In the fall of 2016, Wab Kinew wrote a facebook post inviting educators to partner “mainstream” classes with First Nation schools/classes to discuss “What does reconciliation look like?”. Jaclyn Calder and I joined forces (along with Shannon Simpson and Caroline Black) to design a project that offered students an opportunity to think deeply about the relationship between Natives and non-Natives in Canada, generally, and their understanding of reconciliation, specifically. You can view the project at #CraftReconciliation with SCDSB, Wikwemikong and Rama First Nations.
Here I am summarizing and reflecting on the project. There are five posts in this series, and they are organized around the Ontario Adolescent Literacy Guide‘s five components:
- Voice and Identity
- Critical Literacy
I have also organized the posts in a way that I hope makes visible the teaching – learning process so that other teachers can ‘see’ the learning that emerged from this project.
Voice and Identity
Refers to students’ decisions, choices, and actions that advocate for their learning, and make connections to the experiences, values, culture, and interests (Adolescent Literacy Guide, 40).
This is a two-part example. First, read Seth’s reflection on the inquiry process.
The #craftreconciliation project has been important because we get to see what everyone is thinking on subject #craftreconciliation. I know for my build I followed the #craftreconciliation project design process that is put up in Ms. Balen classroom. The steps help me and nick for this project #craftreconciliation. The first step was clearly define the problem or challenge and are challenge was putting our thoughts onto paper. It was hard to think of an idea to make in minecraft but once we got it we started to conduct our research. We continued following Ms. Balen’s project design process and the next step was to start generating ideas. Our first idea was to make a wampum belt of two people a white man and a native man holding hands in the center, with both of the weapons they would have used back in the day to fight each other like a gun and a bow and arrow. The weapons would be in their opposites hands was suppose to represent the old wars we have been through and them holding hands represents nations coming together and focusing on our relationship as two nations. We got up to a point in where we were just about to build then we noticed that that picture wouldn’t fit in minecraft because it would be too big for the squares of space that we had. So we had to generate a new idea on a new build because we were facing problems with the first build. We were thinking and thinking but finally I came up with the idea that we would make words out of wool. Wool can be easily burned in the game minecraft, that’s why i picked that. The words we use were Genocide, Deceit, and Destruction. Each word was right after the other so one word would be hidden and the one in front of it would be destroyed with fire, keeping in mind that these are the words that we don’t want any part of anymore. Our last word was peace and it was written in stone and that was to represent that it’s here to stay. Peace isn’t going anywhere it will stay between our nations. That was my creation on the #craftreconciliation project and I found that it was fun to show our ideas in minecraft. To sum it up I think that Ms. Balen’s project design process helped us because I need a place the start and something to see visually to stay focused and that’s what the project design process did.
Then listen to Seth and his partner, Nick, describe their build.
The project is full of examples that illustrate “when students can relate what they are learning to something that is important to them, they tend to feel more competent and are likely to think more deeply” (Adolescent Literacy Guide, 45). For instance, the hangouts (extremely popular events with the students), pushed the students to listen intently to
- Make connections and respond in the back channel or on camera;
- Identify various perspectives to note the similarities and differences;
- Reflect on their own ideas to make decisions about their research and their build.
If you have questions about #craftreconciliation or if there are parts of this post that need clarification, please use the comment box to connect with me.
Up next: Critical Literacy