Literacies on the Land

2017 - 2018

Welcome and thank you for joining this learning series for the 2017-18 school year!


We will meet six times over the year to explore what literacy might look like through different lenses. Paul Kelba and Heather Mckay will be your hosts for this series. Join us on Twitter using #cbeEarthPlay to share your 'Literacies on the Land' learning stories and to connect with our community.


All sessions will take place at YMCA Riveredge. Please plan to park in the Sandy Beach parking lot and walk up the hill to the camp entrance. There are two outdoor washrooms available onsite.


Please dress for the outdoors. Bring your journal and something to write with.

Final Session: April 24, 4:30 - 6:30 pm

"Exhaust the little moment. Soon it dies. And be it gash or gold it will not come again in this identical guise." (Gwendolyn Brooks)


"Meaningful learning happens on the edge" (Jon Cree)


4:30 - Welcome and Snack


4:40 - Personal Sit Spots


  • Sinking into our space
  • What is the ethos of Forest Play?


5:00 - Play Experience (DRESS for snow and mud!)

  • How do we layer in learning outcomes while staying true to the nature of play?


5:45 Closing Campfire

  • Collective Storytime
  • Planning for transfer... Where will Literacies on the Land live once we say good-bye?
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March 6, 4:30 - 6:30 pm

Environmental Inquiry is an overarching approach to Environmental Education that combines Inquiry-based learning, Experiential learning, Integrated Learning and Stewardship. There are many different structures and examples of this in K-12 classrooms. For this learning session we will take advantage of the awakening Earth and use our literacies to follow our own curiosities about the land and seasonal changes. Please dress for the weather, bring your journals, and come ready to follow your curiosities with our community.


Campfire Storytellers: Mary Roy, Jaime Hatchette, and Heather McKay

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January 9, 4:30 - 6:30 pm: Moving In and With the World


How can we critique the quality of experiential learning for our students?


Instrument we apply to guide instructional design of student experiences in four dimensions. figure 9.1 below


Beames, Simon, Brown, Mike. Adventurous Learning: A Pedagogy for a Changing World (p. 11). Taylor and Francis. Kindle Edition.

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Interpretative Design & The Dance Of Experience

Steve Van Matre's recent publication on 'experiencing' and creating an interpretative plan looks to the intangibles that make or break an experience.


25 elements of quality interpretative experiences:


Van Matre, Steve. Interpretative Design & The Dance Of Experience (p. 253). The Institute of Earth Education.

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November 21, 4:30 - 6:30 pm - Through a Mathematician's Eyes

For this session, we will begin with enjoying Bannock around the campfire, move into exploring our space through mathematician's eyes and end with campfire stories. Please bring your journal, something to write with, and dress warm!


Campfire Storytellers:

Tracy Rand, Sandy McNeil , & Rakhee Vijairaghavan - CBE Math Specialists

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October 24, 4:30 - 6:30 pm - 'Reading and Writing the World'

Campfire Storytellers:

Mairi McDermott and Jennifer MacDonald, Werklund School of Education


What does it mean to read the world? What does Thomas King’s (2000) mean when he reminds us that the truth about stories is that is all we are? What stories about place and the human / non-human relations in that place are familiar to us? What other stories are unrecognized and unrecognizable? How do different encounters with place call upon alternative stories and open possibilities for literacy, for becoming active in the reading and writing of the place-stories? What do we do with the stories that emerge as we relate in particular ways with place and what do the stories do to us? As you can see, the questions can continue.


In this event, Mairi McDermott and Jennifer MacDonald will play with these questions as we collectively take notice of the place we are at and the times we are in. Critical literacy asks us to question the taken-for-granted way-things-are, with specific attention to inequitable global and local power relations. Through reading the world together, we attend to place, how we (again, human and non-human) got here and importantly, how we dare to become different together.

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Want to learn more?

We've gathered a collection of resources for you to consider.


Freire and Macedo offer : Reading the Word and the World.


We would also like to offer the following links as possibilities when thinking about "making space and place the object of study [to] afford opportunities for shared experiences and collective learning" (Comber, 2016, p.16).

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BrTEuYL1Y84

September 12, 4:30 - 6:30 Relationships with Place

Campfire Storytellers:

CBE teachers Liisha Hinder and Robin Phillips


Liisha has worked with the CBE for 10 years. Robin joined the CBE 2 years ago after working 8 years with the Toronto District School board. They both currently teach at Guy Weadick school and are committed to inquiry, equity and fostering relationships between students and the natural world. In the spring of 2017, Liisha and Robin piloted Forest Play at Riveredge Park with students ranging from grades 1-4.


Storytime will be followed by an interactive knowledge building session that will invite you to put on your learner's hat and come to know the YMCA Riveredge space in a deeper way. All activities will focus on multiple literacies that can be used with any grade, in any place.

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Want to learn more?

We've gathered a collection of resources we thought you might enjoy: Place-based Learning. If you have a gem we have missed, please let us know.

Mountain River School collaborates with Teton Science Schools