________________ CM . . . . Volume XIX Number 25 . . . . March 1, 2013


The First Nations Series for Young Readers Teacher Resource Grades 4-10.

Shawntelle Nesbitt.
Toronto, ON: Second Story Press, 2011.
148 pp., pbk., $29.95.
ISBN 978-1-926920-31-3.


Review by Gail de Vos.

***½ /4



Integrate a variety of learning and resource materials (i.e., biographies, photos, books, movies, stories, artifacts, letters, etc.), activities, and teaching methods that reflect and emphasize the diversity among individuals within any Aboriginal community. Ensure that students see and understand that each Nation has its own unique and distinct worldview, set of traditions, and culture (134).

While this resource guide was developed for use with "The First Nations Series for Young Readers", the lesson ideas and handouts can be utilized with any text to explore and incorporate the model of holistic learning. The guide stresses student use of critical thinking skills, understanding of equality and social justice. The lessons can be easily integrated into the Canadian school curriculum, especially in language arts and social studies for students in grades 4-12.

      The resource is organized into five major sections. The first one, "Wheels of Reflection", includes three graphic organizers that emphasize community and were inspired by the Aboriginal holistic worldview. The Anishnaabe Medicine Wheel is the foundation for all of the activities and lessons contained within this volume. It has been adapted at an "Authentic Learning Wheel" by the Durham District School Board but is generic in that it can be used in any region, district, or organization (25).

      "Thinking about community in our lives" is the focus of the second section with plans to encourage students to apply the concept of unity to their own local communities and classroom. Section three incorporates the lessons from the previous section with applications for the stories and articles in the First Nations Series. These six books are Environmentalists from our First Nations, Great Musicians from our First Nations, Men of Courage from our First Nations, Great Women from our First Nations, Great Athletes from our First Nations and Gray Wolf's Search. The subsequent sections further broaden the learning of these concepts and integrates them into students' researching, interviewing, writing, and other literacy skills to produce a biography of a local First Nation/Native American individual or organization exemplifying the ideals of responsible citizenship, social justice and human rights. The fifth section offers opportunities to reflect on the learning outcomes through this guided process. The appendix includes recommendations for inclusion of First Nations/Native American worldviews in classroom programs, a glossary, a comprehensive listing of online resources for Canada's First Nations and Native Americans followed by a bibliography of materials to aid educators to create a democratic classroom and critical literacy resources.

      This is an excellent resource to encourage a conversation on local, national or global social justice issues. It effectively demonstrates respect for all First Nations/Native Americans through its use of inclusive terms, respect for the multitude of individual nations, and for the belief in the potential of critical thinking skills of young people in classrooms today.

Highly Recommended.

Gail de Vos, who teaches at the School of Library and Information Studies for the University of Alberta and San Jose State University, is the author of nine books on storytelling and folklore.

To comment on this title or this review, send mail to cm@umanitoba.ca.

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