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A sense of community: learning, culture, and leadership.

The ability to construct communities is inherent to human development. Whether we are creating communities of learning, culture, or leadership, we need clear, shared values, goals, and rules to make a community function. Each generation is heir to the values, rules, and goals that have been created, honed, and practiced over the years in their communities. The videos reviewed here are directed to two different audiences: students and school staff. What is common to both is the need for community, the value of time in the development of knowledge, the enormity of the learning experience, and the hard work and perseverance involved in developing resilient communities.

Sioux Community

The following films present the legends, practices, remembrances, and traditions of the Sioux Culture of the Northern Plains Indians. Although these films are educational, educators should exercise some caution, because of some graphic content and some nudity. Therefore, these films are only recommended for upper middle school and high school curricula.

TAHTONKA: The Plains Indians and Their Buffalo Culture. 1973, 27 minutes, $31.95.

This short video presents viewers with over 300 years of Sioux history. The Sioux cultural infrastructure is largely based on the buffalo (tahtonka). In 1820, 40 million buffalo roamed the United States, giving the Sioux an abundant resource for food and clothing, and a pervasive influence on art, dance, and music. Narrator Ben Black Elk, Sioux elder and Holy Man, helps viewers learn about the symbiotic relationship between the Sioux and the buffalo through actual footage of various practices. The footage shows cultural practices done in the same manner as they were 300 years ago. The depiction of certain age-old traditions--men hunting buffalo and painting animal hides, and women mashing black berries and making jerky--sheds light on the values, roles, and responsibility of the Sioux community. The buffalo hunt was a seasonal event conducted for the purposes of nourishment and warmth, not for sport; it required maturity and skill. The film also features the traditional Mandan buffalo dance, and relates the history of this Native American nation, including the massacre at Wounded Knee. Some of the scenes are graphic (e.g., the hunting of a buffalo and eating of its heart). Despite a graininess in film quality, this video is valuable in its authentic view of the traits, characteristics, and practices of this vibrant community.

Extensions: Due to its graphic content, this film is only recommended for children in the 6th to 12th grades. This film can provide an exciting in-depth history of the Sioux culture as well as a perspective on the life and culture of the Sioux nation before colonialism. Teachers and students can extrapolate the information to develop a research unit on the Sioux nation and culture and its place in American history.

NAUMAN FILMS, INC. Box 232, Custer, South Dakota.

LAKOTA QUILLWORK--Art and Legend: A Story of Sioux Porcupine Quilling, Past and Present. 1990, 27 minutes, $31.95.

Viewers will learn about porcupine quilling, a Lakota tradition still practiced by the women of the community. Quilling is considered to be the highest form of all of the crafts pursued by Lakota women. The filmmakers show a past and present view of Lakota women working on intricate designs using quills. Two communities are represented: the present community on the reservation, and a reenactment of life in the early Lakota community. Modern-day Lakota women, on the Pine Ridge Reservation of South Dakota, are shown using the techniques handed down for generations to make robes, baby carriers, headdresses, etc. Viewers can see the entire, complex six-step process, from hunting for the porcupines to dyeing the quills and weaving them into various articles of clothing and goods. Again, nothing is wasted; the entire porcupine (from hair to quills) is used for both utilitarian and artistic purposes.

Extensions: This is an excellent resource for study of native cultural arts and community needs. This video would fit very well in a number of discipline areas, from the arts and crafts of native people, to economics past and present, to the role and contributions of women to culture. It is also a good example for the lesson of "waste not, want not."

Sun Dog Films, Box 232, Custer, South Dakota.

LIVE AND REMEMBER (WO KIKSUYE). 1987, 30 minutes, $29.95. This film provides a behind-the-scenes look at several of the ancient religious rituals and cultural practices of the Sioux community. Filmed on Rosebud Reservation, South Dakota, this video informs viewers about the Sweat Ceremony, harmony with nature, family traditions, etc. Storytelling and sharing is the format for this documentary on how Sioux traditions have been maintained and how they have been influenced by modern-day society. Several members of the Sioux culture are interviewed. They voice their experiences as medicine men and as witnesses to the merger of Sioux culture and contemporary life. They also discuss the importance of the ancient oral tradition of Sioux elders relating the people's history to children, and explaining the spirituality present in all life's activities. Members of the Sioux community share their traditions and practices, making this film truly worthwhile.

Extensions: This is an excellent starting point for study of the evolution of cultures from past to present.

