The video at that station led to a creative response where students designed maps of their communities that they felt would honor their story. We had conversations about where to place the center of their maps, what their map might look like, why they made the design choices they did, and how others’ maps might differ. This activity eventually led to a Socratic Seminar about their perspectives, how maps can be limiting, how maps can tell a story, how people represent maps, and how dominant culture can overtake the types of stories maps can tell. This activity took the unit in a different direction than we expected, and we went with it!
Our Indigenous students felt this video really resonated with them and portrayed how they give directions on the reservation, which is very different from how we may give directions in Flagstaff. It was a powerful moment as a teacher to step back and watch the students gather this knowledge, synthesize it, and apply it to the way they see the world. Ultimately as a teacher, that’s what we want! For students to hear something, take it in, reflect on it, agree or disagree with it, and back it up with information!
Through this activity, students were sharing their claims and ideas, then offering evidence to support them. One of our 5th grade standards asks students to understand the author’s purpose and cite evidence the author uses to prove their point, and that skill has been evident in almost every single piece of content from DE! Many of the DE resources clearly state the purpose, then offer reasons the author would create this content. These resources help our 10- and 11-year-old students have analytical conversations, and I’ve seen students quickly make the connection between the author’s purpose and their evidence with the help of DE resources!