Tuesday, August 6, 2013

No entrants?!?! WHAT?!?!

It has been forever and a day since I've updated this page.  Apologies, but since I'm updating, I did not receive entrants for school bags this year which made me sad as I roamed the stores in these past few weeks and saw all these amazing deals on stuff I'd put in the backpacks.  So this year, there were no donations and no entrants.  Which made me pause as to why (regarding the entrants), I had emailed teachers to spread the word and put it out there on social media sites but no entrants.  I mentioned the lack of donations only because I did not want people who read this blog to think I skipped out and pocketed the money.  I'm more concerned about the lack of entrants.  Who wouldn't want a FREE backpack for expressing what they believe in?  So, this is the question I will ponder.  Feedback would also be appreciated at mackenzie.sayers@gmail.com as I am only using the mackspacks5@gmail.com email for entrants (at the moment).

I will not be running Mack's Packs this year.  This will give me time to reflect on how to make it a better program and also because this is a year where I'm pushing myself as an educator.  I'm entering into a new position and enrolled for an AQ course this fall and hopefully taking a second one in the winter semester.  As well as, taking free courses at coursera.org which I highly recommend for anyone that wants to attain knowledge in many different areas of life.  I took one this past spring and although I found it overwhelming, maybe perhaps since I hadn't taken a course since 2010, it helped me to open my eyes up about being a leader.

If my mind changes, it will be announced via social media but this year I'm promising myself to focus on my professional goals and growth as an educator to be the best I can be in the field I live for.  

Wednesday, April 17, 2013

Inspiring Quotes

Our future is very bright as noted by the following quotes from our previous year’s entrants.  The voices of our future know what they want and what it takes for them to succeed.   Giving them a chance to think about it and write down their feelings will no longer make them just a thought, but an idea put out there into the world to see if they can make a difference because as a teacher, I know they can!

Good luck to all the entrants this year let these quotes inspire you to share your thoughts, ideas, and dreams.  Now write!   

·      “I believe cultural identity is an important element on my educational journey because in order to move forward and better myself as a First Nation person and a strong Anishinabe Kwe, I need to learn what my people went through in the past, their learning abilities and how they used our culture as their educational tool. “                                                             - N. A.

·      “I know that Native people are brave and strong.  A part of being brave is not being afraid to show who you are as a First Nation Aboriginal anywhere.  Take a risk and don’t be shy to show who you are as a First Nation.”                                                                                                                          - N. A.

·      “I also learned that when people tell the young children legends they are teaching them something. … The language we speak is very important to me because it shows respect to many people that speak it.”                                                                                                                                                - A. P.

·      “What it means to be Native is to go to powwows, learn our language, and go to school.  Knowing who we are helps us in school and this includes knowing where we come from, how we live, and our language. “                                                                                                                                                 - S. A.

·      “In our history there is war, the children went to residential schools, and we were put on reservations.  In residential schools the children were not allowed to go home and they were made white (for example cutting the boys hair).  Our history makes me sad because the kids had to go to residential schools and they tried to make us non-Indians but today we can be happy because we go to school and we are allowed to go home and be with our families.”                                                                                      - S. A.

·      “All of these make me feel good about myself and when I feel good I try to be happy and pay attention in class.  This makes for a better education, which will help me to get a better job when I’m older.”                         - S. A.

·      “I think knowing your culture is important because you can teach people that there is more to First Nations people than stereotypes, knowing your culture could help later in life, and also stop bullying and racism towards First Nations people. “                                                                         - J. H.

·      “I think knowing your culture early in life could help later in life also and here’s why.  Teaching others around you who want to learn about First Nations heritage could be easier if you knew from an early age.  Some people in life don’t have beliefs but want to believe something, knowing from an early age can fix that problem.”                                                - J. H.

·      “I believe that teaching people that it isn’t all just stereotypes, knowing your culture early in life, or even stopping bullying and racism towards First Nations people could really help First Nations people.”             - J. H.

·      “I’m no different than anyone else but my skin color is different and my history may be a bit different but I want the same things as others.  Stereotypes may say we get things for free but we have to work just as hard as everyone else out there. “                                                  - N. L.

·      “It is good for us to know our history because we need to stay strong, like our warriors.  It is good for everyone to learn about this so that there are no stereotypes about Natives. “                                                            - N. L.

