created and shared with their school community. 

Ana Karen Ramirez 

I would like to begin by expressing my most sincere gratitude to the Emily Longworth Foundation. Their generosity provided 81 students from Maywood Community School –a designated inner-city school— with an opportunity to broaden their horizons, to feel more connected to the natural beauty of our province, and to witness the magnificence of our First Peoples in addition to many different cultures around the world. Thank you.

The funding provided by the Emily Longworth Award fully funded a field trip to the UBC Museum of Anthropology for my grade 2/3 classroom, as well as three other classrooms at Maywood Community School (two other grade 2/3, and a grade 3/4). Although in my initial application I had proposed to participate in two of the programs the museum offers to elementary schools (“Kwakwaka’wakw Potlach” and “Cedar: The Tree of Life”), due to difficulties in the booking of buses and the museum programs, we modified and adjusted the plans. With the same budget, we completed a self-guided visit to the museum that included activities tailored to the interests of our students.

At the museum, each student got an activity booklet that my School Associate and I designed. Each group followed different paths around the museum, and the self-guided nature of our visit allowed students to explore the exhibitions at their own pace, providing them with time to ask questions and discuss with their peers what they observed.

I believe this visit to the UBC Museum of Anthropology was a successful experience that helped enrich both students’ learning and my teaching practice. First, the diversity of my classroom (17 out of 19 students are ELLs) and of our school benefitted from the exposure to different cultures presented in the MOA exhibitions. With the large number of recent immigrants and refugees in our classrooms, the diversity of artifacts presented in the “Multiversity Galleries: Ways of Knowing” highlighted the importance of cultural identity and acceptance, encouraging them to embrace their own heritage. During the visit, I had the opportunity to observe students enthusiastically point to objects related to their cultural backgrounds: Indian, Chinese, Japanese, Persian, Mexican… there, students shared with their peers their sense of pride. Moreover, this trip gave students a chance to recognize similarities between cultures, as well as to see the uniqueness of each one. For example, at the museum one of the students in my classroom shared that “every culture has something beautiful” (D., grade 3). During the lunch break students share their experiences, excitingly talking about Fijian wedding dresses, Taiwanese dolls and Haida Canoes. I realized through their discussion that they all recognized the beauty of multiculturalism.

Jasmine Wing

It was a rainy morning when General Brock’s Intensive French 6 class made their trip out to release the chum fry at Spanish Banks. The bus came to pick up the class and they made their way to Kitsilano!  Once the class arrived at Spanish Banks, they were divided into four different groups, each led by a volunteer adult, and one by Mme.Mountali. In the attached documents, all station worksheets and information is provided. Here is a quick summary of each station that the students were able to participate in. Each station was 20 minutes. 

The students had a lot of fun and now were ready to head back on the bus and head to the Museum of Anthropology. Once the class arrived at the museum, they quickly ate their lunch and tried to dry off as fast as they could. They were met by our tour guides Sue and Jordan. The class split into two groups, each receiving their own guided tour. Students learned about how museums worked, and the process of acquiring and preserving artifacts. The two guides informed the group about a variety of artifacts including Musqueam blankets, Chilkat Weavings, canoes, and carvings. The guides discussed the different ways that each First Nations group expressed their traditions. It was a very long day for the class, and some students even slept on the bus ride home!

To prepare the students for the field trip in April, our class rented a teaching kit “Ancestors Are Still Dancing” from the Museum of Anthropology. The kit was divided into four parts: the weaving process, weaving materials, photos, and quotes. Students were able to interact with the parts of the kit, and each were given a student-inquiry handout. Students would write down what they found most interesting, and record their observations. Below are some pictures and excerpts from the handout. 

Why do you think the teaching kit is called My Ancestors Are Still Dancing?

“To show that the culture is still alive.”- IF 6 student
“A lot of the designs came directly from the land.” It resonates with me because I didn’t know some of the designs came directly from the land, all all the designs are so pretty." -IF 6 student

2015 RECIPIENT STORIES

Connor Finucane

My class was multicultural as only three students were born in Canada. Throughout the year, the students investigated their own ethnic backgrounds and compared these to the indigenous people of Canada. I noticed that they began to make deep connections to their own familial and cultural histories and turned these connections into defining their own Canadian identities, and how their backgrounds affect the way they exist in a Canadian context. After observing this, I wanted to find local artists who had created a niche for themselves by using cultural artifacts that traditionally exist outside of a Canadian context.

