First Nations and European Colonialism

Every time we find great resources, we feel that it is vital to share them with you.  Well, in preparing a lesson on the settlement of the North West Territories for Grade 8 History, we came across a video that provides a fantastic visual to deepen students’ understanding of how First Nations people were forced to adapt to the changes that were brought forth by European Settlement.  The video is a slide show presentation which demonstrates how the assimilation process imposed upon the First Nations people left a contentious mark on the history of North America.   Furthermore, the slide show is correlated with the song “Don’t Drink the Water” by Dave Matthews Band.  The lyrics help students critically analyze the historical context.

Just click on the links to find the video http://vimeo.com/20704763 and the lyrics.  We hope your lesson is much more powerful by using this presentation prepared by Sam Richards.

Please preview the slide show, as there are several images that are quite graphic in content.

 

 

Pre-Reading Activities: Introducing Students to Life in the 1960s Through Drama

One of the novels that I absolutely love to teach is The Outsiders by S.E. Hinton.  I have yet to encounter a student that did not love this novel!

Since the story is set in the 1960s, I go through various activities to help my students understand what life was like in the 1960s. We usually begin with a whole class discussion where students share anything that they know about the 1960s and we record contributions on the board.  As more students share their ideas, we begin to build a concept map where we attempt to categorize the contributions and make connections between ideas. When students begin to struggle, I use prompting questions to get them to discuss possible answers (e.g. “Do you think students had calculators in the 1960s?”).  Once we have had a great discussion, we work on two main activities:  group and individual presentations.

The group presentations are pretty straightforward: students work in small groups to create a multi-media presentation on one aspect of the 1960s in greater detail and then present it to the class.  We determine the topics for the presentations from the concept map we created during our discussion.  This year, our topics were: fashion, politics, entertainment, television, sports, music, cars, and technology.

The individual presentations integrate drama into Language Arts.  I had my students research influential people from the 1960s and each student had to choose one person to research more in-depth. To keep things interesting, no two students were allowed to research the same person.  Once they researched and chose an influential person from the 1960s, students were then to “become” this person and be interviewed on a talk show.  Students were given about three weeks to prepare for their interviews and they were to focus on content, costume/props, voice and delivery, gestures, and presentation.  I provided students with a graphic organizer to help them record their research and prepare for their presentations.

We had our talk show on Thursday and it was amazing! I wish I could share pictures to show you all the fantastic and creative costumes by students came up with!  This was such an engaging experience and both my students and I had a wonderful time and learned so much!

In case you are reading a novel with your students that is set in the 1960s, I have included the worksheet here for your use.  Just click on the link!

Computer Coding: An Essential Skill

We all wonder what our students and children will face in the future.  How will they be successful, what kind of work will there be for them, what skills are necessary to be able to be successful?  These questions are at the heart of everything we do!  We know that students need to be creative, able to problem solve and think critically.  Also, we know that our curriculum and our classrooms should be inclusive of technology.  But what about understanding where it all stems from?  What are we doing about that?  We need to realize that computer software coding is an essential skill that will be necessary for success. We need to be able to address this in our classrooms.

Here is a link to a wonderful video, where world class athletes, musicians and great business people, discuss the importance to this very skill.

Well, what does that mean for us? Visit the website www.code.org and find out how students can learn to code in elementary schools, how they can develop their critical thinking skills and problem solving skills. Share with us what you think and what you have tried.  It is never too late for anyone to learn to code!

 

The Tuesday 12: 12 Distinctly Canadian Picture Books!

As I was strolling through Chapters the other day looking for new books for my sons, I came across several picture books that were distinctly Canadian in either content or authorship.  So, here’s a list of 12 excellent picture books that proudly proclaim “our home and native land!”

12 canadian picture books

1. “The Hockey Sweater” by Roch Carrier (Translated by Sheila Fischman and Illustrated by Sheldon Cohen)

I bought this classic “Canadien” story for my sons.  Despite the NHL lockout, hockey is still a big topic of conversation and who can resist this tale of the little boy who receives a Toronto Maple Leafs hockey sweater instead of his beloved #9 Maurice Richard Montreal Canadiens sweater?

