Inspiring Cultural Connections Through Literature
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Inspiring Cultural Connections Through Literature

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Inspiring Cultural Connections Through Literature Inspiring Cultural Connections Through Literature Presentation Transcript

  • Inspiring Cultural Connections Through Literature Using Joseph Bruchac’s novel, The Winter People , to help create a more culturally sensitive classroom.
  • Grade Level Alignment
    • The Winter People is rich, historical fiction at its best! The novel addresses Missoula consortium’s 5 th grade social studies framework criteria for:
      • Indigenous Peoples and Colonists-
      • Students will examine the relationship between indigenous peoples and the early colonists. Students will examine the power struggle and conflicts between the European powers and the Indian nations for control of North America prior to the Revolutionary War.
  • Grade Level Alignment (cont.)
    • The story also fulfills Montana Standards for Literature: Content Standard 4-
      • Students interact with print and nonprint literary works from various cultures, ethnic groups, traditional and contemporary viewpoints written by both genders.
  • Grade Level Alignment (cont.)
    • And finally, the story implements Indian Education for All. The Winter People is a story of the Abenaki Indians of Odanak. While the Abenakis are not one of Montana’s twelve tribal Nations, Bruchac’s story still fulfills IEFA’s Essential Understanding 6-
      • History is a story most often related through the subjective experience of the teller. With the inclusion of more and varied voices, histories are being rediscovered and revised. History told from an Indian perspective frequently conflicts with the stories mainstream historians tell.
  • Book Summary
    • “ Saxso is fourteen when the British attack his village. It’s 1759, and war is raging between the British and the French, with the Abenaki people- Saxso’s people- by the sidelines. Without enough warriors to defend their homes, Saxso’s village is burned to the ground. Many people are killed, but some, including Saxso’s mother and sisters, are taken hostage. Now it’s up to Saxso, on his own, to track the raiders and bring his family back home…before it’s too late.”
  • Upon completion of the novel, students will participate in our Winter People Internet Hunt using the following blog:
    • http://umontana514.blogspot.com
  • Portraying Culture & Assisting in Understanding
    • Questions and links explored throughout the hunt allow students to develop an appreciation for the Abenaki culture. The blog assists in the understanding of their unique ways by providing students with cultural and ethnic experiences different than their own.
      • Banks (1994) comments, “A major goal of multicultural education is to provide students with the skills, attitudes, and knowledge needed to function within their ethnic culture, the mainstream culture, and within and across other ethnic cultures” (p. 2)
      • Bruchac’s novel and our Winter People Internet Hunt are engaging ways for students to enhance these areas and develop cultural appreciation for the Abenaki people.
  • The hunt includes opportunities to explore the following cultural diversity components:
    • Storyteller’s perspective
      • Abenaki viewpoint vs. the British in Rogers’ Raid.
    • Cultural music
    • Native American medicine
    • Creation stories
    • Effects of epidemics on populations
    • Abenaki language- both written and spoken
    • Intercultural, interracial, and international conflict
      • Raid of Deerfield
  • Support of Multicultural Education
    • By incorporating the use of literature in the classroom, with novels such as The Winter People, teachers are supporting multicultural education as inspiration for fun and learning. Literature can also provide more significant and meaningful learning opportunities for students.
      • Multicultural readings and data can be highly motivating and meaningful. Students are more likely to master skills when the teacher uses content that deals with significant human problems, such as race, ethnicity, and social class within U.S. society (Banks, 1994).
  • Support of Multicultural Education (cont.)
    • Literature can also create discussions and conversations within the classroom that broaden thinking skills and language use, allowing students to hear stories from different points of view.
      • Every work of art including children’s literature is apolitical. Every work of art including every children’s book has a point of view. No work of art is neutral or innocent. They are all embedded in their context, their historical context and sociopolitical context, and they reflect the times in which they were written, who wrote them, what their objective was (Nieto, 2000).
  • Strengths of Using Literature & the Internet in Multicultural Education
    • There are many types of learning styles explored and enhanced throughout the internet hunt, including: visual, auditory, tactile, linguistic, and intra/inter personal intelligences. The technology and literature based opportunities are rich and engaging.
    • Students are encouraged to share their thoughts and experiences of reading and learning as they explore and engage in the various links.
  • Strengths of Using Literature & the Internet in Multicultural Education (cont.)
    • Exploration of the site leads to further learning as more research may be done to find out about something that was mentioned but not gone into great detail.
    • The teacher can make the site an extremely useful learning tool to teach what is inappropriate or biased in a story and discuss with students the reasoning for this. As a result, students are gaining knowledge of why specific material is incorrect instead of just being told to believe it.
  • Limitations of Using Literature & the Internet in Multicultural Education
    • In some literature, you might not get the whole story. It might only include a few facts about something that may then need to be researched further to verify.
