Teaching Aboriginal Perspectives Through the Making of The Star Quilt

December 31, 2017

According to the Manitoba curricular document Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives into Curricula, “Aboriginal Perspectives are based on a distinct world view of the Aboriginal culture.” (Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives Into Curricula, 2003). Throughout the document an emphasis is placed on the importance of exposing students to a variety of Aboriginal perspectives cultural products, and historical contribution. The document explores various views Aboriginals have and how they may be integrated into various school subjects.

The creation of the following course plan and individual unit emerged through reading various curricular documents, individual research, and a group project consisting of the creation of a star quilt. Drawing on ideas from readings, experiences, and discussions, various themes emerged allowing for a unit with the pedagogical purpose of integrating Aboriginal perspectives. The unit is designed to be cross curricular using inquiry and experiential learning. The course plan is for Grade 12 Social Studies: Current Topics in First Nation, Metis and Inuit Studies. The entire course plan focuses around the theme of traditions with sub-themes being cultural products, relational practices, and stories/myths. Each of the five units in the course plan have one of the sub-themes as its primary focus. It is important to note that to ensure consistency with the theme throughout the entire course, clusters have been melded together to fit specific topics. In the course plan the reader finds overviews for five units with goals, synopsis, essential questions, content knowledge, skills, assessment tasks and potential Aboriginal perspective outcomes taken from the Aboriginal Perspectives into Curricula document. The course overview provides context leading into a role play unit (Unit 4).

Unit four is designed as a role play unit focussing on the development of a community with unique cultural traditions. Aboriginal perspectives are integrated throughout the unit by placing value on community roles and a sense of belonging.   As well throughout the unit, students will be introduced to Aboriginal cultural products, relational practices, and the various challenges many Aboriginal communities face in preserving their unique cultures.  Over the course of the unit students will pick their roles, develop an origin story, create a cultural product, determine relational practices and work collaboratively to determine ways to preserve their cultural traditions when faced with challenges. Over the course of the unit students will be presented with three distinct problems facing their community. It is up to the students within their community to determine how their community will survive.

This unit consists of seven documents: the unit overview, the roles, the mini lesson samples, the origin story task sheet, the community cultural traditions role play scenario/checklist, course plan,  and the Aboriginal perspectives outcome list.  Click on the  titles below to view the documents.

  • UNIT OVERVIEW: The unit overview presents an in depth look at the unit goals, timeline, potential outcomes, purposes of the unit and includes a short list of resources that may be incorporated into the unit.

  • ROLES: The role sheet explains the rules for the role selection and presents students with a variety of roles they may select.

  • THE ORIGIN STORY: The origin story task sheet is a prompting sheet to help students create their community’s origin story before being presented with their community problem.

  • ROLE PLAY SCENARIO: The community cultural traditions role play scenario/checklist sheet is intended as the narrative for the role play. This sheet gives students problems they need to solve and a list of required documentation they must provide.

  • MINI LESSONS: The mini lessons are intended to be options to provide further depth into Aboriginal cultural products which may be presented at the start of any class. These mini lessons are designed to enhance students experience and knowledge of building a community and creating cultural products coming from an Aboriginal perspective.

  • POTENTIAL OUTCOMES: The last document is a list of Aboriginal perspective outcomes which may be completed depending on the mini lessons selected. All of these outcomes were adopted from the “Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives Into Curricula” document and have the potential of fitting into this unit with ease due to its structure.

  • COURSE PLAN: The course plan provides an overview of the entire course according the the theme. Including skills, potential outcomes, essential questions and assessment tasks.


References: Manitoba Education. (2003) Integrating Aboriginal Perspectives Into Curricula. Retrieved from: http://www.edu.gov.mb.ca/k12/docs/policy/abpersp/ab_persp.pdf

 

 

 

 

 

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