Coming Back to the Work After Breaks

Coming back after the holidays has been go go go for everyone. However, we all agreed we needed to give our students a refresher on Me, Family, Community. This has looked different in each of the settings. However in English 9 we are re-linking the students to “Me”, because we move back to individual experiencing whenever we are beginning, even if it is a refresher or not.

So prior to moving into a literature club and focussing on the role of place in defining person, we had the students re-examine their own characters in two ways. First they mind map who they are, and then they are looking at the role of “where they are from…”  to help see the link between who they are, and where they come from. What opportunities are available to them because of the place they come, how has the cultural practices of the First People influenced them, how has the time shaped them? The students choose the lenses that fit them, and then participate in an unpacking of character and place with a smaller team. In this exercise they will be making connections between their place and themselves by linking their likes, skills, family, opportunities to where they were born. As we will be looking at some dense material in their novels, we really want the students to examine the role being born into a place, time, and culture has in influencing a life. So as with everything we do we start with “Me” (the mind maps and poetry),  to make those personal connections, then move to “Family” (the group conversations about the connections between their mind maps and poems) to broaden the question and practice empathy while collecting the abilities of a family, then move into “Community” whereby we consider the implications to the larger community, in this case the novels we chose. We chose to use the mindmap because we wanted the students to feel unhindered in considering the different facets of “self” and believe the format of the mindmap doesn’t hem them in to being one thing over another. It allows them to think about themselves both broadly, and minutely. Further, we will be using the mind map app for identical reasons to do a character study and we want their perspective on mind mapping fresh while they are considering the pros and cons of the different mind map Apps, and what a successful mind map App would need to include.

As I explained in my last post, we have a mind map App now but we are still unsure about it, therefore, to find the right App the students will be working as Families to try out a number of brainstorming Apps they chose based on the criteria they made after mind mapping about themselves. We love this because we are using it as part of another lesson. The students will present the pros and cons of the App from a “Family” perspective, looking at the App under the lens of what would meet the family’s needs. This is a cultural perspective as we are reinforcing the collaboration and championing of the needs of the Family. Working together as a unit for the best of all, rather than trying to convince everyone that their groups App is best in order to win. It has really helped the students to understand the concept of the greater good as we work together to improve the overall conditions of our needs.

Below is an early example of the “I am from…” piece. We are really looking forward to the next steps.