We had a wonderful month of studying Canada in many ways, from many perspectives, in all 4 directions! The students worked with the geography and landscape of Canada from sea to sea, they worked with memory games to connect provinces/territories with capital cities, they learned about many fascinating geographical features of Canada, they learned about many explorers that staked claim on this land, and drew many maps.
They received further education regarding the history of the indigenous people of this land. They learned about the various ways of living, based on the landscape the aboriginal settled in. We had a visitor, Daryle Mills, from the Cree Nation. He now lives in the valley and does a wonderful job of sharing his culture, and the history of indigenous people throughout Canada. He spoke about Residential Schools, the history of inequality for the indigenous, and shared ceremonial practices with us. It really spoke to the children. They were engaged and respectful as we sat in a circle, listening to his songs and drumming, and participating in his smudging ceremony.
The next day the children were asked to work in partners to design a new Canadian flag. Many children created beautiful new designs that included sage and sweet grass burning, symbols of the 4 elements of the earth, and animals of Canada. This to me is clear evidence that these children hold a new vision of Canada, a vision that encompasses the truth of our history, and a feeling of pride for the magnificence of this country.
Throughout the block the children worked in pairs to research a region of Canada. This was an excellent opportunity to work in a group, share skills, manage time, and present orally. Each group prepared a paragraph of interesting facts, an image or flag, and a regional map. The students then included this research in their own main lesson books. The result is a wonderful, factual homemade text book that I am sure will be useful in future grades when learning about Canada!