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Saturday, 22 November 2014

This Christmas, give a book as a gift. Pick your FREE book from Maskwacis Library on November 25, 2014

This Christmas

Give a book as a gift

Pick your FREE book

From Maskwacis Library

On November 25, 2014

Free Book pick up time: 12-1 pm

Call 780 585 3925

Ask for Manisha for the Christmas gift book giveaway

See you on Tuesday, November 25

Friday, 26 September 2014

Young Children’s Numeracy Development on November 21 at the Maskwacis Cultural College

Young Children’s Numeracy Development on November 21 at the Maskwacis Cultural College
Young Children's Numeracy Development
Friday, November 21, 2014 from 10 to 11:30 am at the Maskwacis Cultural College.

Numeracy Development
There is one single predictor of children's school achievement at high school level: Early numeracy knowledge! Many factors influence children's numeracy knowledge and skills in early childhood such as culture, language, frequency of teaching, and home numeracy experiences.  Parents and caregivers can make a significant contribution to children's future school achievement through informal and formal numeracy experiences early on.   This speaker will focus on explaining why numeracy knowledge before Grade 1 is very important, which numeracy skills children should master in early childhood and how to teach those concepts. 

Facilitator: Dr. Ozlem Cankaya is an early childhood development expert specialized in literacy and numeracy development.  Her past research focused on the effects of language, culture, and home experiences on the acquisition of early numeracy and literacy skills.
After finishing her M.A. in Cognition and Instruction program at McGill University she spent a year teaching kindergarten children in Thailand.  Ozlem received her PhD in Cognitive Science at Carleton University (Ottawa, ON).  She also worked as a research consultant at the UNESCO Institute for Statistics in Literacy Assessment and Monitoring Programme (LAMP) provided the diagnostic information required in monitoring and improving literacy skills in different counties.
Currently, Ozlem is a Research Scientist at the Alberta Centre for Child, Family and Community Research in the Child Youth Data Laboratory (Edmonton, AB).  She is a part of a research team working on issues, policies and practices affecting Alberta's children and youth, by linking and analyzing cross-government, administrative data.

Three things that participants will take away from the session:
1. Learn about factors that influence early numeracy development.
2. Find out about how culture and language influence early numeracy development
3. Learn skills to support formal and informal numeracy experiences
Early bird registration fee  $55 per person includes refreshments, Library in a Box, hands on craft making sessions,  community engagement, and numeracy program handout for indigenous communities.

·         Early bird registration deadline: October 15, 2014.
·         Registration fee after the early bird deadline is $95.
·         Cheques to be made/mailed in the name of Maskwacis Cultural College, Box 960. Maskwacis, Alberta T0C 1N0.
·         Call us at toll free: 1-866-585-3925 or by email

Thursday, 4 September 2014

Invitation to holistic approach learning outcome by Rainbow woman

Nurture Spirit, Heart, Mind and Body

Presented by Rainbow Woman

Learn to apply a holistic approach to life, which means recognizing and nurturing the Spirit, Heart, Mind and Body and all areas of life and relationship. Ningwakwe will present a learning outcome for each of the four aspects and a practical way in which Aboriginal educators facilitate that learning outcome.

Presenter Facilitator: Ningwakwe (Rainbow Woman), aka Priscilla George, is a Deer Clan Anishnawbe Kwe from the Chippewas of augeen First Nation.  Ningwakwe has been involved with cultivating indigenous training from the grassroots and international levels.

Ningwakwe advocates for the holistic approach to life, which means recognizing and nurturing the Spirit, Heart, Mind and Body and all areas of life and relationship. This is the foundation for developing positive cultural identity, which gives us the skills to walk successfully in two worlds – the aboriginal and the non-aboriginal.

Target Audience:  Community organizations, Schools, Families, Recreation Managers, Literacy Programmers and Practitioners, Social Workers, Family Support Workers, Teachers, Education Assistants, Learning Coach, and Residential School Survivors.

Date: Monday, September 8 from 10 am to 3 pm. Networking begins early at 9 am.  Please bring indigenous materials, your organization profile and any other information which you would like to share or display.

Location: Maskwacis Cultural College, Alberta


·         Early bird registration fee is $85 per person includes refreshments, lunch, and a tour of the library and learning spaces.

·         Early bird registration deadline is August 25, 2014.

·         Registration fee after the early bird deadline is $125.

·         Certificate of Participation will be provided and professional category A credits for social workers.

·         Digital badges of participation will be provided to all participants

·         Cheques to be made in the name of Maskwacis Cultural College, Box 960. Maskwacis, Alberta T0C 1N0.

