Friday, October 8, 2021

What Does Indigenous Mean? - And Why Some States No Longer Celebrate Columbus Day

While I was reviewing videos about Canadian Thanksgiving YouTube displayed a suggested video from CBC Kids News. The video is simply titled The Word Indigenous and it provides an animated explanation of what the word indigenous means when referring to people. The video also does a great job of explaining why the word indigenous is preferrable to other words. The video was created for a Canadian audience so there are some references that students in United States might not understand, but those differences do present another teaching opportunity for those of us in the United States. 

Here in Maine, as in a handful of other states, we no longer have Columbus Day as a state holiday. In its place we have Indigenous Peoples' Day. The Daily Bellringer just released a new video that explains the history of Columbus Day and why some cities and states are now celebrating Indigenous Peoples' Day instead. Watch the video on YouTube and open the description to find a set of discussion questions to ask your students.

Write Outside - Ideas for Writing

Thanks to one of Kevin Hodgson's blog posts, earlier this week I learned about the National Writing Project's Write Out 2021 campaign. This is a two week initiative beginning on Sunday, October 10th. The idea is to inspire writers through outdoor settings, particularly National Parks settings, but I think I any outdoor setting will suffice. 

Write Out 2021 is a combined effort of the National Writing Project and the National Parks Service. The theme of the project, beyond inspiration from the outdoors, is "palettes, storyboards, and cadences." I encourage you to read Kevin's blog post about Write Out to get some ideas about how the theme can be used by student writers. 

If you want your students to participate in Write Out 2021 head to the website and sign-up to receive writing prompts, activities, and events to support work in the classroom.  

Short Lessons on Canadian v. American Thanksgiving

Monday is Thanksgiving Day in Canada. It's about six weeks earlier than it is here in the United States. I've celebrated both versions of Thanksgiving and I can tell you that there are a lot of similarities between the two. There are also some differences between them. The following videos provide a humorous look at the similarities and differences between American Thanksgiving and Canadian Thanksgiving.

Reminder! You should always preview videos before showing them in your classroom. I know many high school teachers who will not have a problem sharing these, but teachers of younger students may want to proceed with caution with the second two videos.

Resources for Connecting Classrooms

Yesterday, during Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions Rushton and I answered a question about how teachers can find other classroom to connect with for collaborative learning. We came up with three suggestions. Those suggestions are explained below. 

Flipgrid's GridPals is available to any teacher who has a Flipgrid account. Through Gridpals you can find other teachers around the world who are looking to connect their students with yours for video conversations. Here's my short guide to using Flipgrid.

Edublogs has a list of public classroom blogs. Unfortunately, the list hasn't been updated since the end of 2019, but you still might use this list to find examples of how other teachers are using blogging in their classrooms. You can also use this list to find other teachers who are looking for classrooms to connect to their own for written dialogue.

iEARN was Rushton's suggestion for connecting classrooms. I haven't used it, but Rushton has more experience than I do with classroom exchange type of activities so I'd definitely check it out if I was trying to connect my classroom with another. iEARN's getting started guide is available here.

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