Comments By Teachers
I learned so much over this time. Thanks so much for offering this program. It was an extremely useful rteaching tool. My students and I thank you. My First Nations children particularly enjoyed making connections with students, and shared ideas and common ground. We all enjoyed learining about Canada. Connections with other educators and students is extremely beneficial to all of us.
Andrea E. and Cathy T. BC.
My name is Kate. I am part Passamquoddy and teach at St. Andrews, New Brunswick. I am also associated with the new tribe St. Croix Scoodic in South West NB. I enjoy teaching about Native Issues and the fact that our grade 4 Social Studies Curriculum lends itself to teaching a Native Unit in the First Peoples of NB. We have just completed the unit and I enjoy teaching the Native crafts and their ways to my students. We did make dream catchers, head dresses, and rainsticks for our unit. We live in a Loyalist town that is a tourist attraction in summers, and so I first teach Native history, then Acadian history with French settlers, and finally Loyalist history with our year culminating with a visit to the King's Landing Loyalist Settlement, near Fredericton, NB our capital city.
My students enjoyed (KFK) and this program was super for connecting Native and non-Native children. We are so lucky to have people like you interested in promoting the connection. Thx.
Professionally, it was one of the most challenging & exciting things I've ever done! I hope the kids got as much out of it. I'm much more aware of the "Indian situation" in Canada, and read everything I find in the newspaper on it. (Before I read little or nothing). A terrific project! please keep it going and keep us posted!
Lois W., Saskatoon
What this program is teaching me though, is that I become so involved with activities within my class, I block out the rest of the world. A case of not seeing the forest for the trees ..or something. The issues raised within the program are often things that I have not taken the time to think about and have not gathered much information about. This makes me feel less than adequate as an educator...and yet I know I work very hard at my job. Maybe I can direct my energies differently in the future.
As Diane says, KANATA members found themselves dealing with many unexpected issues, such as a rash of tragic suicides within a New Brunswick Native community. While the Mounties were blocking off the roads from curious sightseers and a Royal Commission was conducting investigations, students across Canada were talking directly to the Native students as reported by teacher Lloyd P:
Your letters are so dear to our children. On a reserve where there have been few smiles and where there has been much grief lately, any outside support is appreciated. When the children receive your letters they are elated - often the excitement lasts for days. They are always eager to write back and they almost never give up when the responses are late in coming.
Both the children and the teachers (parents etc.) benefit from the communication
we have received from sympathetic schools and individuals in the KANATA
community. KANATA has in many ways been another dose of good medicine for
the people of Big Cove.
The idea of the project is brilliant. I have been waiting for some time for a project such as this. I think that it begins to tap into some of the real benefits of using electronic media in the classroom. The idea of triads was a stroke of genius. As it turned out, the number of participants in the project was almost overwhelming. However, the interaction within the triad was interesting and at about the right pace.
The benefits of the project are not "one time" benefits. I think that it is the beginning of expanding the classroom horizons. This is a great country. It is through projects such as this that we as teachers, and along with us our students, begin to get a feel for what the country is all about. I think we are all proud of our country but by this project we are getting a better sense of "community". At a more basic level, I have always tried to instill the need to develop keyboarding skills in my students. This project provided the motivation. Previously, they could hack their way through any program with one or two fingers. However, they quickly found that the process of writing to a penpal was very time consuming if they did not have a good basis in keyboarding. This was particulary compounded when we were in the CHAT mode with our partners.
I would like to see the project or something similar being made widely available to classes from all parts of Canada. "The more we get together, the better we'll be."
Curriculum connection -- writing, composing, editing, keyboarding, geography, creative and critical thinking skills, ... to name just a few. There are a lot of connectives in this project and many more can be made. It allows the classroom teacher to make some relevance to the "outside world" about what is being done in the classroom.
I would heartily encourage any teacher to become involved in a project of this nature and would personally welcome any opportunity to do so again.
We have had a great experience with Kanata this year. I hope we will be able to take up from where we left off this June. We have had a successful exchange of boxes, several live chats and even had the Burnt Church group take part in our school's Science Conference as presenters via the link. A great experience at both ends.
Lace here in Regina, SK. ... I found the exchange with other teachers and the learning experience in telecommunications to be invaluable. I think the Kanteachers conference alone is worth it's weight in gold. It is a valuable way for teachers accross the country to communicate and share ideas.
The Cultural Heritage class of Grant Collegiate, became involved in and were quite excited about the KIDS FROM KANATA program. As teachers, we looked not only at the program as a cultural experience but as an opportunity to avail of and experiment with a relatively new teaching resource.
Almost immediately after becoming involved in the project, our school became part of the first triad formed - "HALOWUH". We feel that being able to choose whom to team with was a good idea and a definite strength of the project.
Right away the class were keen to get going on some of the activities. A bulletin board was set up in the class to advertise the program and to post E-Mail on daily; students and teachers submitted biographies, promoted the project in the local newspaper as well as our own school publication, prepared school and community profiles and reacted to messages and bulletin board items. Probably the most unforgettable experience was the on-line session we engaged in with the other two members of the triad.
The instructions received as part of the start-up package were very user friendly and presented no problems whatsoever.
Another component of the project was the discovery boxes. Right from the beginning all our class projects were designed to be included in these boxes. Even parents and friends of the school volunteered their time to help complete projects. The discovery box activity, in our minds, was an excellent way to clue up the whole exchange. It provided students with an avenue through which they could trade mementos, and pass on information about school and community that could not be done on computer. It was a means of reinforcing all that had happened throughout the year and cement the relationships that were formed.
The KFK lessons were very successful. The students loved researching about themselves, their families, and their culture. They truly enjoyed discovering about their own families, and that of their students. I don't remember other lessons that allowed the students to laugh and share so much information. However, one thing that I was not prepared for was the amount of curiosity that each student had regarding their own families and that of others. I only wish that I had more class time to elaborate on the KFK aspect of ancestors and heritage. If I were to restructure my lessons for this unit, I would have placed more emphasis on the cultural aspect than I did on the family aspect. Perhaps I would have allowed the students to present their flag and a research paper about their culture, as oppose to spending two lessons on their family tree.
Even so, I truly enjoyed my KFK unit plans. I never thought that such
lessons could inspire so much curiosity and interest in the class. I believe
that this is due to the fact that my students enjoy learning about themselves,
and their peers. Also because my classroom is very diverse, and there was
a lot of learning to do regarding families and culture. The community walk
was perhaps the most successful of all the lessons. The students really
enjoyed working on the time capsule and examining their community through
different perspectives. I would have to conclude that KFK was a true success.
Fabiana S. Toronto