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Issue #87
February, 2017

Future Further: Ontario Universities’ Aboriginal Student Portal

Source: Council of Ontario Universities (COU)
Focus: Teachers, senior students and families

Summary: A dedicated resource that provides information on supports and services to Aboriginal students interested in, or already attending an Ontario university.

The Ontario University Aboriginal Student Portal brings together a wealth of resources, tools and best practices pulled together from each of its 20 member institutions. These have been provided with the unique focus of meeting the needs of the Aboriginal post-secondary education community. This portal is dedicated to Aboriginal students and their families.

Our Words, Our Ways: Teaching First Nation, Métis and Inuit Learners

Source: Alberta Education. Aboriginal Services Branch and Learning and Teaching Resources Branch
Focus: Teachers, administrators

Summary: This resource will help classroom teachers and staff better serve the needs of their Aboriginal students. The process of development was one of consultation, information gathering, drafting, more consultation and re-drafting. The contributors to this resource include Aboriginal Elders, teachers and psychologists as well as other members of Alberta’s Aboriginal communities.

Culturally relevant approaches effectively serve the learning needs of Aboriginal students. The term Aboriginal refers to the descendants of the original inhabitants of North America. The Canadian Constitution recognizes three groups of Aboriginal peoples: First Nations, Métis and Inuit. Traditional and contemporary Aboriginal cultures offer a number of frameworks for understanding, guiding, learning from and teaching students.

The relationship between student and teacher is the heart of Aboriginal education. The teacher’s relationship with each student is based on observing and learning about the individual child and his or her unique learning needs in order to help the child grow holistically – spiritually, physically, mentally and emotionally. Education is very important to Aboriginal people. It is a key to the future for Aboriginal children and their families.

This resource offers information about Aboriginal cultures and perspectives, practical ideas, and sample strategies that will help teachers meet the needs and recognize the gifts of Aboriginal students. Many of the sample strategies are good for all students and are relevant for a range of educational settings and contexts.

Depictions of Success: Voices from Grade 12 Aboriginal Students

Source: Tim R. Claypool, University of Saskatchewan; Jane P. Preston, University of Prince Edward Is-land
Focus: Policy makers and educational leaders

Summary:The purpose of this paper is to describe how 12 high school Aboriginal students defined educational success and success in general. We focus on how success is traditionally described in education and spotlight alternate meanings of the term. The data for this qualitative study were 12 semi-structured individual interviews, where students depicted success as obtaining educational credentials and pursuing lifelong learning via spiritual maturity. The Canadian Council on Learning’s First Nations Holistic Lifelong Learning Model is used as an analytical framework to further analyze these findings. One implication arising from the study is that, and not already in place, educational leaders need to create school policies and programs to promote tutelage opportunities, arts-based courses, and after-school clubs and activities.

Alaska Native Perspectives on Earth and Climate

Source: PBS LearningMedia
Focus: K-12

Summary: As the environmental, economic, and political consequences of climate change are felt in Alaska, the Arctic, and throughout the world, we have much to learn from both the traditional knowledge of Native peoples and ongoing scientific research. These two methods of observing nature and solving the challenges of survival can provide complementary perspectives on these issues. This collection looks at Alaska’s unique geology and the impact of development and climate change using both of these tools, and features Alaska Native scientists who are working toward solutions.

PBS LearningMedia provides PreK-12 educators with access to free digital content and professional development opportunities designed to improve teacher effectiveness and student achievement

Educationally powerful connections with parents and whānau

Source: Education Review Office, New Zealand Government
Focus: Parents and whānau (extended families)

Summary: In this report, the Education Review Office (ERO) evaluated how well 256 schools worked with parents and whānau to respond to students at risk of underachievement. We looked for examples where schools had specifically worked with parents and whānau to accelerate and support progress and improve achievement.

The summary includes key findings, quotes from students, parents, teachers and leaders, and an inquiry framework that teachers and leaders may find useful when thinking about how to improve learning partnerships with the parents and whānau of students who are not achieving.

First Nations in Canada

Source: Indigenous and Northern Affairs Canada (INAC)
Focus: Secondary students

Summary: First Nations in Canada is an educational resource designed for use by young Canadians; high school educators and students; Aboriginal communities; and anyone interested in First Nations history. Its aim is to help readers understand the significant developments affecting First Nations communities from the pre-Contact era (before the arrival of Europeans) up to the present day.

The first part of this text, “Early First Nations”, presents a brief overview of the distinctive cultures of the six main geographic groups of early First Nations in Canada. This section looks at the principal differences in the six groups’ respective social organization, food, resources, homes, modes of transportation, clothing, and spiritual beliefs and ceremonies.

Parts two through six of this text trace the relationship between First Nations and newcomers to Canada from the very first encounter up to the government’s historic apology in June 2008 to all former students of Indian Residential Schools. In this apology, the Government of Canada expressed deep regret for the suffering individual students and their families experienced because of these schools. The government also acknowledged the harm that residential schools and assimilation policies had done to Aboriginal peoples’ cultures, languages and heritage.

First Nations: Documenting Daily Life

Source: Canada’s History, by Jackie Underhill, 2004 Governor General’s History Award Recipient
Focus: Grade 7 & 8 Health, History, Language Arts, Visual Arts

Summary: When Europeans first colonized Canada they encountered various First Nations peoples. Students will review several of the major groupings of First Nations peoples and how these people meet their needs. As follow up later in the unit, students will learn how the First Nations influenced settlement and colonization of Canada.

Students will:

  • increase their understanding of the First Nations historical way of life;
  • be equipped with research tools and information that they can collect into note format;
  • develop effective note-taking strategies and become experts on a topic that they then share;
  • use graphic organizers in a meaningful way to collect and organize information;
  • synthesize knowledge obtained through discussion, research and note-taking;
  • develop writing skills in a cross-curricular manner.

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