My Teaching Experience

I did my last Teaching Practicum at Onchaminahos School from February to April 2012.  As part of the students FREE WRITING daily exercises, they we given subjects to write about.  On April 11, 2012 they had to write about the following statement:

They each wrote about their thoughts on this statement & I took key words from their writing and created this Glogster as a Creative Expression of Them...


~ Original Post from Onchaminahos School Blog on April 26, 2012
April 22nd is EARTH DAY and on April 23, 2012 our Grade 5B Class wanted to do something to help Mother Earth.  Over a month ago on March 14th, 2012, our students went on a field trip to discover the importance of the Wetlands, as per the Science Alberta Program of Studies.  When the students went, they discovered there has been dumping of steel cans, garbage, and what looks like oil dumped on the frozen creek.  The students utilized the following resources from Ducks Unlimited Canada.

A sample of a tin can from one of the three large garbage piles

Wetlands Field trip on March 14, 2012
After much discussion with the students, they wanted to create awareness with the community and Chief and Council by asking them to be conscious of the environment and help them to keep our community clean and safe for all to enjoy.  They have done the following:
The students have their Red Wetland booklets to make

their Scientific Observations/Inquiry according to Indigenous Science
  1. Studied the value of  the wetlands on our survival and how all species (including humans), plants, and soils are interdependant and connected.
  2. Wrote letters to Chief and Council and the community
  3. Practiced keeping their classrooms clean and safe
  4. The students created a 3-D wetlands in their classroom to show the difference between a healthy wetland and a polluted wetlands 
  5. We contacted Saddle Lake Health Centre who got us in touch with Environmental Health Canada to assist our local Fire Department with addressing the toxic chemicals dumped in the wetlands area
  6. Participated in Earth Day with the Saddle Lake Family Enhancement Program by going back to the wetland area and cleaning up the garbage (they didn't get all but they did their best)  because there was three huge piles of dumped garbage near the creek close to a beaver dam (Ay-hay ~ thank you Saddle Lake Family Enhancement Program for feeding us after & inviting us to be part of the Townsite Clean Up).
  7. The students have made pledges to assist Mother Earth.
  8. Some students also have the choice to enter for the LICA Earth Day Writing Contest, Deadline is May 7, 2012.
  9. The class will be entering their 3-D Wetland display in this years Beaver River Watershed Alliance "Youth Calendar Contest" for the 2013 watershed calendar.  This contest is in association with LICA ~ Lakeland Industry & Community Association and Deadline is June 7, 2012.
Pile of Garbage we estimate to be over 20-30 years old

Wetlands Field trip on March 14, 2012
One of Three Piles of Garbage of steel cans, glass bottles etc.

One of many oil pumping locations along the creek

Wetlands Field trip on March 14, 2012

Another oil dump

Wetlands Field trip on March 14, 2012


As a citizen of Earth, I realize my actions are important to the survival of our planet.

I, Lita Cardinal of Saddle Lake Cree Nation  pledge to stop littering.

I, Jilleon Steinhauer of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to keep the community clean.

I, Ocean Cardinal of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to keep Mother Earth happy and safe.

I, Kiandra Crane of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pleadge to help Mother Earth by cleaning up more.

I, Nathaniel Buffalo of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to clean up everything.

I, Dayton Brown of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to clean up the community.

I, Andrew Jackson of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to recycle, respect earth, and clean up the earth.

I, Ethan Dion of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to pick up garbage all over.

I, Newo Steinhauer of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to clean the community.

I, Allyese Cardinal of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to never throw garbage on the ground and when I go home, I plan to pick up garbage on the ground.

I, Kiara Cardinal of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to clean up the townsite.

I, Shay Wood of Saddle Lake Cree Nation pledge to help clean the community and stop littering.


Monday, April 16, 2012

Dear Chief and Council and COMMUNITY;

Students returned to the Initial Field trip location to clean

up the best they could

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"When I went to the wetland, I saw oil spilled in the creek and I felt sad.  I would like the community to help Mother Earth by cleaning up the community and wetlands." ~ Sincerely Yours, Sheneen Cattleman-Brighteyes, 5B

"When me and my classmates went for a walk down to the wetlands, we saw oil and other garbage.  Oil was pouring into the lake.  What I'm just trying to say is stop pouring oil in the lake and stop polluting the wetlands.  Thank you for listening." :) ~ Chantal Crane

Doing their part for Earth Day

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"Me and my class went to the creek and me and my classmates were walking around and we saw rusty cans and trash and oil in the creek and they all had sad faces.  I saw oil down by the creek that oil could kill those furry beavers.  Animals in the wetlands are going to be extinct pretty soon if we don't do something about it." ~ Kimberly Favel

