Archive | Visitors RSS feed for this section

Week 4 Insights

24 May

Hello again!

Now that I’ve completed all of the grade 4-12 lesson plans (which should be up on the MIA’s website sometime next week, so keep an eye out for them!), I’ve been primarily focused on producing supplemental in-class resources. One way to bring the “museum experience” to the classroom is to have informative and interactive materials for teachers to implement and tailor to their students’ needs.

The MIA has long embraced technology as part of its mission to promote educational awareness of Inuit art and serve the local community. Above all, accessibility remains a cornerstone of each project undertaken by the institution and my work here is no exception. Similarly, my teaching practice and education at OISE have reinforced the need for technology-driven learning in order to adequately respond to students with diverse needs.

Teachers are encouraged to use all available media to enhance their lessons and help students make a connection to the artist and their artwork prior to coming to the museum for a visit. For instance, the origin stories of the Inuit Sea Goddess (commonly referred to as Sedna, however there are many different names for her) have been a source of inspiration for many Inuit artists. Although they vary from region to region in the Arctic, they ultimately conclude with the young girl falling victim to a rather violent severing of her fingers, which later transform into sea mammals. By giving students an opportunity to explore various interpretations of the Inuit Sea Goddess, they come away with a better understanding of the diversity and complexity of the Inuit culture.

Screen capture of Grade 11/12 Visual Arts slideshow

It’s also important for teachers to elevate the classroom discussion and enable students to dispel inaccurate notions or misconceptions about the Inuit in Canada. The goal should be to build an enduring understanding and respect, and what better way to connect to another community than by exploring the different forms and styles of Inuit art.

Screen capture of Grade 9 Native Studies slideshow

This was just a preview of what’s to come. I’ll be back with my final post next week to wrap up my internship!

– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Dispatches from the Intern

17 May

So, another week of internship comes to an end, but let’s go back in time for a minute and review last weekend’s visit to Downsview Public Library on behalf of the MIA!

As you may recall from my previous post, I was asked to conduct hands-on activities as part of the MAP Family Saturdays program that runs across Toronto Public Library branches. There were 7 kids, ranging from ages 4-12, that came by with parents in tow. To set up, I laid out various museum artifacts on a table, including a narwhal ivory tusk and the tooth of a polar bear, and I could tell by the looks on the kids’ faces, they were eager to see and feel the materials up close! Before I passed the artifacts around, I kicked things off with a little DPA (that’s Daily Physical Activity, for the non-teachers out there) and an ice breaker. It was great to see most of the parents participate as well!

After getting everyone’s heart rate going, the kids settled into a circle on the floor and I began talking about the artifacts—their composition, origin, and purpose—and one by one, the kids took turns carefully examining each piece,  making great observations about each artifact, and drawing comparisons between daily life in the Arctic and their own personal lives.

Next, it was time to get their hands a little dirty and move onto art making! I brought along some plasticine and modelled how to create an inuksuk (plural: inuksuit; generally written as inukshuk to reflect its English pronunciation), which are human-made stone formations found throughout the Arctic.

Inuksuit on Baffin Island, Nunavut

By now, most people are familiar with this iconic symbol, but many are unfamiliar with its traditional origin and meaning. Acting in the place of a person, the inuksuk can serve many purposes; it is often used in navigation and hunting, and has played a crucial role in Inuit survival on the land. Inuksuit are commonly created in the shape of a person (accurately called innunguaq) and provided the basis for the 2010 Vancouver Olympics logo! Suffice to say, the kids really enjoyed creating their own version of an inuksuk, and some even went as far as giving it a name and a personal story. Very imaginative!

My on-site tasks during week 3 included devising a lesson plan based on the curriculum for the Grade 10 Native Studies course, Aboriginal Peoples in Canada, and creating additional  materials for classroom use. In order to facilitate all of the visual arts lessons, I’ve begun creating slideshows featuring pieces from the museum’s permanent collection and gallery. I think these slideshows could provide teachers with an excellent starting point for their lessons and help develop students’ critical analysis and interpretation skills.

It looks like next week’s plate is rather full, but I’m looking forward to it!

Happy long weekend!

– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Updates from Week 2

10 May

The second week of internship has just flown by. I’m already at the halfway point and thus far, my experience at the MIA has been really positive and fulfilling. All the research time I’ve put in has rewarded me with great ideas for teacher resources (some of which I hope to use myself in the future!).

While I haven’t had as much time to delve into hands-on activities at the museum, I’m looking forward to the opportunity to do so this Saturday, May 11th, as part of MAP Family Saturdays at Toronto Public Libraries (TPL)! MAP (Museum + Arts Pass)  allows families (2 adults and up to 5 children)  to explore many of Toronto’s best cultural and artistic sites for free! You can request a pass for you and your family at any TPL branch.

MAP Family Saturdays at TPL

This Saturday, however, I’m bringing the museum experience directly to Downsview Public Library (2793 Keele St. at Wilson Ave.) for kids’  hands-on activities They’ll have a chance to see and touch some museum artifacts, play a few traditional Inuit games, and make their own clay sculpture. It should be a great time for kids, parents, and art lovers alike, so if you’re in the neighbourhood, come on by!

– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Intern Insights

3 May

Hello again!

I can hardly believe it, but the first week of internship is over and I’ve managed to get quite a lot done. It’s been a productive week and I’m excited to move into the next phase of teacher resource development for the MIA.

