Major Project Update #3 – We are live people!

I have returned from the deep dark hole in the Twitterverse where I have found myself lost for the last couple days, living in the land of the novel coronavirus and worrying about the complexities of Distance Education for my students.

Yesterday was meant to be my Major Project’s second Monday of our #MichifMonday language learning for my Social Justice themed Social Media project. Early in the morning I logged into Tweetdeck and cancelled all of my scheduled tweets. Before I get to why – here’s a little rundown of how the project has been going thus far.

While I am happy with where this project ended up, in the creating of an Indigenous Language Resource that is shared over social media (and encourages others to participate in a way that promotes social justice), I do not know if I would still call this a social justice project.

Although, it has been turning out to be awareness raising for my students – and that’s not nothing. One thing I have noticed is that students seem to have a food grasp on First Nation’s Culture, and 100 Days of Cree in my classroom is always a hit. I also am usually able to find reliable sources of additional information to accompany the 100 Days of Cree project.

A project on the official language of the Métis however, is another story. It is DIFFICULT to find reliable sources, which I only realize because my entire undergraduate degree was devoted to developing an understanding of Métis culture and history. It seems the sources to accompany the language we are learning are either out-dated, factually incorrect, or non-existent. Another reason I have begun to develop a teacher resource to accompany this project. Also for this reason my students and I have been heavily relying upon Elder ​Marian Desjarlais to help us ensure that the words and pronunciation are correct, as well as which words she believes are important to represent Métis values.

After A LOT and I mean A LOOOT of behind the scenes work using the Gabriel Dumont Institute Virtual Museum of Métis History and Culture website to locate words, then checking them with the Elder Marian, then having the students learn the words, and complete the learning activity – we have compiled two weeks worth of resource!

Last week my students and I launched our first twitter challenge along with the first set of five Michif words.

They excitedly watched all our notifications pop up in my browser while we worked all day – they were content to simply to see other’s liking, sharing, and praising their work across twitter.

We had two classrooms send us private messages (one email) trying out our challenges which the students loved, but because of privacy – sharing these on twitter to a wider audience outside our school wasn’t an option. While this was still exciting – it sort of deflated the purpose of the public challenges – public participation for awareness raising!

Now to this week – since our #MichifMonday fell just one day prior to Saint Patrick’s Day we worked to create words under the theme of “Celebration”.

I know, bad choice.

I realized pretty quickly over the weekend this was not a timely choice in light of current global circumstances. I strive to be culturally responsive in my classroom, therefore my students and I spent Monday (was that seriously just yesterday??) brainstorming a better and more relevant topic.

This is what we came up with:

I worked pretty quickly yesterday evening to reschedule these tweets instead. On the advice of one of my students “You have to explain why we picked these words!” I tried to write some captions to accompany this week’s words that challenged people to learn from home and add a hopeful post to the overwhelming tide of frightening content currently overtaking our timelines.

Since my students have been so involved in the creation of this project thus far – I do not know what the rest of the project will look like moving forward. I truly believe it is from the work of many that special things are created so I am, worried. But I also acknowledge that we are all currently worried over something, and therefore perhaps working on this project during my time away from my students will prove to be special in a different way.

This week’s goal: engage online on my students’ behalf to encourage participation!

Until next time,