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Get your backpack!

Now that the categories have been established what to write about.  It has recently become apparent the power of social media especially in relation to the movement known as Idle No More.  A grassroots movement that is sweeping not only Canada but worldwide through social media, the people, drummers, believers, and everyday people fighting for First Nations rights.  As a nation the beauty of our people are shining brighter with each passing day and with this in mind you are being asked to write about how as a First Nations youth you are inspired by our history, our culture, and/or our current struggles.  This can be done through an essay, or a creative outlet of your choice and you will be put into the category you have written in.

More information to follow!  Just a quick post to get the writing started.  

Sunday, February 10, 2013

New Contest Rules

Contest Rules
In order to enter the contest you must meet the requirements, along with follow the rules set forth in this section.
  1. Writing Contests are open to all Ontario First Nations youth who need assistance with purchasing school supplies for the upcoming school year (2013/2014).

  2. To be eligible to enter, all of the criteria must be met: (age/grade category), including band name submitted by the contest deadline.

  3. Essays will be accepted March 1st with a closing date of May 31st to allow for judging to commence with winners being announced at the ending of the school year (ending of June to mid-July) to allow students notification they will be receiving their prizes in the summer (and not purchase school supplies on their own).

  4. Winning entries may have snippets of their writings posted on our blog and Facebook page to not only showcase their work, but also allow for our youth’s voices to be heard and hopefully recognized by leaders in our communities and country. Winning entries will not include identifying factors such as last names (only last initial). I may contact winners if interest is shown in their essays by third parties for referencing.

  5. Students will be entered into the appropriate categories based on their grade at time of submission of entry.

  6. The amount of winning packs will be determined by the amount of donations received for the school year (fiscal year Sept. – August). The blog and Facebook page will be updated with the amount of prizes eligible for each year pending funding received.

  7. Entries can be received via email to mackspacks5@gmail.com.

  8. Electronic entries must be sent in a .pdf, or Microsoft Word document.

  9. Entries will be judged by community volunteers/leaders that have volunteered their time for this contest.

  10. Plagiarism will not be tolerated and if necessary references must be noted, if plagiarism is found the entry will be null and void.

Monday, February 4, 2013

New Contest, New Categories, New Rules!

This year the contest will be open to a smaller range of students according to grade level, with grades ten and eleven being phased out, but more categories will be open.  I've chosen to do this because I know that not everyone wants to write an essay to express their views and may find it more appealing to write a poem, song, or other creative outlet.  The categories will be:
  1. Grades Four to Six
  2. Grades Seven to Nine
With each of the grades being eligible to enter the following categories:
  • Essay or Personal memoir
  • Creative Writing which can include poems or original songs
This still includes three winners from each category with a total of twelve potential winners.  Entrants will be asked to describe how knowing who they are (history, culture) can be beneficial to their success as a student.  Entrants will be accepted from February 20th to April 30th, 2013.  All entries will be judged with winners being announced June 25th, 2013 via this blog, and social media.    More information will follow within the next week and new contest rules will be posted as soon as possible!

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

My apologies for the wait...

It has been a while since I've posted and I apologize.  It's due to accepting a new position and getting settled, along with after school activities like swimming, getting out and being active, and enjoying my little man.

This past September five deserving students were awarded backpacks full of school supplies that I can only hope will benefit them in their studies.  As I teach it still breaks my heart when kids don't have the essentials and am fortunate that my position allows me to accommodate these students with the necessities while they are in my classroom.  Here's a picture of the back packs and more info to come about the upcoming contest!  Enjoy this winter wonderland if you find yourself in one!  I will also be posting quotes from the student's work to give our youth a voice.



Sunday, April 29, 2012

Spring has sprung!

Spring has sprung in my own classroom and for me its a time of organizing and assessments, assessments, assessments! With this in mind I understand the importance of balancing not only school demands but demands from programs such as this. As a teacher I know of the importance of seeing students prepared for testing (provincial, assessments, etc.) and this is one way they can be prepared for the beginning of a school year. So get those entries in! In my own classroom I ensure for this time of the school year they are prepared for tests with calculators, pencils, erasers, etc. because I know that students feel more confident and tend to do better when they have the necessary tools. Happy assessments and essay writing!