SOLARIS LAKOTA (A project in association with South Dakota Public TV), 264 West 19th Street, New York, New York 10011,212-741-0778. Special thanks to Bro. David Nagel for allowing us to review these films on loan from Tipi Press, St. Joseph's Indian School, Chamberlain, South Dakota.

Professional Learning Communities

School communities include students, teachers, parents, and administrators. We are well informed on the subject of students as learners, but often less so about staff as learners. "Let's Talk About Professional Learning Communities," a three-part video series, is particularly timely. The videos in this set provide informed, enlightening, and vivid conversations with practitioners in the field of professional development. It is refreshing, thought-provoking, and engaging to hear experienced school administrators discuss highly practical ways of developing schools as continuously learning communities.

National Educational Service, 800-733-6786; www.nesonline.com; $199.95 for 3-part series.

LET'S TALK ABOUT PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES: Getting Started--Mission, Vision, Values, Goals. 2004, 32 minutes.

The key components of the Professional Learning Community model are brought out in detailed conversations with school administrators Richard Du Four, Robert Eaker, and Rebecca Du Four, and with Executive Director of the National Staff Development Council Dennis Spark. The mediator asks provocative and meaningful questions, eliciting discussions of significant issues and strategies for providing structure for the development of professional learning communities in individual schools. "Getting Started--Mission, Vision, Values, Goals" focuses on key issues that a school needs to address in order to create and function as a professional learning community. The participants discuss and provide insight into the necessary elements for creating such communities, helping to clarify key terms. The video carefully examines setting a vision for a learning community that espouses "learning for all" and the need to align practices with the philosophical mission. The school must be committed to maximizing student learning through teamwork and planning. Staff passion and perseverance are considered important factors in generating commitment from the faculty as they move toward a more viable and effective school community.

Extensions" This is a good vehicle for inspiring staff examination, individually and collectively. Educators will benefit from viewing the video as a group, as it may raise provocative questions particular to their settings. Viewers may ask themselves: What kind of school are we? How do we expect children to learn? How do we use what we have in terms of the mission, values, and goals we have set? This is an excellent film for use in administration courses and inservice courses.

LET'S TALK ABOUT PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES: Getting Started-Collaboration. 2004, 40 minutes.

"Collaboration" has become a common catchword used to promote uniformity in schools. This thoughtful and useful video, "Getting Started--Collaboration," focuses on collaboration as a vehicle in the development of professional learning communities. The first steps toward creating a team effort take time; often, teachers feel pressure to engage in collaboration, yet do not have much time in their already busy day to do so. The video emphasizes the importance of using collective time effectively, and shows ways to provide time for staff and faculty to meet, plan, and focus on students' achievement. The split between personal autonomy and the desire to be part of a team collaboration is examined. The video raises important questions about teacher autonomy, collaboration, and building trust, emphasizing the following:

* Research is a responsibility of teachers as professionals within the learning community

* Collective inquiry is central to the development of the school as a professional learning community

* Collective inquiry reveals that many good practices in the school are often not shared

* Collective inquiry requires building on success rather than getting bogged down with failure.

Extensions: This video would be excellent for use by universities that will be undergoing review from the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education (NCATE). The video provides material for self-study and analysis for schools seeking change, and for those involved in the process of building a professional learning community.

LET'S TALK ABOUT PROFESSIONAL LEARNING COMMUNITIES: Getting Started--Leadership. 2004, 37 minutes.

The focus of the conversation in this video is "Where do you start?" In other words, how do leaders in the school community operate a learning community, and how do they get their faculty and staff to support the model? The conversation centers on the idea and practice of shared knowledge within the school setting through understanding what has come before, studying models, and providing time for collaboration before taking action. The discussion also emphasizes the role of leadership as a means of building consensus. How is consensus defined in a school? How is it dealt with? Is consensus helpful or thwarting? Is it necessary? Does the team deal with negativity in a realistic way? Strategies are included to help staff and faculty develop a deeper understanding of the many elements that move a school staff toward becoming a professional learning community.

Extensions: This video, as well as the other two in the series, can help generate a one-year self-study. The information and ideas presented can provide a plethora of topics for discussion on staff development, administration, and the development of a school as a professional learning community.
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Article Details
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Title Annotation:Films/Video/DVDs; Sioux community
Author:Winick, Mariann P.
Publication:Childhood Education
Article Type:Bibliography
Geographic Code:1USA
Date:Mar 22, 2004
Words:1712
Previous Article:Introducing the ECAP Report.
Next Article:Journal of research in childhood education vol. 18, no. 2, winter 2003/04.
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