• Tate Alvarez

Week 8 in the books!

Hello wonderful families,

This week has been full of storytelling wonders. During read aloud we have been reading a biography about Malala Yousafzai. Malala is a brave young woman who advocates for the opportunity for education for all people. While she has done and overcome some extraordinary things, the beauty and importance of learning about someone like Malala is how ordinary she actually is. Oftentimes we think of heroes of our country, or even globally, and we think of the giants, the big politicians or the faces to movements. Malala was 11 years old when she began writing a secret blog about her experience with the Taliban in Mingora. While she has gone on to do great things with her life, those great things stemmed from her and her family's decision to allow her a chance to get an education when it would have been the safer option not to. I hope reading and learning about Malala gives our littles the understanding that young people can do great things and effecting change is not out of their reach. 

During project time, we continued to learn about different ways to tell stories, with a focus on oral tradition. They learned about what oral tradition meant to people in both Ojibwe and West African cultures. We first led the conversation talking about what it meant to be indigenous and how we are currently on land that used to belong to others. We then watched a video of a telling of the Ojibwe story of the Birch Tree. Students then discussed why they believed this story was told, which can be summarized with the usual three reasons (for entertainment, to teach people something, to convince someone of something). We decided as a group, that while it was an entertaining story, that it might have been told to teach young children of the importance of the birch tree, and all that it can provide to us.

Below are pictures of some of the students reciting the story from memory:

The next day we learned about the West African storytellers, griots. To be a griot is an honor, they are people who hold stories and history for generations to come. It is said, “When a Griot dies it is like an entire library is burning to the ground.” We watched a video of a modern-day griot, Sibo Bangoura, who explained what a griot was, and shared that there can be a musical component to their storytelling. He showed this by impressively playing the kora, while singing a traditional West African song, and later playing a drum. We were all in awe with his musical abilities and how quickly he was able to strum and drum!! I’ll leave the video here for your viewing:

Throughout the week, we have been preparing for Indigenous People’s day and how we plan to honor Indigenous folks on Monday, October 12th. We have read different stories from the Ojibwe people, each having a common theme in the protection of natural resources, primarily water. We read the books Ajijaak, The Water Walker, and We are Water Protectors. With each read, we discussed how sacred water is and how essential it is to our survival as people. We discussed different ways we could be Water Protectors and how we could show up for our Indigenous friends. On Friday we signed a Water Protector Pledge and will be bringing that home for you all to see!

Here is a link I provided for distant learners with some ideas of what you can do at home to celebrate Indigenous People's Day!


I’ll leave you with some pictures of us at County Farm Park this week, enjoying the beautiful weather:

Have a wonderful LONG weekend – and I hope you find time to honor the land we are all on! 😊


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