·         Online registration page

·         Call us at toll free: 1-866-585-3925 or by email

Collaboration Bulletin: Indigenous School-College library collaboration

September 3, 2014, Pigeon Lake Regional School novel study book club and resources for the library:



August 29, 2014, Library in a Box and relationship development with Samson K4 to Grade 2 school, Linda Okeymow picked up the books



August 21, 2014, Louis Bull School, Classroom Library in a Box service for teachers.

Friday, 29 August 2014

Thursday, 28 August 2014

New e-learning website for school staff supporting students with FASD

New e-learning website for school staff supporting students with FASD and other disabilities

Positive Behaviour Supports for Children ( was developed by Mount Royal University with support from the Government of Alberta. This series of related websites is designed to enhance the capacity of families, aides and school staff in promoting positive behaviours and managing challenging behaviours, and to support students' learning and success.

The site has added two new portals:
1.    Through a Child's Eyes, to help parents and professionals talk about different diagnoses and how they affect children's perspectives of the world; and
2.    Planning for Success, to help families, service providers and Family Support for Children with Disabilities workers develop effective Individualized Service Plans. 
Please feel free to share this information with your stakeholders.
For more information, please contact Marni Pearce, Director, School and Community Supports for Children and Youth Branch, at or 780-422-5045. Dial 310-0000 first for toll-free access.

Friday, 22 August 2014

Content from newspapers learning resource available at Maskwacis Library

Ethan Raine, summer student at Maskwacis Library digitized Bear Hills Native Voice newspaper and created learning resources.

How do I use this use resource?

Can we used in English language arts/social studies. Give it to your students to read. Let the students answer the three questions after reading, and then the students can check the answers in the answer sheet. Please note one of the questions involves using a dictionary.

For more information contact the Maskwacis Cultural College Library

Monday, 28 July 2014

Engaging learning opportunities brought to Maskwacis community on July 16, 2014

160 people registered for the reading program on July 16, 2014. Bring your reading notebooks to the library and receive a surprise gift.

Engaging learning opportunities brought to Maskwacis college

Maskwacis Cultural College hosted a Science Day on Wednesday, July 16 to mark the efforts undertaken by the college staff, in particular librarian Manisha Khetarpal, to engage not only the students but also the larger community.

Invited by Khetarpal down from Edmonton was the Let’s Talk Science team, an outreach science organization affiliated with the University of Alberta, to engage the community in several topics.

“We grabbed activities that encompasses all the areas of science we cover,” said site lead Shakib Rahman.

Let’s Talk Science uses simple household items to further interest kids in learning. “The biggest thing is, if you make science approachable to the kids . . . you find a lot of them coming out,” said Rahman.

He says teaching children science isn’t about intimidating them with every detail but about fostering an interest and a passion. “It’s about self-discovery.”

He wants approachable science to break down barriers and attract students of all ages to learning.

Sociology class

In the spirit of furthering their education and knowledge, the students of the college are exposed to a sociology class taught by Yun-Csang Ghimn.

Ghimn joined the college almost six years ago and began teaching a course equal in value to those at the University of Alberta, making the course transferable and providing more post-secondary options to the students.

He also teaches sociology at the University of Alberta and feels the smaller classes are more beneficial in readying the First Nations students for other schools and experiences. “Academically, I would say they’re more than ready.”

The small size also allows for more emotional interactions between the students; heated arguments and debates are common, says Ghimn.

Ghimn focuses on social structure and inequality with a First Nations perspective.

“(It) seems like the last five years, my students have had some organic exposure to non-white ethnic people,” said Ghimn. “I believe it’s an important thing for native students to have.”

The open dialogue of the class deals with customs, traditions, and truths and myths behind stereotypes, both for First Nations people and the rest of the world. “That’s a quite unique Maskwacis sociology class,” said Ghimn.

“I believe the college has to work as a window for them to the outside world,” he added.

Unlike most academic courses, where one lesson segues into the next, Ghimn’s class jumps from one topic to another depending on what the students wish to discuss.

He finds some of the topics closest to students’ hearts include race ethnicity and the hierarchy of “white” people, which refers to immigrants and other styles of people in a traditional western secular society, such as Hutterites.

“Students tend to find a few or several topics they love to talk about and they’re on fire,” said Ghimn.

Maskwacis Cultural College, 40th anniversary

Maskwacis Cultural College is celebrating its 40th anniversary with a year of cultural ceremonies and celebrations.

The college was provincially sanctioned in 1988 and has graduated more than 2,000 students with degrees, diplomas and certificates. “We’re a provincial private institution,” said president Patricia Goodwill-Littlechild.

“We hire the finest faculty; highly qualified faculty and teach courses approved by the government of Alberta,” said Goodwill-Littlechild. Maskwacis Cultural College’s courses are transferable to many universities, including Edmonton, Calgary and Lethbridge.