With support from the Emily Longworth grant, I brought in two local artists, Nick Laba and Rhup Sidhu, as guest speakers to guide the discovery of their own identities.

Through music and poetry the children explored concepts of cultural identity, inclusivity, and what it means to be Canadians. Through these experiences, they developed confidence in their own interests and found new entry points into self-expression and connecting to their own culture in a Canadian context.

Nick Laba is a djembe (a traditional African instrument) artist, however, he is not from Africa; he is a third generation Canadian. This discovery was enlightening in the way that a Canadian was able to find his own connection to a foreign instrument. The students in my class were shocked to see that he was Caucasian and deeply Canadian. This was a great entry point to talk about assumptions and how they can be harmful.

Before Nick came to the class, he asked us to choose three contemporary songs to teach us.This gave students agency in the lesson and generated excitement. When he entered the classroom he immediately caught the attention of the class with an incredible drum solo. The kids were in awe of him and his talents. He gave us cultural background on the djembe and how he discovered the instrument.  My students asked questions about the instrument and his cultural connection to it and also shared their own cultural instruments and what they mean to their culture. Nick then taught the class the various songs they chose, engaging students in a collaborative sense and a musical sense. They were fascinated with the lesson as they were playing a Maroon 5 song! The djembe seemed very foreign to them at the beginning of the lesson and by the end, they wanted to find more songs to play.

The next day students came to class and wanted to talk about the lesson. I was pleased to see that students were making the cultural connections I had hoped for and many told me that they asked their parents about instruments from their own cultures and interested in playing the djembe themselves.

The most exciting part of the discussion for me was the conversation that happened around the question: What is it to be Canadian? I was pleased to see the students referencing the lesson and engaging in a debate of how that instrument can connect to a Canadian context, and how Nick found his own “Canadianess” in the djembe.

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Poetry is a beautiful way to allow students to express themselves and find a voice in language. The ambiguity of poetry allows for critical thinking and autonomy over one’s own learning. Still, the students found poetry to be relatively abstract and did not rank it as high of a literary mode as novels, papers and most other narrative writing. When I began unit planning for my grade six language arts class, I knew I wanted a working poet to speak to my class. Rhup Sidhu, spoken word poet, rapper and social activist, was the other artist to visit the class.

With Rhup, students found their own points to poetry and discovered a voice within the literary mode. They made big leaps in independent thinking and creativity.

Rhup’s enormous personality captured the students’ attention immediately. He began by speaking about his background and how he came to be a poet and rapper, and how he earns a living by doing what he loves. He opened the poetry lesson by performing one of his pieces and had  students find the various poetic tools in the rap. He combined the students’ ideas into a collaborative beat and rapped it for them. Then, he had students free write poetry and discussed how this may be the most important part of the creative process as it allows one to write and access their thoughts and feelings, unfiltered and uncensored.

Rhup helped them disconnect from assessment and overthinking their own writing. The students became excited at discovering the power of their own unconscious thoughts.and wanted to share their writing with each other. I had never seen so many hands up as I did during this lesson. Rhup empowered the students through poetry and self-expression and his presence in the class lasted until I left the classroom.

I created a ‘free write’ period after lunch each day for the rest of my practicum. Students wrote poetry for a short time without regulation, then I gave them opportunities to share their pieces.

The grant allowed me to engage students in a deeper way, culturally and emotionally. They connected to themselves, and found new ways to express their discoveries. They also found a cultural voice and a new relationship to their ethnic background and their Canadian identity. I could not be more grateful for the generous grant and the students in my class will forever be in debt for these experiences.

Joanna Lane, Tamara Polos and Bria Sallaway

We, Joanna, Tamara, and Bria, completed identity projects within our classrooms and the final product, and the use of this grant, was large portrait style photos of each of the students in our classes up on the classroom walls. Under each student’s photo was a short sentence or paragraph written by the student explaining what he or she felt they personally brought or contributed to their class community. The process through which each class arrived at this final project varied slightly but included discussions of identity, storytelling and sharing activities, and individual writing activities.

