The Sister School Exchange program is an opportunity to create connections between urban and rural Alaska. Teams of five students and a teacher become ambassadors representing their communities as they travel across the state. It is mid February and many of the Sister School Exchange Teams are taking time to work through the lessons and activities found in the program’s curriculum. The purpose of this curriculum is to help teams prepare for their upcoming exchange experience.
The units prior to the exchange focus on self exploration and community exploration with an emphasis on culture. This is achieved through a variety of activities chosen by the teacher and tailored for their students. These activities include: individual reflections, group discussions, interviews of elders, opportunities to express ideas through art, and building relationships with their Sister School Exchange community through Google hangouts. Below are some examples of the activities teams have been working on prior to their exchanges.
This is a picture of a team from Juneau creating masks. These masks are a part of the activity “Mask Creations” They create a mask and decorate it in a way that represents their own culture. These often represent more than the student’s heritage, but include aspects of the many cultures that they take part in. These can include various sports, clubs, the arts, and other interests students might have.
This is an example of the Girdwood team looking at how one aspect of their community has changed over time. Like most changes, there are many postives and negatives associated with change. It is not suprising that they chose to look at an important part of their community, the ski resort. Other teams have chosen important places to their community like the gym where basketball is played.
Teams also take time to annotate pictures exploring one of the eleven elements of community. This picture is from Manokotak. The students identify how food is gathered, prepared, and stored. Some of the other elements of community include: education, health care, energy, sanitation, and cultural expression.
Way to go teams! Keep up the good work.