My essential question is: How can the school Library Learning Commons foster literacies to empower life-long learners? This question is one of the standards of practice from Leading Learning (Canadian Library Association, 2014), which discusses the theme of “Cultural Literacy” where a “LLC collection reflects cultural diversity, points of view, and equity” (p. 18). For my second learning curation, I will compile a resource list of multi-modal texts for cultural literacy, with a focus on First Nations culture in Canada. This is particularly relevant to my Library Learning Commons because our school has a culturally rich population, with many students identifying as having First Nations ancestry. Our school offers many courses with a First Nations focus, including First Peoples English, First People Art, and Aboriginal Academy 8. Further, the School District has started a professional development program for staff called Culture Camp, where staff members learn about First Nations cultural practices, history, and traditional knowledge in our area by visiting different local First Nations reservations.
While all of the resources below address cultural Literacy and traditional literacy (reading, writing, listening, speaking), many of the student activities address transliteracy, as defined as “The ability to read, write, and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from radio and film, to digital social networks” (The Canadian Library Association, 2014, p. 28). The list of resources for this theme could go on and on. I have tried to select text for a variety of reading levels and grades. Perhaps the obvious omission here is a resource directly addressing information literacy. Every year our library collaborates with several teachers on various First Nations research projects. We typically teach note-taking, non-fiction print features, referencing, searching online, and evaluating websites using a document camera (for print skills) and our online subscription to EasyBib.
When selecting a multi-modal form of text to use with students, I like Kleckner’s (2014) suggestion to “use technology to serve people rather than trying to fit people into technology.” Here is my multi-modal text resource list for cultural literacy with a focus on First Nations culture:
- Three Day Road
I will start the collection with a resource I really like, which happens to be one of my favourite books, Three Day Road by Joseph Boyden. This rich story combines many topics including racism, war, snipers, residential schools, hunting and trapping, abuse, friendship, love, traditional medicine, spirituality, and addiction. There is a lot of opportunity to do further reading or research on WW1 or residential schools. Students can write book reviews on Goodreads.com, as recommended by Serefini (2013), or add quotes to a Reading Graffiti Wall, as suggested by Kelley and Miller (2013). Staff can role mode the importance of reading by having a sign on their classroom door with a picture of a book to advertise what they are currently reading (Kelley & Miller, 2013).
|Multimodal Text:||Book, eBook on Kindle, text to speech available|
|Title:||Three Day Road|
|I am Currently Reading :||(photo source amazon.com):|
|Summary:||Goodreads.com: It is 1919, and Niska, the last Oji-Cree woman to live off the land, has received word that one of the two boys she saw off to the Great War has returned. Xavier Bird, her sole living relation, is gravely wounded and addicted to morphine. As Niska slowly paddles her canoe on the three-day journey to bring Xavier home, travelling through the stark but stunning landscape of Northern Ontario, their respective stories emerge—stories of Niska’s life among her kin and of Xavier’s horrifying experiences in the killing fields of Ypres and the Somme.|
|Target Audience:||Senior secondary students|
|Type of Literacy:||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, eBook- digital literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy and further research on WWI and residential schools.|
|Reading Graffiti Wall Quote||“We all fight on two fronts, the one facing the enemy, the one facing what we do to the enemy.”|
- Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian
This next novel is not as challenging of a read as Three Day Road, but still follows our theme of racism, reservations, and First Nations characters. It is a very funny and entertaining read with a focus on basketball, which appeals to some of our junior students. The novel, Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, combines the protagonist’s doodles or illustrations along with the text. There is a lot of opportunity to engage students with the text using illustration or journal writing. I have also listed an example of a book trailer created for this novel by a student who shared his work on the internet. Students can sign out iPad minis from our library to create their own book trailers using iMovie, as suggested by Grisham (2013), or write reviews on Shelfari.com (Serafini, 2013).