The learning that was achieved through this project is immeasurable and endless. Conversations about identity are relevant at all ages, as demonstrated by our project application with students in grades two to four, and created opportunities for students to think about their interests, relationships, and roles within and beyond their community.

Students in our classes were asked not to define themselves or others, but to recognize identity as something that is shaped by experiences and desires. After storytelling activities and discussions held within our classrooms, students were able to determine something about themselves that they liked, and that they felt contributed positively to the classroom.

These attributes, along with their large portraits, were displayed in the classrooms as a reminder that they are contributing members of a supportive community. The conversations around the portraits were positive, and the students were excited to see themselves represented within their school. Parents were also happy to see this finished project. Each student’s portrait was sent home with him or her at the end of the school year.

We are so grateful to have received this grant that enabled us to complete an inclusive and community building project during our practicums.

Yeelen Merhi

In order for me to demonstrate how the funding has helped enrich both student learning and my teaching, I must first provide you with details of my classroom setting. I worked in a combined grade three and four classroom of twenty-four students, with eighteen English Language Learners (ELL) students. With the large number of ELL students, I believe that providing them with hands on work and activities gives them a chance to benefit from language through socialization.  The Reggio Emilia educational approach is practiced in this classroom and this approach places an emphasis on play, the use of a hundred languages for students to express their learning, and places the student at the center of decision-making (inquiry based). In my initial application, I proposed creating a mission to Mars. This initial inquiry sparked different interests in my students and due to your generosity the students have now undertaken two more inquiry projects – “smart birds,” specifically crows; and sea creatures (vertebrates and invertebrates).

Mission to Mars

Creating a mission to Mars was the initial inquiry that the students had at the beginning of my practicum. The students saw an artificial environment as being integral to the colonization of Mars as food would have to be grown in order to sustain a human population. It was your generosity that allowed the students to plant and take care of kale, as well as build their own artificial environments to house the plants. The planting of their own food helped the students understand maintaining a healthy lifestyle.

I also ran a play-debrief-replay lesson that looked at different plants that may be suitable to take with us to Mars to help with the colonization process. The main plants observed were catci and I chose such plants because they are durable and can be used for various reasons in space exploration. The student’s thoughts differed from mine and they decided that cacti would not be a good option to take to Mars. In the end, many students ended up creating environments that were beyond what I had thought to I could create. Their creativity and energy soared with the opportunity to construct something of their own device.

“Smart Birds”

The financial support  also gave me the chance to take the students to Bloedel Conservatory, a real life artificial environment.  The children’s understanding of what it takes to maintain and sustain a geo-dome was enriched by this experience. They were taken away by beauty and what it had to offer as an artificial environment. The students spent hours documenting what they observed and one of the things that stood out to them were the “talking” birds. This experience allowed for the class to delve into the next inquiry, revolving around “smart birds.” The class chose to study crows, which are a part of our local habitat.

We spent the next few weeks reading all about crows and exploring Aboriginal and Asian legends and Greek myths surrounding these animals. We also researched crows and went on crow observation walks with the students that resulted in beautiful work.

Sea Creatures – vertebrates and invertebrates

When the students studied the types of foods crows ate, they became interested in invertebrates (mussels). This led to the third inquiry project: sea creatures. To spark a deeper interest, my school associate and I hosted a lesson that included six different stations of different dried up invertebrates and vertebrates (one station had a dried hammer head shark).

Students were excited about the topic so we visited the Vancouver Aquarium. The field trip was an outstanding experience for the children and to ensure they were truly exploring and observing vertebrates and invertebrates, I created a journal that they completed during the visit. Students were asked to draw an image of an animal they observed and document at least three behaviours of it.  This helped them develop scientific observation skills. We had the opportunity to visit a fur seal and sea lions “backstage” and it was fascinating for us to see the animals close up.  The learning experience from this trip was further extended as students then created videos on the subject.  These students will be continuing to study sea creatures for the reminder of the school year.

Thank you so much for your support. You have truly helped in creating an enriched semester for my students. I am truly grateful for your generosity as I would have been unable to provide a learning environment that helped give rise to am emergent curriculum in my classroom.

 

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