Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Shannen's Dream

We started our unit on First Nations, Inuit and Metis, with an introduction to Shannen and her dream.
"Shannen Koostachin of Attawapiskat First Nation lead a movement for "safe and comfy" schools  and quality culturally based education for First Nation Children."

We introduced our topic on First Nations by describing the current conditions of schools in Attawapiskat, Ontario, Canada and asked our students to think-pair-share about where in the world this might be happening. Not one student thought that the conditions described could be in Canada, let alone Ontario. We talked about the challenge that Shannen, and her community face and wondered why.

It was a great connection for students and it generated many questions: Where is Attawapiskat? What is an "Indian Reserve?" How can we help Shannen and her dream? Why do we have reservations?  How come students in Canada or Ontario do not have equal access to education? Why is it different for First Nations kids?

Our idea is to create a timeline beginning with the history of First Nations children, and education from today's perspective by traveling back in time. We thought we would next talk about the Canadian Indian residential school system that were intended to assimilate the children of the Aboriginal people in Canada into European-Canadian society by using the read-aloud:

The questions and curiosity raised around the First Nation topic and the education of students has increased our excitment about getting started with our First Nations unit. We've been keeping an eye on Heidi's blog to help us develop ideas about how to build learning and understanding for our students. Encouraging questions, and inquiry about our history is a goal. We can't wait to find out where this unit will take us!

If you have lessons or suggestions about First Nations learning, please let us know!

Hope you can visit again!

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