Friday, 4 July 2014

Did you pick up your reading packet prepared by Maskwacis Youth?

Next pick up date for Library in a Box and reading packets is July 16 at the Maskwacis Cultural College.

Calling everyone;
We need your time as support for the Flash Mob cataloguing. Our goal is to catalog 200 books in 2 hours. We are using Soutron Global software. Training and instructions will be provided. Books are sorted in categories such as teen fiction, children's books, resource kits for schools, Library in a Box for early and adult literacy organizations,  etc.
If possible please bring your own laptop and extension bars.
Refreshments, cultural understanding, social time and a Certificate of Participation are the perks in appreciation of your time. Thank you. Your presence is a present.

Friday, 20 June 2014

Could you write a book for children?

Enter the New Children's Author Prize 2015 and you could win a publishing contract with Bloomsbury

Are you an aspiring author?

Have you got a great idea for a children's book?

Could you create a magical world for 8 to 12-year-olds?

Enter the New Children's Author Prize 2014 for your chance to become a published children's author

50% off entry fee until the end of June with code NEWAUTHOR
 Pay now and submit your entry later

The prize includes:

  • A contract with Bloomsbury Publishing, the distinguished publishers of J.K. Rowling, Neil Gaiman and Louis Sachar
  • A printed edition of your first novel, made available in bookshops nationwide
  • Ebook version of your novel available to download
  • Tickets to an exclusive awards night revealing the prize-winner, attended by key industry contacts and with press coverage
  • Use of the "New Children's Author Prize 2014 Winner" logo on your website, social media and publications

All short-listed authors will be invited to the awards night to meet agents, publishers and press, and discuss their futures in children's literature. They will also receive exclusive writing tips from multi-award-winning children's author Katherine Rundell.

Submit your story of between 20,000 and 40,000 words, aimed at 8 to 12-year-olds by midnight on 30 September 2014.

For more information and to enter, please visit

Saturday, 7 June 2014

Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge

The Scholastic Summer Reading Challenge is a free online reading program for children.
Join today and let's set a new reading world record for summer 2014! (May 5 - Sept 5, 2014)

