Piitoayis Family School
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Seven Aboriginal cultures across Canada were chosen to explore based on connections to curriculum, geographic region, connections to their student population and important groups we wanted to study for our K-6 school. From the west coast to east coast and the north coast an Aboriginal legend from the Haida, Blackfoot, Cree, Metis, Iroquois, Micmac, and Inuit peoples were studied. Students learned that the term Aboriginal consisted of First Nation, Metis and Inuit peoples and their historical importance to Canada.
The Aboriginal legend was chosen by each teacher and read to the students. Students were then encouraged to explore the people who shared this story and explore the traditional life style, transportation, shelter, clothing and methods of survival. Based on the grade level students were given support to research these facts from websites, pictures, videos, artifacts, books, and community members including visiting elders. Students were offered support to summarize important facts to help them understand the elements of the land that the First Nation, Metis or Inuit people of Canada adapted to survive and their observations from nature that led to the creation of these legends.
After researching the different Aboriginal groups, students acted out their legend to support their learning and incorporate new teachings that they acquired about the way of life of different parts of Canada. Students in grades K-6 then practiced their writing skills in a retell of the legend and as a class created a visual art display to highlight this legend. Students were assessed in their oral and written retell of the legend and facts that they acquired about the people in relation to the legend. Each classroom was also encouraged to research Aboriginal artists in Canada and be inspired in their own way of displaying their retell or knowledge of the Aboriginal group. For example, the class studying the Haida people incorporated Haida art in their display, and the class studying the Cree incorporated their art based off of Norval Morrisseau. Student’s processes of learning were documented during the stages of research, drama, writing and visual art and displayed on school bulletin boards on the main level of the building to highlight the different groups in relation to their traditional geographic region in Canada.