NWT Heritage Fairs: Teachers Resources Manual
Heritage Fairs Teacher's Guide
K-1 Projects should be full class.
- Find out where the Elders meet. For example, if there is a seniors’ home ask if they want to participate. Prepare the children ahead of time by talking to them about what life was like in their community 50 years ago. If possible, share some pictures of the community from past years and talk about what people did, how they lived, what they ate, what they wore, etc.
- Teach the students the word ‘interview.’ Mock an ‘interview’ in the class by selecting one student to sit on a chair at the front and ask them what their name is and what they like to do.
- Teach the students how to use a digital camera so they can take a picture of the adult or Elder they are interviewing.
- Work with the students to prepare a few questions they will ask the Elders in their own interview. Only ask three questions and keep them simple such as:
- What did you do when you were 5?
- Did you go to school? (If not, how did you learn?)
- What was their favourite thing when you were little?
- On the day of the visit to the centre or when Elders come into your school, try and have other volunteers to help. Have the volunteers do an activity with the larger group and work one-on-one with each child as they interview an Elder.
- Although the students are doing similar projects, they each have their own version. For example, purchase inexpensive frames that have room for three pictures (or make your own). Include a picture the student took of the Elder in the centre, a drawing the children did of something the Elder told them in one of the other panels and a few sentences typed up or printed in the other panel. It could be as simple as ‘Mary Rose sewed dolls with her Mom.’
- Examples of the three story panels done by children are as follows:
- One Elder described what that was like while she lived in the hospital until age 7 because she had TB. The child who interviewed her drew the picture of young child in hospital. Another talked about life on the trapline so the child drew a picture of the woods and a young boy walking in the woods with animals in the woods.
- Another idea would be to link with winter clothing. Focus the questions on what clothes Elders wore in the olden days when it was cold. Go outside sliding and take pictures of the children wearing their clothes ‘today’. In the same three panel frames each child could then include the picture of the Elder, a drawing of what they wore in the olden days and a photo of what they wear today. Label the drawing from the olden days in the Aboriginal language and the photo of what they wear today in English. Their write-up could also include a list of what was the same and what was different. Label the pictures, ‘then’ and ‘now’.
Grade 2 Ideas
- By Grade 2 it is ideal to get the families more involved. Student can interview a parent, auntie or uncle or someone older at home. Give each student an 11 X 17 paper and ask them to draw a picture of themselves and whoever they are interviewing. Help students to add lines on the paper indicating where they are to put the two names, two birthdates, and favourite foods when they were the same age, favourite games when they were the same age, etc. Compare then and now with the person they interview. This links to family and tradition units in the Grade 2 curriculum. Although it may seem daunting to get family participation, teachers who have tried this state after that it is well worth the effort. This effort might require phone calls to some families.
- Illustrate and act out a traditional story. There are many children’s books sharing stories from the NWT. Select a story as a group and assign a page to each student. They can illustrate the page in a similar way to the published version or they could make up their own drawing to match the text. They should write out the text for their assigned page. When it is time to present to the judges, each student does their own page (see picture below where the Grade 2 class from Chief Jimmy Bruneau School in Behchoko illustrated How the Fox Got His Legs Crossed).
Grade 3 Ideas
- By Grade 3, children can do more. For example, an interesting project is to learn about the historical sites around town (or just old buildings and who lived where or the old school, etc.). Teach the students how to use the digital camera and then go out for a walk of the town. Ask someone from the community to give a walking tour. For example, in Gameti, the language teacher remembers the time when only wall tents existed. The students learned about the two log homes built in the community and it turned out that one student was the great-grandchild of the original owner. Even though it is a group project, each child can do their own selected building. After they have taken a photo each child can complete research on that particular building. They can write a couple of sentences about that building and turn it into a postcard using a simple computer program. As an extension the class could make a ‘to scale’ walking map of town, learn how to use a GPS and make way points on the map or send the postcards to local and territorial leaders including the MP, MLA, etc.
- One Grade 3 class decided to do the Dene laws as a group. They used modelling clay in a similar manner as famous author/illustrator, Barbara Reid. Each child worked on a different Dene legend and made a book out of his or her artwork and displayed that in the school-wide Fair.
- Another Grade 3 class that learned about the Dene laws decided to do their project as a play. They acted out each of the laws and turned it into a video. For the school-wide Fair they set up a tipi with their class and had the video playing. Class groups could come into the tipi and watch their video. This worked well as some children wanted to work the camera, some had the job of putting up the tipi, others wrote the laws, directed, etc. They could find something for each child to participate in the full group project and feel a part of the Heritage Fair.
NOTE: If you’re worried that Heritage Fairs are an ‘extra’ and that you have so much content to deliver and not enough time it is possible to pick something from your curriculum. For example, in Grade 4 select the fur trade as a major theme. Within the fur trade theme, students can learn about a specific historical figure, furs, traps, about a company, a post, the modern day fur trade, etc. That way each project is adding to the full class learning on the specific curricular content as well as the other research skills. For this type of project it is still important that students find someone they can interview and a means of engaging them with their family and the community and not just do book/internet research.