2. “Crosby’s Golden Goal” by Mike Leonetti (Illustrated by Gary McLaughlin)

A great story about a boy who abandons hockey, a game he loves so much.  After witnessing Crosby’s golden goal at the Vancouver Olympics, he returns to the ice and the sport he loves. Other famous stories about hockey heroes by the same author include Wendel and The Great One, The Rocket, and The Mighty Tim Horton.

3. “The Salmon Twins” written and illustrated by Carroll Simpson

A visually stunning book that celebrates Canada’s First Nations by looking at the groups of the Pacific Northwest. Although it would be perfect for the grade 6 social studies curriculum, the theme of community values makes this a great addition to any classroom library.

4. “A Promise is a Promise” by Robert Munsch and Michael Kusugak (illustrated by Vladyana Krykorka)

Together, Munsch and Kusugak take you to the Northwest Territories to tell the story of Allashua, a little girl who encounters the qallupilluit, Inuit monsters that live below the ice.  In this book, children learn the importance of listening to their parents, keeping their promises, and Inuit story-telling traditions.

5. “Goodnight, Canada” written and illustrated by Andrea Beck

A wonderful book that takes you through the Canadian provinces and territories, while saying goodnight to children living in these different locations.

6. “M is for Moose: A Charles Pachter Alphabet” by Charles Pachter

This is a beautiful book that is filled with tons of visual information about Canadian history, pop culture, and heritage.  A stunning book! Also, check out “Canada Counts: A Charles Pachter Counting Book”

7.  “Picture a Tree” by Barbara Reid

I still remember reading “Have You Seen Birds?” with my grade three class and making our own plasticine bird pictures in Barbara Reid’s distinctive style. “Picture a Tree” is a great book to use during Earth Week, learning about the environment, and helping students develop respect, appreciation, and stewardship of our Earth.

8. “The Cremation of Sam McGee” by Robert W. Service (Illustrated by Ted Harrison)

I love this poem and teach it to my students each year.  The illustrations are beautiful and remind me of the Group of Seven. It would be great to integrate an art lesson with this poem and book by creating oil pastel drawings of the Northern Lights.

9. “Alligator Pie” by Dennis Lee (Illustrated by Frank Newfeld)

 

“Someday I’ll go to Winnipeg
To win a peg-leg pig.
But will a peg-leg winner win
The piglet’s ill-got wig?”

What’s not to love?! My son and I love reading these hilarious poems before bed each night!

10. “Wishes” by Jean Little (illustrated by Genevieve Cote)

I’ve been a Jean Little fan since I read “From Anna” in grade 4.  I bought this book for my youngest son for Christmas It would be great to create a collaborative class book where each child writes and illustrates their own wishes.

11. “A Porcupine in a Pine Tree: A Canadian 12 Days of Christmas” by Helaine Becker (illustrated by Werner Zimmermann)

Another Christmas gift for my sons! Can you tell I buy a lot of books? A great twist on the classic Christmas song! My favourite verse? Ten Leafs a-leaping!

12. “M is for Maple: A Canadian Alphabet” by Mike Ulmer and Melanie Rose (illustrated by Melanie Rose)

A beautifully illustrated book that takes you from British Columbia to Prince Edward Island.  Filled with Canadian history, personalities, geography, and pop culture.  If you like this one, check out the province specific ones including “A is for Algonquin: An Ontario Alphabet” and “B is for Bluenose: A Nova Scotia Alphabet.”

Don’t forget to check in next week for another edition of The Tuesday 12!

Disclosure: this post contains affiliate links

Remembrance Day ~ A way to remember

Our previous post this week was about Remarkable Remembrance Day Resources (Tuesday 12) and they truly are extensive!  In this post, you will find petitions that can be read over the PA system, or at your school activities to honour the lives lost by our brave soldiers, or simply use them for a time of reflection within your classroom or ways to reflect in personal journals.   We hope that by having this piece students and staff alike will reflect and come away with a further understanding of this exceptionally important day.  Lest we forget! Remembrance Day Link

 

 

Our time is coming to an end!

What better way to end the year then with a timeline reflection – have your students reflect on the great school year! You can do this in so many different ways and for so many different reasons. Click on the … Continue reading →