Explorations in Integration
First Nation's ways of knowing and the history of the First Nation's people was woven across the curricula throughout my final practicum in a Grade 4 class.
For Language Arts, we completed a novel study on "The Birchbark House", by Louise Erdrich, which is the first book in a four book series known as The Birchbark series. The story follows the life of Omakayas and her Ojibwe community beginning in 1847 near present-day Lake Superior. The Birchbark House has received rave reviews and was a 1999 National Book Award Finalist for young people’s fiction.
The children completed their choice of final project to demonstrate their learning, which ranged from dioramas to stop motion animation.
We were privileged to attend a Metis cultural day at a neighbouring school, and I was able to document the visit to produce a video for the children on our learning. We discussed what we saw and experienced, and how it was similar or different from what we have learned of the Ojibwe culture.
The Nanaimo Museum was able to attend our school with an excellent presentation on the local First Nation's artifacts and how the settlers changed their way of life. I created a presentation for this learning as well which was posted to Freshgrade for the parents, however it is not able to be shared publicly for privacy reasons.
The Blanket Exercise
Our learnings about First Nation's culture culminated with the Blanket excercise. Together with my Sponsor teacher, we adapted the original KAIROS script to differentiate and engage our young learners. I now have a wonderful script designed for grade 3-4-5 that is able to be presented to younger children to discuss the First Nation's experience with Colonization and Assimilation.
Karina Strong is currently a full time Education student at VIU in the Post Bac program. Her undergraduate degree is in Social Work and Small Business Management. She is a professional Circus performer and owner of Vesta Entertainment, a multifaceted entertainment company on Vancouver Island.