Monday, May 11, 2009

Good resource to help you meet Alaska cultural standards


A great resource I stumbled across earlier this year is called Alaskool. It's a site chockfull of online materials about Alaska Native history, education, languages and cultures. Alaskool is actually a project developed by the Alaska Native Curriculum and Teacher Development Project (ANCTD). Teams of teachers, elders, and community members across Alaska came together with university-based specialists to develop this curriculum.

This is really in-depth curriculum, and as far as authentic - this is the real deal - not an Alaska curriculum developed by someone who doesn't really know Alaska. There are modules, projects, units, and individual lessons that address all grade levels, all Eskimo and Alaska Native tribes, and huge variety of cultural studies. Back in February I also blogged about another site for studying Alaska History. Alaskool ranks right up there in quality with that particular resource!

For those who think they really know Alaska studies, Alaskool is bound to give you something new. I cannot stress enough the depth and quality of these lessons and units - they are well thought out and just fantastic!

One of the aspects of the site I really like is the aide and support it gives to new teachers and teachers new to Alaska in terms of working in new cultures, and also using their vast resources to write their own custom units that are suited to their unique situations.

One downside is that it doesn't look like the site is being updated any longer, but it was built on a grant from the Department of Education and sometimes those lag a little between funding. However, the information is still very current and very relevant. There are many activities and discussion suggestions for classrooms regarding such issues as AFN, Molly Hootch, and a number of other topical issues. It would be easy to use these as a jumping off point to get into newer current events affecting rural Alaska, and Alaska Natives.

Some of the content areas on Alaskool with resources are land claims, education, languages, government, traditional life, subsistence, biographies. and literature. There are also supplemental modules such as regional studies, timelines, outposts, maps, and a great audio/visual library.
Alaskool is one of the top resource sites I have found with in-depth, authentic lessons and units on Alaska and Alaska cultural studies - I have been cherry picking from it quite a bit this year, and intend to do that and a lot more with it next year as well.

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