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K-12 Evaluated Resource Collection

Shannen and the Dream for a School

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Author/Publisher/Website: Wilson, Janet
Copyright: 2011
Evaluation/Record Entry Date: Mar/2014
Submitting suppliers/Website: Not Available
Primary Identifier: 1926920309
Recommended Grades and Subjects/Courses: 5-10
(View recommended grades and subjects)

Resource Description

This is the true story of Shannen Koostachin and the people of the Attawapiskat First Nation, a Northern Cree community, who have been fighting for a new school since 1979 when a fuel spill contaminated their original school building. Shannen's fight took her all the way to Parliament Hill and was taken up by children around the world. Shannen’s dream continues today with the work of the Shannen's Dream organization and those everywhere who are fighting for the rights of Aboriginal children.

CURRICULUM FIT

Does the resource support BC curriculum?
Extensively
This product supports the Core Competencies of the BC curriculum:
Reading
Social Responsibility
Comments:
The resource addresses learning outcomes in Social Responsibility, Social Studies and English Language Arts

SOCIAL CONSIDERATIONS

Indigenous Peoples:
Aboriginal people are often referred to as "Indians," in context, by the aboriginal people themselves. This is not meant to be a derogatory comment, but the use of the term needs to be explained/taught.
Language:
"You can't trust what white people say." This comment was made in the context of the story and was quickly rebutted by Shannen who presented another side of the story in a more positive frame. This is one example of a number of such comments.
Do the social considerations support, rather than detract from, student learning?
Extensively
Social Considerations Comments:
There are some negative, derogatory comments, but they are all given in context and provide a realistic view of how the people of the Attawapiskat First Nation felt about their situation. More positive comments are made as well, and different viewpoints are presented. The Cree belief system of the Seven Grandfathers, the Creator and more is represented thoughtfully and throughout, by way of dialogue, traditions (Powwow Fancy dance)and ceremony.

GENERAL CONTENT

Content
Should this product be identified as Canadian?
Yes
Is the resource engaging?
Extensively
Is the content current for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content accurate for the intended curriculum and grade?
Extensively
Is the content timely and important for student broad understandings?
Extensively
Is the resource an Authentic First Peoples Text?
Yes
Audience:
Is the content appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Extensively
Does the resource provide opportunities for creative and critical thinking?
Extensively
Can the content be differentiated?
Not at all or slightly
Can reading level be adjusted?
Not at all or slightly
Is the level of detail appropriate?
Extensively
Is the content of particular interest to male students?
Extensively
Is the content of particular interest to female students?
Extensively
Is the language use appropriate to the emotional maturity and cognitive level of students?
Moderately
Comments:
This resource is best suited for grades 6-10. The text is fairly simple to read but the content is quite deep and rich and requires some explicit teaching to fully understand the content. Many quotes and comments are made that require extensive scaffolding and background knowledge to put them into context.

TECHNICAL DESIGN

Does the resource make effective use of the medium?
Extensively
Is the location of illustrations appropriate?
Extensively
Is the resource easy to use?
Extensively
Is the use of font, text size and presentation uniform?
Extensively
Are extraneous elements/illustrations kept to a minimum?
Extensively
Comments:
This novel includes copies of non-fiction resources such as newspaper clippings, photographs, and supplementary materials, from the time of the events discussed, that support the understanding of the story very well.

INSTRUCTIONAL DESIGN

Is the resource suitable for a wide range of learning and teaching styles?
Moderately
Does the resource support the transfer of learning to personal or applied contexts?
Moderately
Comments:
The themes presented in this book may provide for new thoughts, ideas and opinions on these historical events. The controversial nature of these events provides for critical thinking and analysis.

PRINT NOVEL

Does the text show insight into the complexity of the human condition?
Extensively
Does the text broaden students’ experiences and understanding?
Extensively
To what degree is this text stylistically rich?
Moderately
Plot description:
This story begins in 2008, when Shannen Koostachin launches a protest against the Ministry of Indian Affairs in order to get a safe school built on the Attawapiskat reserve. Their previous school had been torn down as the land it was on had been contaminated by a fuel spill. The story follows Shannen and her classmates on their journey to Ottawa to fight for the Children's Rights to an equitable, safe education for all students of Canada.
Related Comments:
Well-developed themes include: equity & equality; UN Rights of the Child; perseverance; family values; Aboriginal culture, traditions and beliefs; power of the child's voice; cooperation and collaboration.
Genre:
Contemporary
fictionalized account non-fiction events
Literary Highlights:
Complex conflict
Rich Characterization
Well-developed themes
Type:
Novel
Literary non-fiction
Visual Highlights:
Novel
Literary non-fiction

ADDITIONAL COMMENTS

Readability:
Below intended grade level(s)
Comments:
The author's website for this novel has extensive information on the biography of Shannen, along with a study guide / questions for discussion. Awards: First Nation Communities Read 2012-2013 selection; nominee for the Silver Birch Award 2013; finalist for the 2013 Red Cedar Awards in BC; finalist for the Juvenile Non-Fiction ForeWord Reviews Book of the Year Award 2012.

SUGGESTED CLASSROOM USAGE

Comments:
Language is more simple than the conflicts and themes presented. This allows access for most readers. Usages include: stand alone resource, small-group guided study; supplementary materials for social studies, social justice and global awareness.
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