After getting through some comprehensive literature about museum policy, programming, accessibility and governance, I jumped right into the best part about this internship—lesson planning! To be honest, it was a bit overwhelming at first, in terms of figuring out what grade level to start with, what direction to take with the lesson (Arts-based? Language-focused? History-oriented?), and making sure to include as many pertinent details and guidelines for teachers as possible. I decided to start with the grades I knew best—Junior-Intermediate. For those that may not be too familiar with teacher speak, that means grades 4-10. Luckily, I had the wonderful opportunity to experience teaching grades 4-8, so I was quite familiar with the general concepts and basic expectations covered in the curriculum.

Kamiks (Arctic snow boots made of animal skin) worn by Labrador Inuit

After consulting with my supervisor, Alysa, we decided a little “museum field trip” was required. On Wednesday, I shadowed a docent at the Bata Shoe Museum giving a tour to a group of middle school students. It was truly fascinating to see how an everyday item that we sometimes take for granted, like footwear, can have an extraordinary history and offers rich insights into the culture that produced it. My visit here also reinforced the importance of artifact-based teaching and learning as an excellent way for students to develop multidisciplinary skills. It’s certainly a learning model that the Bata Shoe Museum and the MIA have nurtured successfully via their docent program.

With some research of my own, and a few great online sources recommended to me by Alysa, I was able to pull together several arts-based lesson plans for grades 4-12 with cross-curricular connections to Social Studies, Language and even Science. The next step will be to edit, polish and tack on assessment guides to these materials before getting a stamp of approval from the Museum.

More updates to come during week 2!

– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Introducing Our New Educational Intern!

29 Apr

Greetings!

Aviva

My name is Aviva German and I’m the newest member of the MIA team! Over the next month, I’ll be working here at the museum as an Educational Intern. As a teacher candidate from the Ontario Institute for Studies in Education (OISE) at the University of Toronto, and a previous volunteer at the museum, I’m thrilled to come back and begin my internship at this one-of-a-kind site!

I’m looking forward to developing and sharing a variety of exciting pre- and post-museum visit materials and outreach kits, in alignment with provincial curriculum expectations, to complement any school group visit to the MIA. My goal is to provide educators with the tools they need to begin the museum experience inside the classroom, and encourage students to continue exploring critical themes related to Aboriginal peoples and cultures following their visit.

I hope these materials will be prove to be an invaluable resource for teachers and students alike!

– Posted by: Aviva German, MIA’s Educational Intern

Construction Heads Up Part 13: March Break Routes

7 Mar
Hydro chamber construction on Queens Quay West

Hydro chamber construction on Queens Quay West.

As many of you prepare for the upcoming March Break, we’d like to post a little reminder about some of the construction that has been happening here at the Harbour front.

For the remainder of March, the TTC will be limiting access on the University line affecting those traveling between St. George and Union stations. Major re-signalling work over four weekends this month will modernize the TTC signals, relays, wiring and cabling equipment, much of which was originally installed when the University line opened 50 years ago. To accommodate surface travel, a frequent, accessible bus service will operate and shuttle service information is available on the TTC site.

The following weekends will NOT have service between St. George and Union station:

  • Sunday, March 10 (starting Saturday, March 9 at midnight).
  • Sunday, March 17 (starting Saturday, March 16 at midnight).
  • Saturday, March 23 and Sunday, March 24.

For those who are already close to the Harbourfront,  demolition work will continue at the Peter Slip Bridge  after having been delayed due to bad weather. Pedestrian access on the southside of the Peter Slip Bridge is not available due to the confined working space. The northside sidewalk remains open at all times. Crews are expected to remain working in the area until May when the surface of the bridge including the new TTC corridor is complete.

The York Street construction of the new parking lay-by (which will provide a safe area for short-term passenger loading and unloading from coaches and tour buses visiting the waterfront) is nearing completion.  Final paving is expected to be completed this week and regulatory signs will be posted once the lay-by area is finished.

If you’d like to avoid all the driving detours our pedestrian directions from previous blogs still apply or you can plan your route based on the full construction details found at the Waterfront Toronto website.

– Posted by Brittany Holliss, MIA’s Visitor Services Officer

Explore the Realities of Living in the Modern Arctic this March Break at MIA

3 Mar
Inuit community of Pangnirtung

Inuit community of Pangnirtung

This March Break the Museum of Inuit Art is exploring the realities of living in the modern Canadian Arctic through four interactive stations (one to represent each Inuit land claim area in Canada) located throughout the museum.

Every family will be issued a passport to explore the Museum of Inuit Art in new, multi-sensory ways while challenging perceptions of the Arctic.

Activities to enjoy:

  • Get hands on with our teaching collection at our feel-box station. Learn about properties of the materials being used by Inuit artists and how this impacts the art being produced in the Arctic today.
  • Can you dance like a polar bear or run like a muskox? Show us your moves while learning animal names in Inuktitut in the Museum of Inuit Art’s version of ‘Simon Says’.
  • Learn about the differences in food costs and diets in the Arctic and Southern Canada at the MIA land claim grocery store.
  • What makes your neighbourhood unique? Make comparisons between your community and those in the Arctic. Through exploration of prints and postcards, learn about population size, temperature, and infrastructure available in Inuit communities.

As you complete the activities, be sure to get your passport stamped! If you have your passport stamped at all four interactive stations, you are eligible for a $5 discount on a family membership. Your name will also be entered into a raffle to win a $50 gift certificate from Loblaws-Queens Quay!

DATES: March 9 to March 17
TIME: 12 PM to 4 PM
PRICE: Free with Museum Admission (Adults $5, Students/Seniors $3, Children 12 and under FREE)

We are still looking for volunteers for this event. If you are interested in lending a helping hand, please email volunteer@miamuseum.ca.

Lindsay Bontoft, MIA’s Public Programming and Development Coordinator