Monday, 26 May 2014

The Influences of Different Number Languages on Numeracy Learning

The Influences of Different Number Languages on Numeracy Learning
Written by:
Ozlem Cankaya, Ph.D., Institute of Cognitive Science, Jo-Anne LeFevre, Ph.D., Departments of Psychology/Cognitive Science and Carla Sowinski, Ph.D. Candidate, Department of Psychology, Carleton University
Published online:
2012-06-09 14:30:25
Printable version:
Print   (requires Acrobat Reader, available for free from Adobe)
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Number naming systems connect number words to quantities.  For example, in English, the word eleven is used for the quantity that is also represented as 11 in Arabic digits.  Number naming systems include words for both small (e.g., onethree) and large quantities (e.g., hundredthousand), plus rules for combining them (e.g., 346 is three hundred and forty-six). Because each language has its own number naming system, studying these systems allows us to examine how language and culture affect numerical thinking.  Examining how number languages influence number learning is important because mathematical competencies vary across cultures that have different languages.  For example, children who speak Asian languages that have regular number naming systems (e.g., Chinese, Japanese) appear to acquire counting and place-value knowledge earlier than children who speak languages like English and French, which have irregular number naming systems (see more on irregular versus regular number naming systems below; Aunio, Aubrey, Godfrey, Pan, & Liu, 2008; Dehaene, 1997; Fuson & Kwon, 1992; Geary, Bow-Thomas, Liu, & Siegler, 1996; Miller, Smith, Zhu, & Zhang, 1995).  In this article, we explain how number languages may influence children and adults' numeracy performance. 
Research Questions 
(1) What are the differences among number languages that may influence children's numeracy knowledge acquisition?
(2) Do more regular number naming systems support children's numeracy learning?
(3) What are the long-term effects of number languages on numerical thinking?
Recent Research Results
What are the differences among number languages that may influence children's numeracy knowledge acquisition? 
Counting up to 10 in many languages requires mastering an arbitrary but ordered set of names (e.g., one, two, three … ten in English; yi, er, san … shi in Chinese).  After 10, some languages' number naming systems are regular; they use consistent rules to combine the ten basic number words to indicate quantities.  Other languages' number naming systems are irregular; they have rules, but with exceptions.  For example, in Chinese, 13 (shi-san) translates to ten-three and 34 to three-ten four; thus, counting beyond 10 in Chinese involves learning rules to combine the words from one to ten to create larger number words.  In contrast, many other languages, including English and French, have special words between 11 and 19.  English has rules for producing number words from 20 on, but these are not as predictable as in Asian languages (compare thirty and three-ten, for example).  Some other languages, such as French, use some base-20 rules (e.g., 80 is quatre-vingt or four-twenty).  It seems plausible that learning to count in more regular languages should be easier for children than learning to count in less regular languages.
Beyond the number 10, place-value knowledge helps one know the value of each digit in a multi-digit number.  The visual Arabic number system is completely regular because it combines a limited set of symbols (0 to 9).  Furthermore, this system assigns each number symbol a value depending on the relative position of the digits to indicate quantities. In comparison to the Arabic digit system, many spoken languages have more symbols (i.e., words) and more complex rules for combining the number words to reflect quantities.  Thus, in different number naming systems, the place value assigned to each number word may not be consistent with the spoken position of the numbers.  For example, in languages such as Dutch and German, ones digits and tens digits are reversed such that 45 is named as five-and-forty rather than forty-five.  In English, 16 is named as six-teen whereas in Chinese it is ten-six.  Furthermore, the structure of complex numerals may involve multiplication (e.g., two hundred) and/or addition (e.g., twenty-three; Lonin & Matushansky, 2006).  Thus, mastering place value is difficult, at least for English-speaking North American children (Fuson & Briars, 1990).  It seems reasonable that children will find it easier to learn number naming systems where there is a consistent rule for mapping number words to quantities.  Furthermore, because children ultimately need to make connections among the various symbolic and non-symbolic number codes (number words, digits and quantities), the lack of consistency between the spoken and written number words and the visual Arabic digits may make the ongoing translations among these codes more complex.  As a result, performance differences may exist across languages (Pixner et al., 2011a).
Do more regular number naming systems support children's numeracy learning? 
Children whose languages have regular number naming systems may more easily learn to (a) count (LeFevre, Clarke, & Stringer, 2002; Miller et al., 1995), (b) learn about place value (Ho & Fuson, 1998; Miura, Kim, Chang, & Okamoto, 1988), and (c) acquire number system knowledge (Pixner et al., 2011b; Siegler & Mu, 2008), as compared to children whose number languages are less predictable.In irregular languages, such as English and French, children may have difficulty learning the teen and decade names due to the complex number structure that does not reflect the base-10 system directly.  For instance, 3- to 5-year-old English-speaking children from the U.S. could not count as high as Chinese-speaking children, even though children's performance did not differ in counting small sets of objects or solving problems (Miller et al., 1995).  Similarly,LeFevre et al. (2002) found that 3- to 6-year-old French-speaking children could not count as high as their English-speaking peers.  The differences between children's performance were partially attributed to the structure differences in number languages. However, French children also performed more poorly in object counting and number recognition tasks compared to English-speaking children.  In this study, English-speaking parents reported more frequent teaching of early numeracy skills than French-speaking parents.  Therefore, when evaluating children's early numeracy knowledge, experiential factors should also be considered.             
