Friend Fridays at Wix-Brown combines Indigenous Culture and Hands-on Learning

April 22, 2022

Most people love Fridays! At Wix-Brown Elementary, the students, staff, and community have a greater appreciation of the end of the school week, and that’s all thanks to “Friend Fridays.”

Friend Fridays is a collaborative learning experience created by Aboriginal Support Worker,  Deanna Miller,  and Teacher Librarian, Jennifer Peach at Wix-Brown Elementary. It happens every Friday. Each of the classes, all ten divisions, get two sessions a year.

“Friend Fridays is focused on literacy, and then an activity which follows the Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives curriculum, and it is grade appropriate,” says Deanna.

“The kids love it! This is our fourth year doing Fun Fridays, and they look forward to it. Today we read a story called Awasis and the World-Famous Bannock. Students watched us make some bannock (frybread) and were hands-on able to make the jam that they got to take home,” explained Miller.

Students first sat in a circle to listen to Ms. Miller read the book by Dallas Hunt, which tells the tale of young Awasis who lost their Kohkum’s (grandmother in Cree language) freshly made bannock. In the story, Awasis seeks the help and guidance from others and finds adventure along the way.

After the storybook portion, the class moved on to more learning followed by a hands-on activity making berry jam. Once the bannock was cooked, students were able to try their jam with the bannock. The students also have the opportunity to share their learning with their family.

“They are each taking a serving of jam home and my dad’s recipe for bannock that we use in our family,” says Miller.

“They know by now the relationship between me and my dad and the connections because he was a residential school survivor and how important those connections that I have with him. They know how important those recipes, those connections, and things that I experienced with him. By sharing that with them, they can go connect with their own families as well,” shares Miller who is a member of the Katzie First Nation.

The take-home recipe card also contains a QR code to a YouTube video of Miller and her daughter Carlyn Andres, who is also an Aboriginal Support Worker at Blacklock Elementary School, demonstrating the making of bannock.

“I want them to go home to their family and gather together make bannock and share a meal,” added Miller.