Sunday, June 26, 2016

Canadian Book Week: The Giving Tree A Retelling of A Traditional Metis Story

This summer Mrs. D from Reading with Mrs. D has organized a weekly link up party for Canadian teacher bloggers. I am very excited to be invited to participate with Desiree and other fantastic Canadian bloggers! Below is the blogging plan created by Mrs. D. I won’t be able to participate every week, but I’ll participate as much as I can!  

When I found out the first topic for the weekly summer link up I got excited! I have a soft spot for Canadian children's books and in particular I have a large collection of First Nations children’s books that I like to use in my classroom. One of my favourites is a book by Metis author Leah Dorian called ‘The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story’. I love this story for a variety of reasons which I will get into later, but I particularity love this story because as a Metis teacher I like to use this story to share a little about my family history and culture with the students in my class. 

‘The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story’ is a story about respect, kindness, generosity, and honesty, and it would fit nicely with the virtues program. ‘The Giving Tree: A Retelling of a Traditional Metis Story’ is about a tree that is used by Metis people as a cache. People would leave messages, food, and supplies for a time when their Metis family and friends were traveling or in need. The story is beautifully written, but the pictures tell the real story, and the pages are filled with images of Metis symbols such as:  the infinity symbol which is shown above the family’s heads as a halo. The infinity symbol is used on the Metis flag and represents pride and unity for Metis people. The Metis sash is shown around the waist of the father and the mother carries a baby on her back in a moss bag and cradle board. The pages are also filled with many nature images includes animals, trees, and water. Leah Dorian has a unique style to her illustrations that includes bright and vibrant colours and lots of dot designs which symbolize the beadwork that the Metis people are famous for. This story is written in both English and has a Michif translation on each page. Each book also comes with a CD where students can listen to the story in both English and Michif.  This feature is very cool, because of colonization, there are currently fewer than 1000 fluent Michif speakers around today. Writing down and publishing Aboriginal languages is a way of preserving the language in a small way. 

To accompany this blog post I have also create a freebie that can be found in my TPT store. This freebie is full of activities to accompany Leah Dorian's book and includes: an my values tree art activity, a traditional Metis values spinner, a graphic organizer for students to set goals on how they are going to improve on three of the traditional Metis goals, and 8 task cards with activities that relate to the story. The 8 task cards can be used in the classroom as  whole class lessons or as literacy centres. 

If you are looking for more resources about Metis traditions and culture check out my Metis: Traditions and Culture Unit. It is jam packed with a variety activities including: hands on activities, arts and crafts, reading, writing, and partner activities. 


Saturday, June 4, 2016

School Fundraising Ideas

Fundraising requires volunteers, organization, and perseverance. Schools fundraise for a variety of reasons: field trips, a new playground, library books, scholarships, events such as: graduations and celebrations.  A school may also want to  fundraise to raise money for an outside cause such as a family who has lost their home, or a crisis. I recently attended a school fundraiser and they were raising money for the Canadian Red Cross to help the families who were displaced because of the Fort McMurray Fires. 

Schools fundraise in a variety of different ways. Here are some ideas for school fundraisers: 

Fun Fairs:
Fun Fairs have the potential to make quite a bit of money.  They do require a lot of organization and volunteers. It works well to have a ticket booth at the entrance of the event and have Fun Fair guests purchase tickets to participate in the events. Each event will have a ticket cost to participate. Games such as fishing with magnets, shooting hoops, hockey shooting, balloon pop, lollypop tree…  A Fun Fair is not complete without a silent auction where local businesses donate items that guests at the Fun Fair bid on. The person who bids the highest wins the item. The cake walk is another big hit. Have a cake decorating contest among the students and use those cakes for the cake walk. The cake walk is similar to musical chairs where you tape 20 numbers to the floor and have 18 participants (2 numbers free are needed to ensure everyone can walk) when the music starts everyone walks around the circle and when the music stops everyone stops on the number they land on. The leader of the game pulls a number from a bucket and the player who is standing on that number gets to pick out a cake. bouncy castles, laser tag, climbing walls, and carnival rides can be rented through local party rental organizations, but they are costly. Last, but not least the concession needs to be filled with BBQ, drinks, and desserts. 

Loonie Toonie Events: 
In Canada we have loonies ($1 coins) and toonies ($2 coins) and a Loonie Toonie is similar to a silent auction in terms of local organizations and businesses donate items to the Loonie Toonie and participants purchase either $1 tickets or $2 tickets. In front of each item is a sign that says whether the item is a $1 or a $2 item, and each item also has a paper bag where participants and put their ticket into. At the end of the event one ticket is drawn from each item’s bag and the winner is announced. 50/50 draws could be happening throughout the day and tables can be purchased by local artists who want to sell their arts, crafts, and goods. A bake sale and concession would do well at an event like this! 

Arts and Crafts Sale or Community Garage Sale: 
These events are always fun and part of the proceeds from each table go to the school. This event could also have 50/50 draws, raffles for donated items, and a concession with proceeds going to the school. 

Sell Student Made Items:
Have students draw, paint, or photograph images for Christmas cards or calendars and then have a local company print them or  print them yourself and sell the Christmas cards in bundles of 10 to families or have them for sale in the school office and in local stores with the proceeds going to the school. A cook book with student’s families recipes might also be a good seller.  

Art Auction: 
Set up a pop up art gallery and auction off student art. You could also have live entertainment and sell tickets for juice and cheese. 

Have students collect pledges for a spell-a-thon or a school marathon with the money raised going to the school. 

Bottle Drive or Recycling Round up: 
Collect cans and bottles door to door, or have students bring their exchangeable recycling to the school on the event day. 

Car wash: 
Older students can spend a day washing cars. This is a good fundraiser to ask a local mall or gas station to allow the school to use a portion of their parking lot for the car wash. Advertise in the newspaper, or on your local radio station, and make sure to have lots of big colourful signs advertising your car wash! 

Raffle off a basket or a donated item: 
At a school I used to work at, they had a local artisan donate a piece of artwork and the school sold raffle tickets out of the office for months and also had a table set up to purchase tickets from at the annual Christmas concert. The school finally did the draw at the end of the Loonie Toonie fundraiser. Another raffle idea is before a special event have each classroom be responsible for creating a themed basket. The class can fundraise to purchase items, ask local businesses to donate items, or have students each bring in a item that fits the theme. The baskets can be raffled at a school wide function. 

Have a special school wide hot lunch:

Students each pay a small amount to get a hotdog, juice box, and cookie for lunch. This is a good fundraiser to do regularly and it is a good fundraiser to have parent volunteers  or an older class in the school help with.