Authentic Task Design for National Indigenous History Month
As teachers, we are designers of the learning that happens within the walls of our classroom. Having participated in Galileo Learning Leader Sessions and Learning Through the Arts, we understand the importance of deep noticing and questioning. Having discovered a shared passion for Indigenous issues, we collaborated on an authentic learning task around Truth and Reconciliation for grade 9 students. We chose June for this task, as it is Indigenous History month and coincides with a Glenbow Museum exhibit by the provocative Indigenous artist, Kent Monkman. The CBE Indigenous Strategy and Alberta’s Expression of Reconciliation were the main drivers behind our task design; keeping these in mind, we gathered resources to provide deep learning experiences.
To start, students examined a moccasin from the Changing Lives of the Blackfoot museokit from the Glenbow as a provocation to foster deep understanding of the impact of residential schools on First Nations people, and in particular the Blackfoot in Alberta. They took time to notice deeply and identify layers of detail in the artifact, and shared with the larger group. As the noticing activity continued, the students began to express curiosity about the moccasin, and moved organically into questioning. Their questions reflected a deeper understanding of the artifact, and exploring these questions more deeply encouraged them to begin to make connections, identify patterns, exhibit empathy, create meaning and engage in the story that the artifact presented.
Moving forward, we will foster deeper understanding deeper understanding through immersion in literature, primary sources, visual art, artifacts and video.