Children whose languages have regular rules use place value knowledge earlier and more consistently than children who speak less regular languages (Ho & Fuson, 1998; Miura, Okamoto, Kim, Steere, & Fayol, 1993).  For example, Miura and colleagues (1993) found that Asian born-and-educated children (Chinese, Japanese, and Korean) illustrated numbers such as 23 as collections of blocks and units (e.g., 2 blocks of 10 plus three units), whereas non-Asians (French, English, and Swedish) used a collection of 23 single units and did not use blocks of 10.  These differences in children's representation of numbers were attributed to the transparency of number languages and their correspondence with the base-10 Arabic system. 
Other researchers have argued that the differences that have been attributed to number language could be due to the combined effects of tailored instructions and other cultural differences (Alsawaie, 2004; Dowker, Bala, & Lloyd, 2008; Towse & Saxton, 1997).  For instance, Towse and Saxton (1997) demonstrated thatexperimenters' initial practice demonstration strongly influenced English-speaking children's preference for using only units versus both blocks and units to represent numbers.  Zijuan and Chan (2005)found that, although Chinese preschoolers' could provide the right answers to addition and subtraction problems, their computational strategies did not indicate an understanding of the base-10 system or of place value.  Instead, they performed well because they were adept at using their fingers to count and produce the answers.  Thus, differences in performance between Asian and non-Asian children may be a consequence of differing experiences at home or in school, rather than of differences in number languages (Chen & Uttal, 1988; Göbel, Shaki, & Fischer, 2011; Pan, Gauvain, Liu, & Cheng, 2006; Yang & Cobb, 1995; for review, Ngan Ng & Rao, 2010).
What are the long-term effects of different number languages on numerical thinking?
The structure of number languages may have persistent effects on children and adults' numerical performance.  For example, Czech children learn two, equally common, number word systems: One version has an inverted number-word structure (ones digit + decade; four-and-twenty) and the other version has a non-inverted number-word structure (decade + ones digit; twenty-four).  Pixner et al. (2011b) had 7-year-old Czech children write numbers from spoken dictation. When the numbers were spoken using the inverted number-word system, children made many errors in which they incorrectly ordered the digits; no ordering errors were made when numbers were presented using the non-inverted number-word system.  Furthermore, Brysbaert, Fias, and Noël (1998) showed that the arithmetic performance of Dutch and French speakers was affected by differences in how numbers were named, at least when answers were produced verbally.  In Dutch, multi-digit numbers are inverted, as in three-and-twenty, whereas in French, the decade word precedes the ones digit word as in twenty-three.  Like the Czech children using the inverted system, Dutch speakers were slower to produce the answers to problems like 20 + 3 as compared to 3 + 20.  Interestingly, the linguistic differences disappeared when the answers were typed. 
Similarly, Colomé, Laka, and Sebastián-Gallés (2010) examined the addition performance of adult Basque speakers and found that they responded to addition problems faster if the problem reflected their language structure.  The Basque number language follows a base-20 system, such that 35 is the equivalent of twenty-fifteen.  Therefore, the addition problems that involved multiples of 20 plus a teen (e.g., 20 + 15 = 35) were easier for the Basque speakers than the ones that did not include multiples of 20 but had the same answer (e.g., 25 + 10 = 35).  Such findings suggest that the structure of number languages has long-term implications for processing numbers.
Bilingualism can also affect early numeracy knowledge.  For example, when Chinese-English bilingual children counted in English and Chinese, the proficiency in each language determined how high children could count (Rasmussen, Ho, Nicoladis, Leung, & Bisanz, 2006).  Children who spoke Chinese more fluently than English counted much higher in Chinese whereas children who spoke English more fluently counted much higher in English.  It is possible that children's performance might have been affected by learning to count in two number language systems, as the simultaneous learning may reinforce understanding of the base-10 concept.  Furthermore, bilingual children may have more ways of representing numbers than monolinguals (Miura et al., 1993).
Variation in number languages offer a possible explanation for why speakers of Asian languages are better at grasping the counting sequence and acquiring place-value understanding than are speakers of non-Asian number languages.  Differences in the structure of number languages also seem to have some long-term implications for how adults use number words in mathematical tasks.  However, differences in numeracy skills between, for example, American and Chinese children, have many other potential causes, such as home and school experiences (Huntsinger, Jose, Liaw, & Ching, 1997; Wang & Lin, 2009).  Thus, number language differences are only a partial explanation for observed cultural differences.
Future Directions
Much, if not all, of the existing research comparing regular to less-regular number languages is correlational and thus many other sources could be the causes of differences in mathematical performance.  An alternative approach is use of interventions to teach children early numeracy skills and examine whether children who speak more regular languages learn faster than children who speak less regular languages.  More radically, children could be taught using simplified, regular number languages (e.g., ten-three instead of thirteen) and their learning progress compared to other children using standard languages.  Some number languages have evolved to be simpler.  For example, the French spoken in France uses the complex words soixante-dixquatre-vingt, and quatre-vingt-dix for 70, 80, and 90 (literally, sixty-ten, four-twenty, and four-twenty-ten), whereas the French spoken in the Walloon part of Belgium uses the words septanteoctante, and nonante instead (the equivalent of seventyeighty, and ninety).  Walloon children make fewer errors writing these numbers from spoken dictation than French children (Seron & Fayol, 1994).  Thus, research that establishes exactly how the regularity of the spoken number language influences learning has the potential to improve instruction as well as to advance our understanding of numerical thinking. 

