Saturday, March 30, 2013

Round Dance T-Shirts Hot off the Press

I'm just running in to deliver Kate's invitation to Victoria and Tyler's wedding. "Can't stay," I shout from the entrance. "Lots of errands to run."
"Sheena, just come in for a minute. Look what just came in."

Friday, March 29, 2013

I See the Moon

"I see the moon, the moon sees me
Down through the leaves of the old oak tree
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love.

Oh, over the mountain, over the sea
Back where my heart is longing to be
Please let the light that shines on me
Shine on the one I love."

The Mariners - 1953 Voices Of Walter Schumann - 1953 The Stargazers - 1954

These are words from one of my favorite songs Mum sang with us, and I sing them, too, with my girls. Maybe I love that song because I'm melancholic or sentimental. Maybe because Mum says my first word was moon.

My girls love the moon, too. This past week, driving home from music lessons, Moira said, "Look at the moon." It was resting on the hills, so perfectly round and bright. Our cameras couldn't capture it, so we drove right past our lane, around the bend. "Let's get out, walk just a little," Moira said.

Arwen jumped out of the back, with only a sweater. "Wrap yourself in that blanket," I said.

We walked into the moonlight, the girls in the deep snow, wrestling, then gazing off, across the ice and snow lake.

Thank you for sharing this land and water and sky and moon.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thank You For Sharing the Land this Frosty Morning

As I rounded the corner at the Governance Centre, my neighbour, Sean, slowed in his vehicle and rolled down the window. "Nature sure is a beautiful thing," he said.

"Just look," I said, gesturing with my hand. "I haven't been walking much lately, and look what I've been missing."

"You'll need hip waders to walk to school pretty soon," he said.

"For sure," I said. We both chuckled. He rolled up his window and drove away.




Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Sunday, March 24, 2013

much happiness

when the next generation
cares for the one before
simple gifts and kindness
a plate of sliced fruit
for Mommy stuck sick in bed
young legs running up and down
the stairs for tea, too

much happiness

Thursday, March 21, 2013

tips for teacher resurgence Idle No More style

1. If we are top down managed, we will grassroots lead.

2. If we are spoken to in corporate speak, we will front-line-teacher-talk-back in our own language.

3. If we are shown the factory model for school, we will invite into our living-breathing education circle.

4. If we are asked for curricular rationale we will share living curriculum through anecdote, narrative, and action research.

5. If standards assume low-level-thinking-feeling-living-knowing, we will talk back to standards.

6. If we are micro-managed, we will walk with vision, unity and action.

7. If we are not consulted in all things Education, we will calmly flex into our power as professionals.

8. If we are told to jump, sit and speak, we will de-mythologize and front-line-teacher-indigenize the words standards, accountability, and assessment.

9. If we are told there isn't money or permission for us to carry out our responsibility to students and community, we will keep pressing for a win-win solution.

10. If we are discouraged from activism because it's "political" we will remember our code of ethics, "To model the fulfilment of social and political responsibilities associated with membership in the community."

While following and participating in grass roots Idle No More, a lot of things have been gaining clarity, including my responsibilities as a teacher. While reading "Dueck makes case for greater teacher engagement in future" in the Saskatchewan Bulletin (Volune 79, Number 5, January 16, 2013) I began drafting "tips for teacher resurgence, Idle No More style".

I've shown them around. Andre and Michael helped me through preposition angst "I" or "we" and "them" or "you". I talked this through with Cathy, and she thought they looked good. Then I took them to my McDowell Foundation Board Meeting and met afterwards with Tish Karpa of the STF. She and I discussed the Saskatchewan Education Act, Code of Professional Competence, Teacher Code of Ethics, Carol Schick, Joel Westheimer and Joseph Kahne articles, Social Justice in BC, Backwards Design, Interdependency, case scenario optics, and being an engaged citizen, an engaged professional, and community activist.

I hadn't planned putting them on the blog before I figured out who the "we" was... but just today, as I read Dr. Mark Spooner and colleagues open letter, "Say No To Costly Standardized Testing", I thought it's time to add my voice to the "we" that is already out there.

I am searching for we.
I am seeking circles of engagement.
I am wanting to walk in a good way.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

Wab Kinew Fan Club, Anyone?

Has anyone started a Wab Kinew Fan Club already? I know my buddy Kate kept telling me all last year as I treaty walked along the gravel road, "Sheena, you have to watch Eighth Fire."

I'd heard about Eighth Fire maybe five years ago, but not the CBC programme. It was a documentary. Valerie Brooks and I had attended the screening in Winnipeg while at an Aboriginal Education conference. This Eighth Fire documentary was powerful, depicting the prophecy of the nations coming together, and the crucial leadership which would be provided by First Nations people.

I finally did watch an episode of CBC's Eighth Fire, and Kate's prediction was right. I have to watch these. And I believe the leadership provided by Idle No More grassroots people and famous media sensations, like Wab, are proving the documentary true, too.

When I saw Wab host the Idle No More, Coast to Coast Livestream Conference, I was pretty much awed by his focus, clarity and ease in front of the camera. Yup, I became a bonified fan.

But when I woke to his voice on the radio yesterday morning, listening to someone just say it like it is, I thought, "who is this guy" and then it hit me, "it's Wab Kinew."

And Wab's been right there with me, leading away as my first follow on twitter, thanks to Tamara. In fact, I got one of my first retweets when I wrote, "Here in treaty four territory, Wab Kinew walks on water."

So you can only imagine yesterday when I tweeted "@WabKinew I woke to interview this am thinking who is that thoughtful voice. It was you. Will your lecture be livestreamed? I can't be there." and he replied, "@TreatyWalks I don't believe so, but it will be online and in print later." You can just imagine how over the moon I was. I am.

So, has anyone started a Wab Kinew Fan Club already?

Check out Wab's blog.

Friday, March 15, 2013

Birthday Spoiling

From beginning to end, my birthday was full of gifts and surprises.



Grade Tens, the Puzzle is Finished: Or is it?

I thought I'd have more time. I thought I could take pictures next week of all the kids huddling around, at least two or three in each period, sometimes four, five, six at a time, working on the puzzle.
But today, Sharise says, "Can I go for a break when I finish the puzzle?"
"No," I say, but then I notice she has filled in quite a lot of the faces and is moving down the board.
I'm up and down from my desk, with Sharise at my back, and everytime I look, she's closer and closer. I start taking a picture every time I get up because I realize she's about to finish.
Before last break, Sharise has only a few pieces. I'm snapping pictures. My husband and colleague, Mr. Koops comes into the room. "You're missing a piece," he says, and then leans into the puzzle.
And then, just like that, Sharise puts in the last piece, minus two.
"Can I go for a break now?" she says.
The bell rings. I walk to my intercom and announce, "Grade tens, the puzzle is finished." I hear a little ripple of faned, "ahhhh" in the hallway, then some kids come to check it out.
One of my daughter, Moira's, best friends comes into the classroom.
"It's finished," I say.
"Or is it?" she says, pointing at the two missing pieces.


First two blog posts on the puzzle: