Question: How can I be creative and come up with my own lessons on AbEd when there are so many boundaries on what I can and cannot use?
I thought of exploring AbEd through many different avenues but I ended up teaching the importance of storytelling to First Nations cultures. As well as teaching my K/1 class a unit on storytelling specifically stories about the raven, I also explored what authentic resources are. This inquiry shows a glimpse of what I did in the classroom, what I learned myself and what I am planning to do next. Here is the first page of my inquiry and if you are interest the rest of my inquiry is attached in the PDF document at the end of this blog.
How did I incorporate Aboriginal learning into my classroom?
I started to incorporate Aboriginal learning into my classroom by first learning about animals. We were doing a unit on hibernation and migration and I thought since the students knew so much about animals from this unit it would be an easy transition into learning about totem animals. We read the book “I Feel like a Fox” by Danielle Daniel. The book was about totem animals acting as spirit guides in the what they look like and what they do. Next lesson we learned the meaning of each animal and students did an assignment on which animal they felt like and why. I felt that for me this was a good first step, I had been very hesitant and worried about how I would incorporate Aboriginal learning into my class because I am not an expert and was even unsure if the book I read was authentic.
What did I learn from teaching my first lesson on Aboriginal education?
I learned that as long as you are coming from a place of good intentions that is what matters the most. I realized even if the book I did read was not authentic there were still ways for me to teach my students about First Nations cultures. I could explain to them that it can sometimes be hard to find information because we want to learn what is real and what is true. There is always an opportunity to teach about Aboriginal education you just need to be willing to take the time.
What have I learned about authentic Aboriginal resources?
An authentic Aboriginal resource can be a book, a video, an audio recording, a website and so on. These resources however need to be written or created by someone who is First Nations. Not only that but the material in the resource needs to be respectful of Aboriginal cultures. I learned this from doing research myself and attending an Aboriginal Authentic Resources workshop. I was starting a new unit on storytelling in my class. We were working on setting, character and events so I thought this would be a great time to tell the students about the importance of storytelling to First Nations cultures. I went to the library to get a book that I could read to the students in my search I found two authentic and one not authentic book. The not authentic book was written by a British anthropologist who has written books on many different cultures and automatically a red flag went off in my head. Not only that but the pictures in the book were fairly obvious as not being drawn by First Nations. However I did find two books that were authentic: written and illustrated by First Nations and when researched on Google both checked out.