Friday, 16 May 2014

Free, online textbooks developed for skills training

Free, online textbooks developed for skills training

 British Columbia is now developing 20 open, online textbooks specifically for post-secondary skills training and technical programs.

"British Columbia's open textbooks are already being used by students all over the province who are studying science, arts and business," said Advanced Education Minister Amrik Virk. "Now students taking skills and technical training programs like electrical, oil and gas, tourism, nursing and others will also be able to get some of their textbooks online for free, saving hundreds of dollars. This is another way we're matching education with jobs, ensuring students are getting affordable, accessible training to move from learner to earner."

The open textbooks for skills training and technical programs support the priorities in B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint to align training with the labour market, and a total of 20 open textbooks will be developed for:

  • High-demand foundational trades programs, such as carpentry, pipefitting, electrical and plumbing.
  • Oil and gas programs supporting the LNG industry.
  • Tourism and hospitality programs.
  • Adult basic education programs linked to giving students essential skills for trades and technical training.
  • Mining-related programs.
  • Health-care programs, such as health-care assistant, practical nursing and registered nursing.

The online textbooks will be developed based on an open call for proposals, and will be available online starting September 2015.

"The Open Textbooks Project creates another avenue of access to post-secondary education in B.C. by helping to make it more affordable for all students," said Ralph Nilson, chair of the Trades Training Consortium of British Columbia, and president and vice-chancellor of Vancouver Island University. "Expanding the number of textbooks available online and focusing on the area of skills training and technical programs will help post-secondary institutions to achieve B.C.'s Skills for Jobs Blueprint by meeting industry's demand for more skilled workers."

The 20 online textbooks for skills training and technical programs are in addition to the 19 made available in 2013 and the 21 others expected to be ready by September 2014 for 40 highly enrolled first-year and second-year post-secondary subjects.

Thursday, 15 May 2014

Models of First Nations control of education

This article was initially published in Muskrat Magazine  Edited and republished with permission.

While the proposed First Nations education act is on hold, models of First Nations control of education are currently in action across the country, and have been for years.

1. Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey — Sydney, N.S., with authority for 13 Mi'kmaw communities across Nova Scotia.

In 1999, the Mi'kmaw community won a legal battle for the rights of full management of the education of Mi'kmaw children, and the Mi'kmawKina'matnewey is the educational authority doing just that. Mi'kmawKina'matnewey has various programs, including the First Nation School Success Program (FNSSP).

Thanks to FNSSP, Mi'kmaq language courses are offered in all high schools in Nova Scotia, both on- and off-reserve. In Eskasoni, Chief Allison Bernard Memorial High School will see its first generation graduate this year after completing junior high to high school in the Mi'kmaw immersion program.

According to the executive director of Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey, Eleanor Bernard, the graduation numbers have grown substantially since students moved out of the provincial system and into the Mi'kmaw Kina'matnewey system.

"In the provincial system we might have had nine or 10 graduate. In the first year of the Eskasoni school, we had 40 graduate," said Bernard

Overall, the First Nation high school student graduation rate in Nova Scotia has increased to 88 per cent, compared with the national average of 35 per cent. Last year, more than 500 First Nations students from Nova Scotia were enrolled in post-secondary institutions.

2. Chief Atahm School/ T'selcéwtqenClleqmél'ten — Adams Lake band near Chase, B.C.

Established in 1991 as a Secwepemc language immersion school, this school has graduated hundreds of immersion students and holds an annual conference to share its resources and strategies with other communities.

3. Seven Generations Education Institute — Fort Frances, Kenora & Thunder Bay, Ont.

Ten bands got together in 1985 to form an educational authority to maintain traditional, cultural and linguistic values as well as improve the economic status of band members. The institute partners with colleges and universities and recently made Academia Group's top 10 in indigenous education.

4. Onion Lake Cree Education System — Onion Lake, Treaty 6 Territory, Sask.

The Onion Lake Cree Education System was established in 1981, first at the elementary and secondary school levels, and then in 1984 at the post-secondary level as well. In addition to standard curriculum, the goal is to promote culture, the teaching of elders, knowledge of treaties and language.

5. The Kahnawake Education Centre — Kahnawake, Kanienke'ha:ka Territory, outside of Montreal.

Established in 1980 and gaining complete administrative control between 1983 and 1988 from the Department of Indian Affairs, the centre runs three community schools on reserve and extends services and tuition for many students at both elementary, secondary and post-secondary levels outside of Kahnawake.

Infamous White Paper served as a catalyst

Many of these examples were organized by indigenous communities following the 1969 "White Paper."

In 1969, Pierre Trudeau's government released an extremely contentious document, the Statement of the Government of Canada on Indian Policy, also known as the infamous White Paper.

It was viewed by many as an attempt to assimilate indigenous people. The White Paper backfired and instead became the catalyst for a significant resistance movement from grassroots indigenous peoples.

In fact, the name of Bill C-33, "First Nations Control over First Nations Education," is a direct reference to the critical 1972 report called "Indian Control of Indian Education." It was published by the National Indian Brotherhood, which later became the Assembly of First Nations.

However, the likeness of Bill C-33 to the original report stops abruptly at the name.

"Indian parents must have full responsibility and control of education," the 1972 report states in part.

"The federal government must adjust its policy and practices to make possible the full participation and partnership of Indian people in all decisions and activities connected with the education of Indian children."

Since that report was first published, First Nations across Turtle Island have developed and implemented community-controlled education models that reflect their cultural diversity, with language inclusion often at its core.

