SMB Students Mentioned by Winnipeg Author

SMB class mentioned by Winnipeg author for unique learning experience
Posted on 11/25/2021
This is the image for the news article titled SMB class mentioned by Winnipeg author for unique learning experienceStudents in the Grade 5/6 class at SMB hold up their copies of The Barren Grounds by David A Robertson.

A screen shot of David Robertson's INstagran story with the class mentioned.It’s not every day your school class is mentioned by a famous author, but that’s just what happened for the Grade 5/6 class at École Ste-Marguerite Bourgeoys. Students in the class enjoyed a nature walk to make connections between the land and the book their reading, The Barren Grounds. Author David A. Robertson liked the initiative so much he shared their photo in his own Instagram story.

“You always think when you tag someone, you’re being polite and giving them the respect they deserve but I never thought he would share it with the rest of his followers. I thought that was cool and the kids thought it was amazing,” said teacher Kat Kerns.

The students went on a silent walk through the forest after the recent snowfall. Kerns said the exercise was to make connections between the pages of the book and the now frozen landscape that is Northwestern Ontario.

“This week we’re trying to make the connection between land and place. So, because we’re on Treaty #3 Territory, we wanted to make sure we were respecting our own land. With the snowstorm the forest looked exactly like Misewa and Aski and how it was described in the book so I thought it would be a great way to get outside and make those connections,” she said.

Kerns shared a photo of the experience on Instagram and tagged author David A Robertson. He saw the image and included it in his own story to all of his followers.

“That was really cool,” said Grade 5 student Nicholas Brookes. “It’s a small world and it’s cool that he’s from Winnipeg and the characters in the book live in Winnipeg so it’s fairly close to here.”

The Barren Grounds follows the story of Morgan and Eli, two Indigenous children forced away from their families and communities, who meet in a foster home in Winnipeg. They each feel disconnected, from their culture and each other, and struggle to fit in at school and at their new home, until a portal opens to another reality, Askí, bringing them onto frozen, barren grounds, where they meet Ochek (Fisher). The only hunter supporting his starving community, Misewa, Ochek welcomes the human children, teaching them traditional ways to survive. But as the need for food becomes desperate, they embark on a dangerous mission.

Celeste Temple says they’re about halfway through the book.
“It’s good. There are different things that keep me interested like if they’re going to go back soon. I also think the time difference is cool. A week in their world is only an hour in our world,” she said.

Kerns says the students really enjoyed taking their learning outside.

“They were able to recognize different parts of the story for example when Morgan went into the portal not dressed for winter, how she was falling into the banks of snow. We jumped into the banks of snow ourselves. They were supposed to use their five senses to understand the different between noise and sound. We wanted to identify what we could hear outside and not from the distractions of us,” said Kerns.

Both Brookes and Temple are looking forward to finding out what happens next in The Barren Grounds.
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