    • Having access to computers for research might not be easy, as well as getting access to enough copies of one particular book to read with an entire class.
    • Technology can sometimes have issues. There may be times when your internet is not working, the website you wish to visit is down, or links are not connecting properly.
  • Limitations of Using Literature & the Internet in Multicultural Education cont.
    • Making sure that the multicultural material you are teaching with is appropriate, accurate and unbiased can often be a challenge. Unless of course, you are using the material to teach about these components. It is always best to reference materials first to ensure their authenticity.
    • Choosing the right material to expose students to particular cultures is also necessary. Typically, it is best to use literature written by those who are a part of the culture in the first place. They are the ones with the stories firsthand; the ones whose ancestors have walked in their shoes.
      • Teachers need to be prepared to teach it because if they are not, then it may end up hurting some students (Nieto, 2000).
  • Promoting Critical Thinking and Social Awareness
    • Our Winter People Internet Hunt is a wonderful opportunity for students to integrate all subject areas into their multicultural education.
      • The website utilizes questions applicable to: math, history, technology, art, music, reading comprehension, vocabulary development, and fiction and nonfiction writing opportunities.
  • Promoting Critical Thinking and Social Awareness (cont.)
    • As they explore the blog, students have numerous opportunities to develop their critical thinking and social awareness skills. Opportunities include:
      • Judging Bruchac’s quality of work- what makes him qualified to write such a story?
      • Developing an understanding for how Native populations have been decimated over the years.
      • Exploring the relationship between cultures and their environments.
  • Promoting Critical Thinking and Social Awareness (cont.)
      • Valuing Native Americans as dynamic agents of change.
      • Creating a letter, addressed to a character of their choice, describing similar experiences the two shared (text-to-self connections).
      • Establishing a common understanding of historical events through multicultural perspectives.
    “ A people cannot determine their future if they are ignorant of their past.” Carter G. Woodson
  • Now It’s Your Turn!
    • Click on the website
    • http://umontana514.blogspot.com/
    • and explore one of the links to enhance YOUR cultural understandings of the Abenaki people.
    • Let your classmates know what you learned. Post your knowledge and any comments you have regarding our presentation under our discussion thread.
  • “ Most battles are lost before the fighting ever begins.” Pierre Ktsi Awasos- Abenaki warrior
  • Resources/References for IEFA Materials & Literature
    • Books—
      • Harvey, K. (1995). How to teach about American Indians: a guide for the school library media specialist . Westport, Connecticut: Greenwood Press. 
      • Seale, D., & Slapin, B. (Eds.). (2005). A broken flute: the Native experience in books for
    • children . New York, NY: Altamira Press. 
      • Slapin, B., Seale, D., & Gonzales, R. (2000). How to tell the difference: a guide to
    • evaluating children's books for anti-Indian bias. . Berkely, CA: Oyate.
    •  
      • Supahan, S. (2007). Points of view vs. historical bias: recognizing bias in texts about
    • Native Americans . Berkeley, CA: Oyate.
      • National Museum of the American Indian, (2007). Do all Indians live in tipis?: Questions
    • and answers from the National Museum of the American Indian . New York, NY: HarperCollins.
  • Resources/References for IEFA Materials & Literature cont.
    • School Libraries in Montana have also received many of the following materials for IEFA:
      • Connecting Cultures and Classrooms: K-12 Curriculum Guide
      • K-12 Literature Units
      • Directory of Indian Education Programs in Montana
      • Model Lesson Plans: Social Studies Kindergarten-Grade 6
      • Traditional Games Units
      • American Indian Music: More Than Just Flutes and Drums: A Guide to American Indian Music
      • Evaluating American Indian Materials & Resources for the Classroom
      • Your Guide to Understanding and Enjoying Pow Wows
      • A History of Foundation of American Indian Education Policy
      • Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians
      • Social Studies Grade Level Expectations Tied to the Essential Understandings Regarding Montana Indians
      • Lesson Plans Featuring Montana State Parks
      • Montana Indians: Their History and Location
    • Websites
      • OPI-Office of Public Instruction
  • Reference List
    • Aaronsohn, E. (2000). Controversial literacy: a conversation with Sonia Nieto. The Dragon Lode . 18 , 1-7.
    • Banks, J. A. (1994). An introduction to multicultural education. Allyn & Bacon: Boston.
    • Banks, J.A., (1994). Goals and Misconceptions. In: An Introduction to Multicultural Education. Allyn & Bacon: Boston.
    • Bruchac, J. (2002). The winter people . Puffin Books: New York.
    • Francis, L. (1996). Native time: A historical time line of Native
    • America . St. Martin’s Griffin: New York.
    • The Winter People Internet Hunt. Retrieved on April 19, 2009 from
    • http://homepage.mac.com/cohora/ext/winpeo.html