Teaching our shared history: The Kairos Blanket Exercise

I went to a PD session just over a year ago where I was first introduced to the Kairos Blanket Exercise.  It is a experiential way to discuss topics such as first contact, treaties, residential schools and the Indian Act.

A section from the description of the Exercise reads as follows:

“Designed to deepen understanding of the denial of Indigenous peoples’ nationhood, the Blanket Exercise explores the major themes and recommendations of the Royal commission on aboriginal Peoples (RCAP), examines how federal policies and programs impact the lives of Indigenous peoples in Canada, and identifies what Indigenous peoples and their allies are doing to bring about positive change.”

Our history is a shared history in this country and this exercise is a highly accessible way to teach topics that are often left out of the history books.  There are two different versions of the exercise one for younger students and one for grade 9-adult.  In my class I used an adapted version of the grade 9-adult script.  I had to adapt it because my class is relatively small so there were parts of the script that didn’t quite work with a small group. I would say that you would want at least 15-20 people to have it work smoothly.

If your school has the budget (and you live in Canada) you may wish to have one of their facilitators come in to run the program for you, especially if you comfort level isn’t quite there.  This is how I experienced the activity for the first time at my PD.  If not you can choose which script is appropriate for your age group and work your way through it.  The printable cue cards are included at the back of the script which if you print on different colour paper and laminate can be re-used over again, this way you are the narrator is the only person who requires the entire copy of the script, allowing for students to pay attention to what was going on and wait for their cue to read their lines.

My students really enjoyed this activity, as did I when I first tried it.  I am including a copy of the script here which you can view.



About lauragroome

I am a high school teacher for the Toronto District School Board, this site is meant for my students to have greater access to what is going on in class and to raise some topics of interest.
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