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. 


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