T4EA Nation Builder News

Treaty 4 Education Alliance - December 2018 Newsletter

Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex

Fishing Lake School * Asiniw-Kisik Education Campus

Keeseekoose Chiefs' Education Center * Muskowekwan School

Ocean Man Education Center * White Bear Education Complex Pheasant Rump

In This Issue:

  • New Newsletter Format!
  • Who We Are & Where We Come From
  • Comprehension: Making Connections
  • Book Of The Month
  • Dolly Parton's Imagination Library
  • B.E.A.D.S. Activities
  • Buffalo Child Stone
  • Numeracy Centers
  • Learning the Land at Batka Lake
  • N'we Jinan project song released by Cote First Nation students
  • Music Residency at AKEC
  • Career Guidance
  • Spread The Love!!
  • Submit Your Successes!

Our Newsletter Is Changing!

The Treaty 4 Education Alliance team has decided to take the newsletter in a new and exciting direction! We have decided that we are going to no longer produce just a Literacy Newsletter. Going forward, we are going to make the newsletter more inclusive and create the Nation Builders News! This will allow each branch of our alliance to contribute to the newsletter and it will make finding information easier for you, as readers.

We would like to hear your feedback on the new format and we welcome all suggestions that you might have. We are always looking for new creative ideas! If there is something you would like to see in the newsletter, or would just like to share a thought, you can contact us by clicking the envelope button at the top of this page, or the 'contact Treaty 4 Education Alliance' button the bottom.

A goal of ours is to reach as many people as possible. A way that you can help us to do this is to like our newsletter and share it on whatever app you prefer (facebook, instagram, twitter, ...). You can also share our newsletters by printing them and hanging them for others to read. You can easily do this by downloading and printing the PDF version of the newsletter. We provide a download option at the very end of the newsletter.

Who We Are and Where We Come From Book Series

Who We Are and Where We Come From is a literacy initiative completed by all of the schools within the Treaty 4 Education Alliance. The goal was to connect the students with the elders of the community, conduct interviews and then work together to put the information into a book for each community to keep. Artist Michael Lonechild worked with the students in each community to paint pictures for their book.

Last school year, our schools were able to bring their published books back to their community to share, but the overall goal of T4EA was to ultimately connect all of the books in the series in a way that each of the schools would have access to all of the books. The idea was to promote the history and teachings of each community and use the books to learn about each other.

Our website, http://educationalliance.ca, now has all of the books in digital form. They are located under the resources tab. For your convenience, I have added a button below that will bring you directly to the section of our website that holds the complete series.

There are a total of 7 books in the series. With the books being in a digital format, you are able to access them with a smartboard, projector, computer, or any ipads in your classroom. When you click on a book in the series, you are able to flip through the pages as you would with a regular book.

Here are some ways that you can use the Who We Are and Where We Come From series in your classroom:

  • Start with reading the book from your community. What can you learn from it. What are some things that you did not know prior to the reading?
  • Imagine that you are a student from your community 500 years in the future, what do you think you would be saying about your community in the year 2018/2019? What would you want those future students to know and remember about your community right now?
  • Compare the books of other communities to the book of your own. What are the similarities? Differences? What did you learn that you did not already know?
  • Have the students work in small groups to read the books of the other communities and present them to the class. Presentations can be in a variety of formats such as videos, songs, posters, poems, essays, and so on.
  • How are the lives of the people in the books different from your life right now? How are they similar? How do you think the life of your future great great grandchildren will be different from your life right now?
  • What impact do you think the creation of your community book has on your community? If you were in charge of creating a book for your community, is there something that you would have changed about the book? What do you think was left out of the book, if anything? What would you keep the same?
Who We Are and Where We Come From Series

Find all of the books in the Who We Are and Where We Come From Series here!

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Improving Comprehension: Making Connections

"Background knowledge is all that you, as a reader, bring to a book: your personal history, all you've read or seen, your adventures, the experiences of your day-to-day life, your relationships, your passions. All of this becomes your background knowledge."

