This past week, we were introduced to the topic of residential schools through the picture book "Shi-shi etko." It is a beautiful story about a young girl preparing to head off to school until the spring. She spends her last four days exploring her local environment and collecting things in her "bag of memories." Students first tried to connect with an event or a feeling in the story. We also practiced visualization of our own special places to help us gain a sense of Shi-shi etko's happiness in her land.
We also discussed the difference between quick and deep-thinking questions this week. When reading, we want to ask deep-thinking questions because they help us to better understand the story and its characters. These types of questions can be asked before, during, and after reading. Since we had already read "Shi-shi etko." we practiced asking questions after reading.
We also knew there was a second picture book that followed, so most of us couldn't wait to read it. This one was called "Shin-chi's canoe" and told the story of Shi-shi etko and her younger brother, Shin-chi, at residential school. Although it is a fictional story, we discussed how it likely mentioned many realistic things about residential schools. We developed a list of questions that we'd like to explore so we can better understand this topic. They are a combination of before, during, and after reading questions.
Many of us are intrigued by this topic and wanting to learn more. Hopefully we will be able to explore it further in the new year with some short novels based on true events from this part of Canadian history.
We are a class of Grade 6/7 students in Surrey, BC, Canada. This blog is one way we will share our learning with the world!