|Multimodal Text:||Book, eBook on Kindle, text to speech available|
|Title:||Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian|
|I am Currently Reading:||(photo source amazon.com)|
|Summary:||Shelfari.com: In his first book for young adults, bestselling author Sherman Alexie tells the story of Junior, a budding cartoonist growing up on the Spokane Indian Reservation. Determined to take his future into his own hands, Junior leaves his troubled school on the rez to attend an all-white farm town high school where the only other Indian is the school mascot. Heartbreaking, funny, and beautifully written, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian, which is based on the author’s own experiences, coupled with poignant drawings by acclaimed artist Ellen Forney, that reflect the character’s art, chronicles the contemporary adolescence of one Native American boy as he attempts to break away from the life he was destined to live.|
|Target Audience:||junior secondary students|
|Type of Literacy:||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, eBook- digital literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy, book trailer- digital literacy & visual literacy|
|Reading Graffiti Wall Quote||“Traveling between Reardan and Wellpinit, between the little white town and the reservation, I always felt like a stranger. I was half Indian in one place and half white in the other. It was like being Indian was my job, but it was only a part-time job. And it didn’t pay well.”|
|Example Book Trailer Project||Created by Ryan Hopkinson (2013) as a class project on his novel study: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gXCSwsBlWZo|
3.Red: A Haida Manga
The third text is a graphic novel that we carry in our library called Red: A Haida Manga by Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas. This graphic novel has beautiful illustrations that brings to life traditional storytelling. Students can create their own graphic novel story boards using Comic Life software (using our district licence) or use Voice Thread to record a traditional myth or legend, as discussed by Grisham (2013). A book trailer set to music is included below.
|Multimodal Text:||Graphic novel|
|Title:||Red: A Haida Manga|
|Author:||Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas|
|I am Currently Reading :||(photo source: InsideVancouver.ca):|
|Summary:||From Inside Vancouver:
Red: A Haida Manga retells a classic Haida oral narrative through 108 pages of hand-painted images. The hardcover edition was nominated for the Bill Duthie Bookseller’s Choice Award, a Doug Wright Award for Best Book and a 2010 Joe Schuster Award for Outstanding Canadian Cartoonist. It was also an Amazon Top 100 book of 2009.Set in the islands off the northwest coast of B.C., the graphic novel features the orphan Red and his sister, Jaada. When raiders attack their village and Jaada is taken, her brother’s thirst for revenge leads his community to the brink of war. Hmmm, sounds pretty contemporary, doesn’t it?
|Target Audience:||all students|
|Type of Literacy:||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy, visual literacy|
|Book Trailer with music:||The official book trailer for the graphic novels shows the author introducing the story, animated scenes, and music being played against a backdrop of the novel’s story boards: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=POMbyPLhqRI|
Yellow Line by Sylvia Olsen is an Orca Soundings novel with high interest and low vocabulary, which is great for struggling or younger readers. Our library purchased this eBook with unlimited access so classes can read this novel together with lots of adaptations, such as larger print, text to speech, built in dictionary, etc. This book has many themes including love, racism, and First Nations culture. The book comes with a teacher’s guide and has a sequel, Middle Row.
|Multimodal Text:||Book, Orca Soundings Hi Lo book, eBook available in unlimited access through Follett|
|I am Currently Reading :||(photo source orcabooks.com):|
Vince lives in a small town—a town that is divided right down the middle. Indians on one side, Whites on the other. The unspoken rule has been there as long as Vince remembers and no one challenges it. But when Vince’s friend Sherry starts seeing an Indian boy, Vince is outraged and determined to fight back—until he notices Raedawn, a girl from the reserve. Trying to balance his community’s prejudices with his shifting alliances, Vince is forced to take a stand, and see where his heart will lead him.
