Spring Fling 2011 Review - Jennifer Briere
On Saturday, March 26, 2011, a group of teachers from around the province of Saskatchewan ORFF Chapter’s “Spring Fling”. There were two phenomenal workshops this year that focused on teaching Aboriginal content in a fun and engaging way through the arts: “Raise Up Your Hearts” Métis Jigging and Making and Playing Northern Sprit Flutes.
The morning presentation by Regina teachers; Marilyn Dyck and Betty Knappin, offered rich cultural history of the Métis People of Canada, jigging and jigging music. The workshop was full of energy and excitement as teachers learned basic steps of many Métis jigs.
In the afternoon, Richard Dube, a Saskatoon teacher, lead a wonderful project called “Making and Playing Northern Spirit Flutes”. Richard’s workshop demonstrated excellent ways of getting middle year’s students interested and engaged in learning about music and playing an instrument. All too often we find ourselves teaching our students the same songs and in the same way, but this workshop was a fresh, meaningful and hands-on way for students as well as other teachers to learn about the significance of Aboriginal flutes through oral stories. By watching Songkeepers – a DVD documentary on Native Flute Oral stories, and having the hands-on experience of drilling holes in the flutes the teachers became the students. The hands on activities that followed were both engaging and thought provoking for the teachers. Being able to build and try out the Northern Spirit Flutes helped make the learning process much more clear and understandable.
This year’s Spring Fling was very inspiring. It allowed teachers to take home lots of fantastic ideas and resources that could be used immediately in the classroom with students. Both workshops offered a great professional development opportunity and were thoroughly enjoyed by all who attended.
Spring Fling 2011 Review - by Kathleen Berg
In late March the Saskatchewan ORFF chapter offered yet another phenomenal workshop to arts educators. If there were any thoughts of sitting and relaxing on this Saturday morning, you knew as soon as Marilyn Dyck and Betty Knapp stood up to introduce the morning session that you wouldn’t be. These two Regina based teachers led participants through an energizing and enlightening morning of Métis jigging and cultural history behind Métis music and dance.
After two hours of ‘resting steps’, the group was guided through making a step by step process to make a personal Northern Spirit Flute. It was an honour to build this project with Saskatoon teacher, Richard Dube, leading the way as he has clearly spent a lot of time fine-tuning the flute and immersing himself in the rich history of the First Nations culture. Rich has also made this highly engaging project available to teachers in a readymade kit for an affordable cost, as well as, an edited DVD version of Songkeepers 2010-a saga of five Native Americans told through the sound of the flute.
In all, this year’s Spring Fling was another great opportunity for professional development by local teachers in art fields. It was an educational and hands-on way to learn about additional activities with a high level of First Nation and Métis content.