Your background knowledge helps you understand what you read. The more background knowledge you develop and use, the more you can make sense of and remember new information.

Sometimes we need to help students activate their background knowledge. Text to self, text to text, and text to world are the three most common connections that children will make.

Text to Self - This is where what you read reminds you of something from your own life. These connections allow us to make an emotional connection that drives attention and helps us remember what we read.

Text to Text - With text to text connections, what you read reminds you of something else you have read or seen on television or at the movies, or something that you have heard, such as a song.

Text to World - When text to world connections are made, what you read reminds you of something in the broader world. The books, articles, and stories you read make you think of something beyond your own life. These are often bigger "idea" connections.

Tips for Building Background Knowledge:

  • Share your own memories while reading.

"This reminds me of..."

"This makes me wonder..."

  • Stop and ask questions when there is something that seems confusing. Do research if necessary.
  • Use sticky notes to jot down connections you made while reading a text.
  • Read different texts on the same topic, compare and discuss.
  • Model making connections while reading with your class.
  • Ask students to share their connections with the class. Students can form new connections by hearing/discussing the connections of other students.

Questions to Reveal Student Thinking:

  • Can you relate to the characters in the story?
  • How is this text similar/different than other stories you have read?
  • How are events in this story similar/different than events in the real world?
  • Think out loud about what you did to activate what you already knew before reading that book. Can you share this with the class?
  • As you read that passage, did anything remind you of your own life? How does thinking about what you already know help you understand this part of your reading.
  • What do you know about the way this poem is organized?
  • How did thinking about what you already know help you figure out this word?
  • How did remembering the last book you read in this series help you better understand this book?
  • How does your background knowledge help you predict what happens next?
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Book Of The Month

At the end of the last school year, we handed out multiple copies of the 2016 Willow Book Award books to each of the schools. We want to make them as useful to the classroom teachers as possible so we will feature a book a month and provide the resources for teachers to use the books in their classrooms.

If you are wanting to use a book that we have not yet featured, you can visit the Willow Awards website at https://willowawards.ca/previous-years/2016/ and click on the book. A window will pop up with some information about the author, the illustrator and some suggested activities.

When Santa Was A Baby

Written by Linda Bailey

"Santa's parents think he is absolutely wonderful, even though he has a booming voice, loves to stand in front of the refrigerator, gives his birthday presents away, trains his hamsters to pull a matchbox sleigh, and has an unusual interest in chimneys. Santa is an oddball kid who fulfills his destiny."

Possible Activities:

  1. Many families have special holidays that they celebrate. What special holidays do you and your family celebrate? Make a picture showing your family celebrating together.
  2. Many of Santa’s characteristics are included in the famous poemT’was the Night Before Christmas. Watch the video version of this poem (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=vZfSoJmS1ug) or borrow the book from your library. Which of Santa’s characteristics are mentioned in both?
  3. Make Connections: Does Santa as a baby remind you of anybody that you know? Have you ever read another book about Santa? What were some similarities/differences?
  4. Pick an adult character from another book and write about what they might have been like as a baby.
  5. Think about last Christmas. If you gave away your presents, who would you give them to and why?

Dolly Parton's Imagination Library

Dolly Parton’s Imagination Library of Canada is a free book gifting organization devoted to inspiring a love of reading in the hearts of children everywhere. Each month, enrolled children receive a high quality, age appropriate book.

All children ages 0-5 years old are eligible to become a part of this initiative between Treaty 4 Education Alliance and the Dollywood Foundation. To begin the process a list is needed from each band with the information needed, child’s birthdate, and if attending preschool, daycare or kindergarten. The children will receive a book every month from birth to their 5th birthday at no cost to the school or the parents.

We are very excited to be bringing such an early childhood literacy opportunity to each community. We are looking forward to seeing the children’s faces as they open their parcels.

