June 8

Cataloging Indigenous Resources: Alternatives to Dewey

Dewey unveiled his cataloguing system in 1876 and although it has seen many modifications over the years it still reflects the influences of it’s designer in a number of areas.

The ‘correct’ placement of resources that support the weaving of Aboriginal content in our new B.C. curriculum appeared limiting and somewhat divisive. In short, I would struggle to direct an Aboriginal student, curious about their living culture, to the 971 history section, sandwiched and segregated, somewhere between World War II and the Aztecs. Optics matter.

Despite my efforts at sorting and labelling, placing Indigenous Creation Stories next to Little Red Riding Hood in 398.2 Folklore and Fairytales seemed equally as jarring.

After consultation with Surrey colleagues Kim Perry; Teacher, Lynne Powell; Helping Teacher, Lise Tilden; Aboriginal Education, and helpful direction from Heidi Wood; Aboriginal Helping Teacher, I rearranged and re-catalogued to reflect what seems to be more respectful placements whilst still preserving the integrity of a workable comprehensive library.

Here are the highlights:

Creation Stories

These are considered to be non-fiction. When I am asked for a Space unit, I am pulling How the Raven Stole the Sun as well, so 523.7 is a logical choice. Similarly, How The Robin got it’s Red Breast goes in the bird section, Cloudwalker on the environment shelf, Mayuk with the bears.

Elder Stories

Includes stories that reflect true events or story of an Elder or the author. I have included here traditional stories as well as more contemporary works. The contemporary First Nations titles pictured below were designated Dewey 970 History of North America. I have placed them in Courage 179 and Wisdom 170.

 Fiction

Stories that are for entertainment or a teaching have been placed in Fiction. Some of the Txamsen Stories for example. However, some of these were not in a format or reading level that would work at our school in the picture book section. They are now in 813 Fiction.

 The labels are not ideal but they are easily identifiable. Titles that are not First Nations but are Metis or Inuit have a solid red label. Students are able to find these at a glance. Eventually,  I will have these labels only on authentic Aboriginal texts. I am still working through these.

The 970s

The biggest shift was the exodus out of the history section and involved moving all the non-fiction two shelves over. It seemed to me that even a book delineated as describing past traditions was, in fact, describing current traditions. It wasn’t history. I evaluated every book, weeded a few, and placed the rest in 305.897.

The 305s  – my favourite section – ‘Groups of People’ – the section we all fit in, in one way or another.

I am sure as we use this system, it will morph and evolve, resulting in an organization that perhaps more accurately reflects the community the collection serves.

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February 25

Upcycle Cigar Boxes to First Nations ‘Cedar Boxes’

We began our project with a great ‘Tree of Life’ kit from Surrey Schools Aboriginal Dept. The kit includes CDs and DVDs as well as books and information on Cedar, Totem Poles and Northwest Native Art. An excellent resource, delivered right to your Surrey school. We also discussed A Journey into Time Immemorial: The Importance of Cedar.

Students added some of the many uses of cedar to a circular tree and coloured a totem for the top.

The cigar boxes came from a Vancouver tobacconist, I paid $20 CAD (cash deal) for 30. Some of the boxes had lots of glossy labels that had to be scraped off before painting. We added Mod Podge to the top surface to seal the picture and add a slight gloss. Students are proud to display their work and excited to take them home. Each time they open the box there will be a little reminder of the importance of the cedar tree to the First Nations peoples.

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February 11

First Nations Resource for Social Emotional Learning

In her book Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox, author Danielle Daniel explains the importance of totem animals in Anishinaabe culture and how they can act as animal guides for children seeking to understand themselves and others.

This little book is great resource for exploring SEL. We made connections using Coast Salish designs for our follow-up activity and students made the link between the animals, the text and identifying their own varying emotions, strengths and feelings.

Gr. 3 discussions and art took two 40 minute periods inc. book exchanges.

After exploring Coast Salish mask art, students used their own creativity to complete the activity. We also took the opportunity to use ‘fancy frames’ to offer students a little recognition. Remaining masks were displayed in the hall.

 

 

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February 4

How to Build Community

We have been focusing on building and respecting our school community through creative and MakerEd co-operative projects. Three classes worked as a team to create some fantastic wall art based on Eric Carle’s ‘The Very Hungry Caterpillar’.

Some classes are helping each other to figure out how to make clothing for their Mighty Girls and others are working together to make First Nations cedar boxes.

Read on for: Love Wall, Todd Parr art, We Are All Linked and Love Hearts bulletin boards Continue reading

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January 27

Alternative Eiffel, Cedar Boxes, Mighty Girls

Figuring out a building plan

Vanier students are Makers. After creating designs last week, students came up with a construction plan and worked cooperatively to build their own interpretations of the Eiffel Tower. They figured out that communication is the most important thing when working together.

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November 19

Aboriginal Workshops

The Learning Commons has recently hosted three workshops on Aboriginal culture. Students learned about Aboriginal Art, Trading and Storytelling. Students blogged their responses to the workshops and shared their learning on-line.

Students enjoying Aboriginal stories

Students learned some of the difficulties in trading beads without a common language.

 

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