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Fatty Legs

The grade 4 Social Studies curriculum in B.C. mentions the effect of explorers coming to Canada and their interactions with aboriginal cultures.  We are very lucky to have an excellent resource on this topic created locally! Several years ago, Christy Jordan-Fenton encouraged her mother in law Margaret Pokiak-Fenton to tell her story of life in a residential school.  This book is so very powerful.  Here is what the publisher, Annick press has to say:

Eight-year-old Margaret Pokiak has set her sights on learning to read, even though it means leaving her village in the high Arctic. Faced with unceasing pressure, her father finally agrees to let her make the five-day journey to attend school, but he warns Margaret of the terrors of residential schools.
At school Margaret soon encounters the Raven, a black-cloaked nun with a hooked nose and bony fingers that resemble claws. She immediately dislikes the strong-willed young Margaret. Intending to humiliate her, the heartless Raven gives gray stockings to all the girls — all except Margaret, who gets red ones. In an instant Margaret is the laughingstock of the entire school.
In the face of such cruelty, Margaret refuses to be intimidated and bravely gets rid of the stockings. Although a sympathetic nun stands up for Margaret, in the end it is this brave young girl who gives the Raven a lesson in the power of human dignity.
Complemented by archival photos from Margaret Pokiak-Fenton’s collection and striking artworks from Liz Amini-Holmes, this inspiring first-person account of a plucky girl’s determination to confront her tormentor will linger with young readers.

Each day that I read this story my students were so engaged.  With each chapter, we did a specific task.  On one day, I asked the students to fill out a SMARTLearning Four Quadrants sheet.  I snapped a quick picture of two student's drawings of the most important part of the chapter.  Though both students picked the same moment, they show it very differently.

In this scene, Oolemaun is being "welcomed" to the school by a nun.  Her family is outside and Oolemaun is scared.  The nun says something to the effect of "We can teach her things you can not".  
I wrote about the sequel book, "A Stranger at Home", here last year.   We have just wrapped up reading this book as well.  My class loved the first so much, I just had to read both!

1 comment:

  1. Hi! Just wondering what activities you did with each reading?? I am starting this book with my kids soon and would love some ideaS!