B.E.A.D.S. Activities To Try This Month

Buffalo Child Stone

This story was told in it is original nēhiyawēwin (Plains Cree) by Barry Ahenakew from yēkoskāwikamāhk (Sandy Lake) Ahtahkakoop First Nation.

Mostos-awāsis asiniy was a site located south of present day Saskatoon. It was a gathering location for all divisions of the nēhiyawak (Plains Cree). They gathered around the stone every year to partake in trade, ceremony and to solidify allegiances. At one time there would be more than thirteen thirst dance lodges conducted.

This is the story of how the stone came to be in that location. In the 1960's the stone was blown to pieces to make way for the Gardiner Dam.

Some possible ways to use this story in your classroom are:

  • Draw a picture or create a storyboard to retell the story visually
  • Recognize kinship
  • Write your own story
  • Interview an elder
  • Ask somebody in your family to share a story with you
  • Recognize the relationship between the natural world and the First Nations people
  • Research the history of the Buffalo Child Stone
  • Research other sacred sites in and around your community

Numeracy Centers

The holiday season has arrived! This is an awesome time of the year to revisit any concepts you’ve covered in Numeracy so far this year. Centers are a great way to bring these concepts back. The following are a couple ideas to use in your classroom.

Learning the Land at Batka Lake

In October, we held our first Learning the Land event with Chief Gabriel Cote Education Complex. We took the students out to Batka Lake, within Duck Mountain Provincial Park. The following photos are some of the highlights from this extraordinary experience.

Miigwetch to the Grade 6/7 class and elder Francis for their engagement in the day. We would also like to send out a big thank you to our partnerships with Outward Bound Canada for helping to organize and co-facilitate this event with us; as well as the Nature Conservancy of Canada for hiring a professional photographer to come spend the day with us too.

© All photos by Dane Roy.

"Look At Me"

We are proud to share the latest song creation from the youth of Cote First Nation! "Look At Me" is a powerful song of reality and hope, from the hearts and minds of these beautiful young people. T4EA is honoured to work in partnership with N'we Jinan to bring these important projects to the Nations of the Alliance.

Take a listen, share with your friends, and talk with the people in your circles about the messages these kids are sharing!

N'we Jinan

N'we Jinan Artists - "LOOK AT ME" // Cote First Nation by N'we Jinan

Music Residency at AKEC results in student showcase

Students in grades 7-12 at Asiniw Kisik Education Campus on Kawacatoose First Nation completed a two-week music and songwriting workshop with artists-in-residence, Mob Bounce. They performed their completed songs at a community gathering on November 29, 2018. Students will now head into a three-week dance workshop with artist-in-residence, Eddy Alvaro, on Dec. 4, 2018.
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Career Guidance

Deadlines for Fall 2019 University and College Applications Are Approaching

The deadlines for most programs beginning September 2019 are as follows: (click on the links to find out important dates for each program)

University of Saskatchewan February 15, 2019

University of Regina March 15, 2019

Sask Polytech February 15, 2019 (priority deadline)

Have You Heard of MyBluePrint? Sign Up Now!!

MyBluePrint is a fantastic career/education planning program that has many different tools to help students make the most informed decisions about their future.

Discover yourself - Who Am I assessments

Track towards graduation and beyond - Allows students to visually plan towards province-specific graduation requirements while instantly discovering their eligibility for every post-secondary pathway in Canada.

Explore your opportunities - Search, filter, and compare local, province-specific information on apprenticeships, programs, and occupations to ensure students make better decisions and are more prepared for the future.

Record and share what matters - Keep track of important experiences, activities, achievements, skills, and more with highly configurable resume and cover letter builders.

Learn real world skills - Understand the basics of money management and improve your financial literacy with actionable budgets, learn how to set and track towards SMART goals, and discover what local employers are looking for with job search tools.

MyBluePrint has features that counsellors and teachers love

The Education Planner makes it easy to implement a school-wide or class specific guidance and career initiative

Connect to your SIS: Connect student records so they are always accurate and up-to-date.

