Thursday, 30 October 2014

There's an App for That!

If you're looking for an engaging way to include Indigenous perspectives in your classroom, 
language is definitely a fun and interesting angle!  Unfortunately we don't all have immediate access to Indigenous language speakers, BUT there are a number of exciting apps that can help expose your students to the Indigenous languages of Manitoba!  Here's a quick look at some of the apps that are out there!

'Ogoki' is a free app created by Darrick Baxter, who just so happens to live in St. James.
It's a basic Anishinaabemowin dictionary broken into different content areas, and when you press a specific word, you hear it pronounced. Students love this one!

'Neechee' is another Anishinaabemowin app, developed by Wab Kinew. It costs $1.99.
Instead of working as a dictionary, this app allows you to create phrases in English, and then it translates the phrase into Anishinaabemowin in writing. This app is also a lot of fun to play around with, and students get to see the structure of how phrases are constructed. 

Cree Dictionary
'Cree Dictionary' is a free app that actually has the ability to switch between three different Cree dialects (because we all know that not all Cree dialects are the same, right?)
If you want to know what an English word is in Cree, you can type it in, and it will give you the written form, both phonetically and in Cree Syllabics. You can also do the reverse, and translate from Cree into English.

Government of Saskatchewan Apps
The Government of Saskatchewan has produced three free apps that are excellent, especially in the early years classroom! They all come in the form of an interactive storybook:
'Aski and Turtle Island', 'Kon and the Circle of Life', and 'Tate and the Flyers'.
 The stories come written in English, and can be listened to in English as well, 
but you have the ability to change the stories into Cree, Dene, or Michif (Metis language).

If anyone out there gives these a try, we'd love to hear what you think of them!
Send some feedback to April at!

Wednesday, 22 October 2014

Election Day!

It's Election Day in Winnipeg! 
With all of the campaigns in full swing over the past few months, a lot of issues and questions in and around Winnipeg's Indigenous community have come to the forefront.
Yesterday, a Winnipeg journalist, Bartley Kives, wrote a very intelligent and articulate article. If you have a free moment, please read it!

Friday, 17 October 2014

Walking Wolf at Heritage!

Heritage School hosted an Indigenous drum and dance group on October 10th!
Walking Wolf is a group led by Ray Stevenson, who is both Cree and Anishinabe (Ojibway).
He taught the school some Indigenous songs and dances, and even led students in a round dance around the gym.  He also brought along Shanley Spence, who is an incredibly talented hoop dancer.
If you're looking to bring a dance group into your school, Walking Wolf is definitely a great choice!

Teaching a song about Sabe (Sasquatch)
Round Dance around the gym!
Shanley Spence starting the hoop dance

Friday, 10 October 2014

A Big Day at Sturgeon Heights!

We are VERY excited about a new initiative that has started at Sturgeon Heights!
Today marked the first class of a pilot program our division is beginning along with Manitoba First Nation Education Resource Centre (MFNERC). 
Patrick Maguire's Native Studies class (made up of grade 10 and grade 12 students) has begun learning Indigenous languages online with the Transparent Language program.  The students have made a choice which First Nations language they'd like to learn, and will engage in lessons every Friday morning.  This program will be started very soon at Brooklands as well!
One student was overheard saying, 
"I won't be able to sleep tonight! I'll have Cree running through my head!"
Big thanks to staff at Sturgeon and Brooklands for supporting this big step!


Wednesday, 8 October 2014

A Day with Faye Brownlie

We had a full house at McMaster House on Tuesday!
Faye Brownlie is in town all week, working with some schools in our division on the class review process.  We were able to snag her for a day to hold a session on Literature Circles, with a focus on Indigenous literature!
We had teachers from around the province in attendance, and it was wonderful to see Indigenous books and poetry used! We also had a number of publishers set up, where teachers could purchase some new books for their schools!
A great day was had by all!
Educators from all curriculum areas were in attendance! 

It's amazing to see the amount of Indigenous literature that's out there!
Using poetry from Duncan Mercredi to inspire discussion!
Renee & April with Faye Brownlie (far left) and Dr. Helen Armstrong from Brandon University (far right)

Friday, 3 October 2014


We found this interesting feature on the Winnipeg Regional Health Authority's website!
It's a quick, 8 question quiz to see how much you know about Aboriginal cultures in Manitoba.
Take the test and see how well you do! (If you're wondering, we got 100%... hahaha)


One of our goals with this blog is to celebrate and share awesome things that are going on in our school division, in the field of Indigenous education!
Our team is very fortunate to be able to go into all of our schools, 
and see the good work that's going on! 
If you have something you'd like to share with us (and your colleagues!), please feel free to send photos and information to April Waters! (
It can be anything - a lesson that worked really well, an artist that came in to work with students, or a special event.
Today's little feature is the result of a quick walk in Brooklands School!

The Tipi Teachings being integrated into classroom expectations! We LOVE this!

Thursday, 2 October 2014

Going Home Star

We had the honour of attending the dress rehearsal of 'Going Home Star' with a group of high school students.  'Going Home Star' is a new production of the Royal Winnipeg Ballet, telling the story of the Residential School experience through four main characters.
It was inspiring to see the Centennial Concert Hall packed with Manitoba's youth, taking in this story, and starting the conversation that needs to be shared.
The show runs from October 1st to October 5th. If you get the chance to see it, please do!

Royal Winnipeg Ballet

Winnipeg Free Press article

Our students were very excited to attend 'Going Home Star'!
The program was a wealth of information!
Elders opened the show with an honour song & prayer.
Dr. Marie Wilson, one of the Commissioners from the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, says a few words. 

 Here are some thoughts from our students after the show...