Involve elders, parents, and local leaders in all aspects of instructional planning.

The lesson I wanted to talk about with the students through their community of elders, culture bearers, and families is how language empowers us. A mentor at BHS told me a story that resonated with me. She told me that when she learned that one of her cousins passed away that that information was relayed in English. She said she could not feel anything and she was surprised about the lack of feeling. She went on to tell me that the word for cousin in Inupiaq loosely translates to “a part of you is in a part of me”. When she went home and thought about losing her cousin in her native language, she felt a rush of emotions. My vision for this lesson is to invite elders, culture bearers, family members into the class to talk about boarding schools so that the students can hear first-hand how the times were back then, provide them with a balanced view, and build community. I am by no means the person to teach this portion of the lesson. I would like the students to find the issues that speak to them and reflect so that they are able to answer the question: what can we do today? In doing so, I feel that their editorial articles will be authentic and written for a greater audience than our class.

LBDrake Lesson Plan_2

3 thoughts on “Lesson”

  1. LB,

    I would love to be a student in this class based off your lesson plan! That story you shared rings close to home with me. My mother often had a hard time translating for me when we would go to India, and when she would she would say “it doesn’t capture the true meaning”, or “there are some things that just don’t translate.” I think bringing in culture bearers, elders, and so on is always a great idea!

  2. LB,
    This lesson/unit is amazing, I can see how much thought you have put into this. I think the Elder visit, incorporated with learning about the effects of boarding schools, is brilliant, especially considering how it may touch upon the oral tradition aspect of place-based learning. Along with that, you want to include other community members as well, which I think is great, because I think teachers often forget how there are other resources to help us learn for ourselves as well. I found that when the connections could be made from history/academia to our own lives and our own classmates’ lives, the engagement increases for sure. I would love to see this lesson in action!

  3. Laura-Beth, I like the subject and focus of your lesson plan. I also like how serious it is or it can be. I thought of a similar idea dealing with languages being taken away from Alaska Native students. This may be harsh but I was thinking that one day in class I would prohibit any student to speak English in class. If they did, they would somehow get punished. They would need to communicate with each other by some means other than English, even written. I was thinking that even a couple days of this would hit home even better.
    After the two days of no English, I would talk to the kids about how hard it was and explain that this kind of thing went on for years at schools across Alaska.
    Anyway, I like where you are going with this and hopefully, you use this in your class and keep building on it.

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