Easily manage students: View engagement, plan activities, and manage your school or class.

See what’s new: Browse a live activity feed and filter work by student, tags, media, comments, and dates.

Run in-depth reports: Easy access to meaningful student data.

Quickly communicate: Send a class bulletin to families and/or students, or send private messages directly to parents.

Encourage participation: Create class activities with clear steps students can complete to meet learning objectives.


Teachers – to create your account:

  1. Visit www.myBlueprint.ca/treatyfour

  2. Select- SIGN UP and select your school from the drop down menu.

  3. Select- NOT A STUDENT? Teachers, counsellors, and Parents sign up here.

  4. Select- your role.

  5. Complete the form for account creation

  6. Open your email to verify you’re my Blueprint account.

To create student accounts: (all students must have an email account)

  1. Visit www.myBlueprint.ca/treatyfour

  2. Select SIGN UP and select their school from the drop down menu.

  3. Select their grade.

  4. Complete the form for account creation.

  5. Students will have to open their email to verify their My Blueprint account.

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Show Your Christmas Spirit & Spread The Love!!

As a new newsletter initiative, we would like to invite you to send us an acknowledgement or shout out to somebody in your school that has made you appreciate them in a new way. Maybe they did something to help you out during a time of need, or they were in the right place at the right time to lift your spirits when you needed it most. This can be somebody who has offered you a shoulder to lean on or a step up in the right direction. Maybe this person is a good leader, or listener, or has done something that has made you just think "Wow!"

We are asking that you send your acknowledgments to me through email or text at (306) 331-7556. We would like to have them by the end of the month so that they can be put in the newsletter for December.

You can write your acknowledgment with your name attached or you can send it to me with an anonymous tag letting me know that you don't want your name posted on the newsletter.

This is something that we would like to continue on a monthly basis to raise people's spirit and let them know that we appreciate the things that they do. If you want to send in more than one, feel free to send as many as you want!

"Thanks to Miss Wanner for getting extra funding dollars for our Family Literacy Program."

- White Bear Education Complex

"Our school cook Candace is doing a fabulous job with the lunch program."

- White Bear Education Complex

"I have to acknowledge the elementary wing teachers at our school (AKEC), when I visit this wing, the students are actually engaged in various activities whether it be reading, writing or math. So Good Job Teachers! Keep up the good work."

- Brenda Favel

"Also, to the all staff at AKEC for making my job a little bit easier as an administrator, hats off to the crew. Thank you."

- Brenda Favel

"Faith is out in the schools ensuring that there is in school support with assessments from the team and working directly with the teachers."

-Yolande Howrie

"Shout out to Cree Language teacher Tammy Thomas and the class of Grade 6 teacher, Nicole McNab, who took me outside for a walk and photo-shoot. As a newcomer to Treaty 4 Education Alliance, your kindness, generosity and enthusiasm meant a lot to me. Here's a photo essay from the fall. I love this outdoor learning space, right behind your school. I can just imagine all the lessons this land is offering your community. Tammy and Nicole, I hope to learn more from you and your students."

- Sheena Koops

Submit Your Successes!

We are surrounded by bright and talented people every single day! There is so much creativity and great ideas floating around our schools and we want you to share this with us so that we can highlight your hard work and skills!

We are asking you to share with us any classroom successes, highlights, stories, pictures, jokes and/or written stories that we can add to our newsletter to share with all of our readers.

We would also appreciate any feedback you might have about our Nation Builders News. This includes ideas/suggestions, topics to write about, and general thoughts. Maybe you tried an activity we suggested or had to modify it to fit your classroom. We would love to know how it went or any modifications you made.

You can submit your successes, stories, pictures, ideas and suggestions by clicking on the contact Treaty 4 Education Alliance button at the top of the newsletter or by emailing myself directly at sballard@educationalliance.ca.

It is important to note that any student submissions need to be accompanied by a media release form. I have provided a copy of the media release form below.

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