Teachers' Notes for A Virtual Wintercount
(use "Side-by-side" link to view the Student
students will learn that a wintercount was a way that several Plains
tribes reorded their history. In this part of the project, they will create
their own version of a winter count, using graphics and stories to record
and communicate a picture of what life is like for a typical student of
Each month, your class
must decide what is the most important event of the month to record. They
will choose or create a graphic to represent that event, and decide how
best to tell the story that lies behind the graphic. Maybe September is
the month they started to learn handwriting. Perhaps November is the month
everyone in the school had to get Meningitis shots. In April, there might
have been a freak snowstorm and the school was closed for 3 days. And
perhaps May was graduation.
Working with the Topic:
1. Have students explore the Winter Count pages on this
site. The links are located on the student
2. As you begin to talk about winter counts, you can raise
some of the fundamental issues that lie at the heart of Counting Canadians.
Here are some of the things you might ask:
- Why do people want to collect and record information
about their lives?
- Do you think all people would go about answering the question “What
is life like?” in the same way?
- What kinds of history can you record in pictures only? A Winter
Count is only one kind of pictograph. You might want to show students
some examples of cave drawings, rock carvings and ledger books. An on
line search will yield good results for you here.
- If you can use numbers to help you answer the question, how would
you do that?
- Who gets to have input into possible answers to the question? Have
their been times in our history when some people's voices and experiences
were ignored? Would adults answer this question differently from kids?
- How do we decide which events, ideas or data to include in a final
picture of what life is like for us? Do we focus on the most common
experiences? The most spectacular ones?
- What kinds of data does Statistics Canada collect? How do they get it?
- How do we make sure that other people who look at what we recorded
really understand what we meant?