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  • Writer's pictureSarah Hudson

And Along Came Trickster Tales

Updated: Sep 10, 2022

Move over Daily 5, here comes Scholastic’s Trickster Tales!

I tried. I really, honestly tried. I tried to get on board with the Daily 5. And looking back, it was as exhausting and as unfulfilling as my first marriage.

I went to workshops and read manuals. On weekends, I spent my time hunting for puzzles, learning manipulatives and the latest TpT units. I spent copious hours photocopying worksheets, constructing timetables, leveling students to organize into groups. I even had a local "guru" critique my class during a Daily 5 session! But after 3 months in, I was fed up and was facing Daily 5 fatigue. It wasn’t for me and I wanted a divorce!

And then… along came Trickster Tales.

At about the same time I was nose diving into Daily 5 despair, our wonderful teacher-librarian purchased a set of Scholastic Trickster Tales. At first glance, I was intrigued. There were eight different sets, from the West Coast, Plains, Great Lakes, East Coast, and the North.

They included: Chi-Jean and other Métis Tales, Glooscap Tales, Iktomni Tales, Nanabozho Tales, Raven Tales, Tales from the Six Nations, Tulugaq and other Inuit Tales, and Wesakechak Tales.

“These traditional stories are told from Indigenous perspectives in graphic novel form. Each series has a different author team with the lead author and a writer from the culture. Each series also had a review team from the Nation the story originated.”

The graphic novel layout was an instant hook, the reading level was perfect, the entertainment value held student interest and being authentic traditional tales put them into a league of their own.

They were the missing piece to my literacy void!

I could see that these graphic novel sets had amazing potential. So, I created a hybrid: Trickster Tales Literacy Centres

The idea was to have groups of students rotate through each book, reading together and completing a response page. (I adopted this format when I created the social studies learning groups, Strong Stories Tlingit Series and Strong Stories Coast Salish Series, with the Strong Nations Strong Stories Series. You can find that blog here.)

As a subscriber to Reading Power’s philosophy, my reading response activities were designed to foster a deeper understanding of the story through different reading strategies. I also wanted to make my program as low maintenance as possible. All the teacher had to do was photocopy the student booklet once, create the groupings and it was cruise control from there on. An assessment rubric was also included to help support the teacher.

I want to stress that by no means was I trying to simplify the content and its meaning.

Instead, these units encourage students to work together to understand, explore, discuss, connect and interact as a team. They take on individual responsibilities; fostering a sense of purpose while working together in cooperation. Meanwhile, teachers are freed up to work with smaller groups, giving those students valuable one to one teacher time.

A literacy centres approach is just one of many ways you can deliver the content. You can purchase the units bundled or separately here.

Here’s to breathing new life into your literacy adventures!

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