Story & Photos by Sarah McLeod
Glenlyon Norfolk Junior School Teacher-Librarian
Having participated in Heritage Inquiry projects with grade 4 and 5 students over the past three years I have found Heritage Inquiry an invaluable process that has benefited students’ learning enormously.
I wanted to see more students and teachers in Victoria enjoy what has been a really meaningful teaching and learning process. Involving the design cycle, inquiry, accessing, evaluating and researching using a variety of sources of information, and citing sources, the projects fit in beautifully with inquiry and project based learning.
I approached the Royal British Columbia Museum (RBCM) Learning
Team, Chris O’Connor, Liz Crocker, Amina Chergui and Kim Gough, and we organized a ‘Heritage Inquiry Toolkit’ for students and teachers. The goal of the Toolkit idea was to give students and educators the tools they needed to get started on Heritage Inquiry projects and ultimately participate in our South Vancouver Island Regional Heritage Fair in May.
We decided to dedicate the Toolkits to May Crompton, a teacher-librarian from Dunsmuir Middle School, who passed away in the fall from injuries sustained in a bike accident. May was a major advocate for Heritage Inquiry and Heritage Fairs in our community.
This January 17 and 19, 360 grades four to seven students from independent and public schools participated in the Heritage Inquiry Toolkit sessions at the Royal BC Museum. Ten teachers participated in a one-hour overview of Heritage Inquiry
in a Teacher Toolkit session on the 18th.
Sponsorship was received from Russell Books, The Hallmark Heritage Society and anonymous donors so that the sessions were provided at no cost to the schools.
During the sessions, participants worked their way through four stations presented by the RBCM Education Team. GVPL librarian Matthew Bingham and Kerry Ward from Saanich Archives also lent their expertise. The station topics were “What Is Heritage and Identifying Heritage Values,” “The Importance of Story,” “Design Impact: Looking Good,” and “Sources and Resources: Know Your Stuff.”
The Toolkits were a great success and students and teachers were made aware of the wonderful array of primary and secondary resources available to them for their heritage research. They also learned about what heritage is and heritage values, the importance of story, and using the design cycle in the research process.
Now that they have the basics down, the students are ready to embark on their own projects.
They’ll use their new-found knowledge that they learned from the Heritage Inquiry Toolkit and Museum Learning Team to explore, question and research their topics.
The students and teachers made connections with others in their community and can use these connections to support their learning and celebrate the end results. A thank you to the RBCM Education Team for giving the students and teachers a wonderful head start on their projects!