What did we do?
Students chose a focus for their project and plugged it into the question: “How do we overcome _____________ ?” They could choose from a number of different options, but many of them chose fear or trauma or loss. Some chose to focus on the loss of identity or overcoming stereotyping. It was a good way to look at the notion of resiliency and what it means to be a strong person, especially after a difficult experience. We looked at these questions in the context of the novel Keeper ‘n Me, which the class loved reading.
How did it go?
Student conversation and understanding of Aboriginal issues has been strengthened, as well as their understanding of the resiliency and strength found in all human beings – this way, they have been able to connect and understand more intimately.
Two Student Examples:
Maki & Alberta
Matteo & Oliver
Currently we are working on a semester-long inquiry with my English 8 class. Our Essential Question is: “Why is bravery an important aspect of being strong?”
Our class has quite a few different texts and genres, and as part of our study, we have read a number of Aboriginal texts, including illustrated texts (“Shi-shi-etko” by Nicola Campbell, “When I Was Eight” by Christy Jordan-Fenton and Margaret Pokiak-Fenton, and “Home to Medicine Mountain” by Chiori Santiago), short stories (“Borders” by Thomas King and “The Animal People Choose a Leader” by Richard Wagamese), poetry (“I Lost My Talk” by Mi’kmaw poet Rita Joe and “Footprints in the Snow” by Nichola Batzel). They’ve also done a synthesis piece with the story “Borders” and a documentary called, ‘Up Heartbreak Hill’, which is about a group of Navajo teenagers who are living on a reserve and who are all, in some way, trying to find their themselves, their story, their identity, and forge their way in a world that doesn’t always understand or accept them. It’s a darker film, but students connected with the notion of finding our way in a world that doesn’t accept us.