Some items dumped

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"Please do not pour oil and cans in the lake, this is a reserve, this is part of our home.  When I saw dumping in the lake, I got sad and did not like it at all.  What you're doing is polluting our reserve.  We should be taking care of it because that's what our Elders did.  They never did harm to the planet, we should do the same and don't pollute the world!" ~ Ocean Cardinal

Some of the different cans dumped, an old Spam can

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"I am very sad that I had to see all the trash, oil, and the pollution in the wetlands down at the creek.  We saw cans and rusty cans.  I saw oil in the slough near the beaver dam, I was sad, please stop putting oil in the water, it can pollute the air and kill the beavers.  We saw like three bagful of cans at the creek.  If a squirrel put his paws or claws in a little hole and their paws can come off.  The community should clean up their own mess and recycle because as First Nations people, we should live off the land and if one of our species die, then other species dies, then everything.  Life is too beautiful to lose just one species from extinction.  Just take one minute of your time out of 168 hours in a whole week to take a close look at the economy, at the city, the pollution, the disaster.  I just want to let you know we should clean up our land." ~ Sincerely Yours, Andrew Jackson, 5B Rocks

Plastic Bags & oil melting into the creek

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"I'm very upset that there is oil in the creek and I didn't like what I saw.  There was rusty cans I was very mad and sad. " :( ~ Sincerely Kiandra, 5B Rocks

"Us in grade 5B went for a walk, we saw oil in the creek down the hill and saw rusty cans under a tree.  I felt so so sad, we saw trash.  Can you put posters so people can not pollute in our play ground, there is garbage." ~ Love Lita Cardinal, 5B Rocks

Professionals from Environmental Health Canada will be

coming out to test the toxic chemicals along with the water.

We were advised not to try and clean this up, unsure what
type of chemicals being dumped
.  They were already

seeping into soil and water.

Wetlands Field trip on April 23, 2012
"I was very sad that I had to see all the trash and oil in the wetland.  I hope that everyone can clean the wetland and clean up all the cans in the forest and the graffiti." ~ Shay Wood

"Please help the wetlands.  Please stop polluting the wetlands.  I saw oil in the beaver dam and I felt sad.  I was very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very very sad.  Please stop dumping oil.  Thank you." ~ Sincerely Yours, Nathaniel Buffalo

The creation of the student's 3-D Wetlands Display

We are keepers of Turtle Island as told by the Creator
"When I went to the wetlands, I saw dumped oil and old empty tin cans and I felt sad.  If a squirrel puts his paws in the hole he'll get stuck.  I would like the community to help clean up Saddle Lake and stop throwing garbage on Mother Earth.  Stop graffiti, throwing out your oil because it hurts the animals and dirties our water and the animals won't have water to drink." ~ Sincerely Yours, Allyese Cardinal, 5B

"I saw oil in the water where beavers and fish and other animals live in.  I saw rusty tin cans, piles and piles everywhere, trash everywhere in Saddle Lake.  I felt sad when I saw all those animals living in the wetland with the oil and trash, all those animals dying.  Please stop putting oil and garbage everywhere." :) ~ Sincerely Yours, Kiara Cardinal, 5B

Student working on the display

The students representation of a POLLUTED Wetlands

The pollutants are items the students picked up within their community

The students representation of a HEALTHY Wetlands rich in healing medicines

The completed 3-D WETLANDS display

The display will be on site until June 15th, feel free to contact the school to arrange a viewing.

Parents & Guardians are welcome to come see their child's creation, I'm sure the students would be more than willing to

talk your ear off about the benefits of the Wetlands.

Audio Interview of the Students after the Clean Up on April 23, 2012

The letters will be delivered to Chief and Council on Friday, April 27th, 2012 and posters will be displayed in the community.


Original Post from on April 26, 2012


  • 70% of Canada's wetlands have disappeared
  • Help clean & filter water
  • Act as giant sponges in case of droughts
  • Help prevent flooding
  • All animals, insects, and plants are interconnected, including humans ~ one species disappears, it affects the balance of the ecosystem
  • Many Aboriginal people depend on the wetlands for food and healing medicines
  • Beaver are an important part of the wetlands and deserve to be respected and protested, they help the wetlands to do their job to clean our water.
  • Cattails stems can be used as food for humans
  • Moss was used by Aboriginal people in various ways like in baby moss bags and many more...
  • to learn more about the Wetlands, visit Ducks Unlimited.

On behalf of the students of Onchaminahos School, Grade 5B


May 4, 2012

Thankful and grateful students received a response from Chief and Council to their letters delivered on April 27, 2012.

Student Teacher: Shannon M Houle

Mentor Teacher: Gale Nahnepowisk

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