First Nations leaders continue to assert that one of the most pressing issues for First Nations schools is a lack of adequate funding levels, which are significantly less than in non-First Nations communities.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

Library skills still essential to adult literacy

Likely driven by the economic recession, patrons take advantage of affordable entertainment, Internet access, job-search assistance and educational resources, all at less than retail price and in a relatively peaceful environment.

This renaissance in public library usage might be due in part to the very technology that was expected to threaten the existence of community libraries.

All of which reinforces what both elementary and secondary school librarians have been saying for years: that the early and continued development of a full range of library skills and attitudes is the key to the continued development of adult literacy.


Geoff Johnson is a retired superintendent of schools.

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Friday, 9 May 2014

Bringing the Outreach IN: The West Chicago Public Library District Summer Lunch Program

Bringing the Outreach IN: The West Chicago Public Library District Summer Lunch Program

Posted on May 2, 2014 by

Summer Lunch - Tuesday, June 18 006-2As part of its continuing efforts to reach out and serve community needs, the West Chicago Public Library District (WCPLD) has created a unique service opportunity that literally brings outreach IN. Throughout the summer, the library participates in the Northern Illinois Food Bank's (NFIB) Summer Food Service Program (SFSP), serving over 2,800 free lunches last year alone to children up to age 18, weekdays over a 10-week period.

The SFSP is designed to fill the gap that occurs when school lets out for summer vacation and children who received free or reduced-price meals during the school year do not have access to those meal programs. So the WCPLD sought out a partnership with the school district and the NIFB last summer to serve as an additional SFSP site, bolstering the school district's two existing sites. To date, we are the only public library in the NIFB service area, covering the northern half of Illinois, to provide this service.

Programs like this represent a great opportunity to reach out and serve the community in a non-traditional way. While the financial commitment is limited to the staff time needed for the mandatory training and the time spent implementing the program, the entire library has taken on the commitment to help solve the problem of food insecurity in the community. Through our partnership with the school district, every child qualifies for free lunch without registration or proof of income.

The additional stream of families utilizing our services has resulted in some great benefits for the library. The SFSP has not only contributed to increased summer reading registrations and participation, but last summer we suddenly noticed programs were filling up, especially on weekdays around the lunch hour. In serving 60 lunches on weekdays last summer, we had over a hundred parents and kids go through our program room every day where, while enjoying lunch, we were able to distribute information about the library and its services to families we may never have seen before. A total of 112 library card registrations last summer were a direct result of offering daily rewards to those children who had their library cards with them at lunch.

The rewards to the library, however, were overshadowed by the benefits to participating families. As the summer wore on, we began to notice kids making new friends. Parents, both moms and dads, started conversations that led to information and resource sharing. Those little wiggle worms, who couldn't sit still for a meal in June, by July were enjoying the relaxed atmosphere and shared time with family and friends.

Summer is the busiest time of year in the public library, and this service model may not fit every library. But the need to demonstrate the essential role libraries play in the life of their communities is universal. The SFSP was a perfect addition to our community outreach activities, fulfilling our mission while providing opportunities for us to reach more children and families with literacy promotion and enriching programs.

Thursday, 8 May 2014

Media Literacy Week (November 3-7, 2014) will focus on Youth and Social Networking: Creative, Connected and Collaborative

Canada NewsWire

OTTAWA, May 7, 2014

OTTAWAMay 7, 2014 /CNW/ - MediaSmarts and the Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) are pleased to announce that the theme for Canada's ninth annual Media Literacy Week (November 3-7, 2014) will focus on the positive uses of social networking by young people.

The official theme of the week – Youth and Social Networking: Creative, connected and collaborative – will encourage teachers and parents to work with young people to promote the wide range of activities they use daily on social platforms.

"Youth are using social networks in all kinds of interesting ways that allow them to build communities and connect to the world," said Cathy Wing, Co-Executive Director, MediaSmarts. "We want adults to join with young people in exploring the opportunities these powerful tools provide for contributing positively to society and building digital skills for the future."

"Media Literacy Week is an opportunity for teachers to dialogue and engage with their students on ways to become responsible digital citizens and creative learners thanks to the use of social media," said CTF President Dianne Woloschuk.

MediaSmarts' 2013 survey of 5,436 students in grades 4-11, showed there is a high use of social networking by young Canadians. Sites for posting and sharing content such as YouTube, Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Tumblr were among the top sites, across all age groups. While a primary focus for these platforms is their social lives, students are also using them for learning, creative expression, peer support and advocacy.

MediaSmarts and the CTF are very pleased to welcome back YouTube as the 2014 Gold Sponsor of Media Literacy Week.