|Target Audience||Junior grades, short book with low level vocabulary|
|Type of Literacy||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy with Teacher’s Guide, eBook-digital literacy|
|Reading Graffiti Wall Quote||Where I come from, kids are divided into two groups. White kids on one side, Indiands, or First Nations, on the other. Sides of the room, sides of the field, the smoking pit, the hallway, the washrooms; you name it. We’re on one side and they’re on the other. They live on one side of the Forks River bridge, and we live on the other side. They hang out in their village, and we hang out in ours.|
|Teacher’s Guide from Orca||http://digital.orcabook.com/teachersguides-yellowline/1|
The next book is a children’s picture book from a local author. I was given this book at one of our district’s Culture Camps. The book uses illustration and translation to tell the tale of a child preparing to go away to residential school. A short film (6 minutes) was also created to bring this story to life. Students can respond to this text using illustration, poetry, film, or doing further research on residential schools in our area. Engaging in critical literacy, students can write a letter or use Voice Thread to record what they would do with their last day before being taken way to a residential school. Literacy leadership is also a theme discussed in Leading Learning (Canadian Library Association, 2014). Classes can partner with an elementary class to read this story to younger students as part of a mentoring activity to role model literacy leadership.
|Multimodal Text:||Children’s Picture Book|
|Author:||Nicola Campbell, Kim LaFave|
|I am Currently Reading :||(photo source: Kidsbooks.ca)|
|Summary:||Kidsbooks.ca: In just four days young Shi-shi-etko will have to leave her family and all that she knows to attend residential school. She spends her last days at home treasuring the beauty of her world — the dancing sunlight, the tall grass, each shiny rock, the tadpoles in the creek, her grandfather’s paddle song. Her mother, father and grandmother, each in turn, share valuable teachings that they want her to remember. And so Shi-shi-etko carefully gathers her memories for safekeeping. Richly hued illustrations complement this gently moving and poetic account of a child who finds solace all around her, even though she is on the verge of great loss — a loss that native people have endured for generations because of the residential schools system.|
|Target Audience||Children, all students learning about residential school experience or learning Halq’eméylem language|
|Type of Literacy||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy, film -visual literacy|
|Short Film based on the book
|Shi-shi-etko is the first short film to be shot entirely in the Halq’eméylem language of the Sto:lo First Nation
Director: Kate Kroll
- 8th Fire
The last resources is a CBC documentary called the 8th Fire, which aired on TV, but is available in our district using our subscription to Learn360 in the ERAC video bundle. This documentary series looks at contemporary First Nations issues in Canada. We showed four episodes in the library at lunch during the We Stand Together week at our school. The CBC website features several articles and First Nations profiles that allows students to dig further into the content presented in the film. It is a good resource for opening up dialogue about modern day First Nations issues in our country.
|Multimodal Text:||Documentary series aired on TV and available for educators in ERAC Video Bundle subscription or from CBC Doc Zone http://www.cbc.ca/8thfire/|
|Title:||8th Fire: Indigenous in the City (one episode of many)|
|I am Currently Watching:||(pic sources http://www.cbc.ca/8thfire/)|
Run Time: [45:00]
Copyright: ©2012, CBC.
8TH Fire draws from an Anishinaabe prophecy that declares now is the time for Aboriginal peoples and the settler community to come together and build the ‘8TH Fire’ of justice and harmony.
In the opening episode of the four-part series 8TH Fire, host Wab Kinew, from the Ojibways of Onigaming First Nation in Northern Ontario, and now a Winnipeg-based TV journalist, invites us to come “meet the neighbours”. It’s about time, since many Canadians say they have never met an Aboriginal person. This vibrant kaleidoscopic hour, introduces a diverse cast of Indigenous characters living in the cities. They are united in a shared bond as Canada’s First Peoples and in their determination to reassert their culture within a wider population of non-Indigenous Canadians.
|Target Audience||Listed as grades 6-8, but we played this series in the library for all students grades 8-12 during our We Stand Together for Aboriginal Education Week|
|Type of Literacy||Traditional literacy, cultural literacy, lots of opportunity for critical literacy, visual literacy|
|Further Reading:||Lots of great related articles and personal profiles available on http://www.cbc.ca/8thfire/|