A few weeks ago, the class was randomly divided into 6 teams before we entered the EMJS library. As we entered, each group was told that they were actually were not in the school library, they were on BC’s west coast, in the mountains or in the prairies! To their great surprise, the students also heard that the door to the library had been rejigged as a time travel portal, and that they all had traveled 1,000 years into the past.
Unfortunately, the time travel machine had broken down and they were stranded back in time, probably forever. And all they had to survive were the things they had brought into the library! Each team immediately brainstormed how they could make shelter, find water, gather food, protect themselves from danger and so on. The students were very imaginative (and excited) as they tried to think of solutions to this survival scenario.
Eventually, over a number of sessions, students began to gather more detailed information about their landscape, flora and fauna. (They researched used books and iPads.) With their new found knowledge, they were better able to devise ways to survive. It was quite interesting to watch the teams evolve in understanding and idea creation as they moved from their imaginations to what they learned about the various environments.
The class then realized that there were already people living in these areas, people who had garnered survival wisdom for many thousands of years – indigenous peoples! This realization led the teams to dive even deeper into their topics and learn about traditional native peoples ways of building shelters, gathering and/or hunting food, making clothing, etc., etc.
By this point, so much information was being discovered, each student needed a blog to record and share what they were learning. This note taking tool provided an advantage over ordinary paper and pencil note taking, as the blogs could include pictures, videos and active links to websites with even more information. They were also searchable and sharable. Students were taught some techniques for doing more targeted web searches, and how to cite the sources they were using.
If you are curious to learn more about the student’s note taking blogs, ask your son or daughter to share with you what they have done. In a little over two weeks, the class has posted over 150 blog posts about our topic!
Now, this week, the teams are working hard to create 3D dioramas of what they learned! Next week each student will write “Learning Cards” about what they have built to attach to their handmade models.
Next Friday, the 26th, all of the French and English grade four and five classes (and some of the grade threes) will be celebrating and sharing all they have learned about Canada with the whole school!! Our class is presenting our dioramas about some of the historical life of native peoples, while other classes will be sharing posters about all the provinces and territories of Canada, the cities and towns of BC and so much more. The whole school will be invited to come. It should be a very exciting, and learning-full day! You and your friends are invited to come to the gym on the day too, from 9:30 to 11:30 to share in the experience…. it should be quite a memorable time!!