During Media Literacy Week, a variety of activities take place in homes, schools and communities across Canada and internationally, with the goal of promoting the importance of digital and media literacy for children and teens.

To find out how to get involved or become a sponsor of the week, visit:  

MediaSmarts is a Canadian not-for-profit centre for digital and media literacy. Its vision is that young people have the critical thinking skills to engage with media as active and informed digital citizens.

Canadian Teachers' Federation (CTF) represents nearly 200,000 teachers as their national voice on education and related social issues. @CanTeachersFed

Read more:

Tuesday, 29 April 2014

Parental literacy key to kids’ performance

Mr. Bennett advocates a comprehensive, targeted "reconstruction zone" strategy — expanding educational opportunities for all children in order to address the identified literacy crisis in faltering schools.

This is an interesting proposal, but thinking that we can "fix" children's literacy with interventions solely in the P-12 school system would be a mistake. Children do not exist in isolation. They come from families, and children struggling with literacy most often come from families where the moms and dads themselves have lower literacy levels.

Children will still have problems in school if their parents lack the literacy skills to support their learning.

Saturday, 19 April 2014

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

Could e-books actually get in the way of reading?

That was the question explored in research presented last week by Heather Ruetschlin Schugar, an associate professor at West Chester University, and her spouse Jordan T. Schugar, an instructor at the same institution. Speaking at the annual conference of the American Educational Research Association in Philadelphia, the Schugars reported the results of a study in which they asked middle school students to read either traditional printed books, or e-books on iPads. The students' reading comprehension, the researchers found, was higher when they read conventional books. In a second study looking at students' use of e-books created with Apple's iBooks Author software, the Schugars discovered that the young readers often skipped over the text altogether, engaging instead with the books' interactive visual features.

While their findings are suggestive—especially for parents and teachers who have questioned the value of e-books—they are preliminary, and based on small samples of students. More substance can be found in the Schugars' previous work: for example, a paper they published last year with colleague Carol A. Smith in the journal The Reading Teacher. In this study, the authors observed teachers and teachers-in-training as they used interactive e-books with children in kindergarten through sixth grade. (The e-books they examined are mobile apps, downloadable from online stores like iTunes.)

While young readers find these digital products very appealing, their multitude of features may diffuse children's attention, interfering with their comprehension of the text, Smith and the Schugars found. It seems that the very "richness" of the multimedia environment that e-books provide—touted as their advantage over printed books—may actually overwhelm kids' limited working memory, leading them to lose the thread of the narrative or to process the meaning of the story less deeply.

Parents and teachers should look for e-books that enhance and extend interactions with the text, rather than those that offer only distractions.

Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential

The Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential

The Jennifer Parnell Award for Youth Potential recognizes youth who demonstrate initiative, personal development, and/or outstanding progress towards their individual goals. The deadline to apply is June 1, 2014.

Monday, 14 April 2014

Diary of a Wimpy Kid lesson plans!

Diary of a Wimpy Kid lesson plans!

Monday 28th April 2014, 2-2.30pm

Have you signed your class up to watch  Wimpy Kid Virtually Live yet? Airing in just under three weeks time it's going to be massive - and your class's artwork could star in the show!

Download the FREE lesson plans which are packed with ideas for before and after the event. Specially created, curriculum linked and masses of fun - even the most reluctant of readers will be clamouring to create their own covers.

As for the show itself, author Jeff Kinney will be telling viewers the Wimpy Kid story from first scribble through to international best-selling sensation, there'll be a live draw-along, Q&As and the BIG COVER REVEAL for book 9.  Zoo-wee mama! Puffin better get back to rigging the studio - the countdown has begun.

Suitable for children aged 6-11 years 


Friday, 11 April 2014

How can teachers support meaningful, high-quality student interaction in the math classroom?

Series: What Works? Research into Practice

Authors: Catherine D. Bruce

Collection: Research Materials

This document is part of a research-into-practice series produced by a partnership between The Literacy and Numeracy Secretariat of the Ministry of Education of Ontario and the Ontario Association of Deans of Education.

This research paper asks the question: How can teachers support meaningful, high-quality student interaction in the math classroom? In the math reform literature, learning math is viewed as a social endeavour. In this model, the math classroom functions as a community where thinking, talking, agreeing, and disagreeing are encouraged. The teacher provides students with powerful math problems to solve together and students are expected to justify and explain their solutions. The primary goal is to extend one’s own thinking as well as that of others.

The Monograph also looks at what the research tells us; the value of student interaction; and also some challenges that teachers face in engaging students. As well, the author gives five strategies for encouraging high-quality student interaction, such as students questioning one another and the use of rich math tasks.

Copyright for this resource is held by the Queen’s Printer for Ontario.