The most natural place to connect subject areas is by incorporating art into the lessons. It’s easy to think a little colouring will be enough art each week, but it’s important to create art projects that teach actual art skills. We created several lessons around the landscapes and geography we were studying about Canada while building art skills such as drawing, sculpting, painting and printmaking. Want to try it? Read on.
The Canadian news is flooded with discussions about pipelines and where they should or shouldn’t be built. So, how do we address these issues in the classrooms? Many of our students have family members who work in the oil industry and many have parents who work closely with Indigenous people and environmentalists. So when these issues are so hotly contested in the media, how do we teach students to listen to all perspectives and form opinions based on facts (especially in light of how many people are unable to look past bias)?
We created a product that introduces all sides of the pipeline issue. It’s not meant to have students create an opinion, but to learn to listen to a variety of perspectives. Sometimes when we feel passionately about an issue, it’s difficult to hear the other side. Even as teachers, we have to be careful to not influence the opinions of our students. We need to teach students to listen and evaluate multiple perspectives, disagree respectfully and back up their opinions with facts rather than other people’s opinions.
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We’d love to hear about your experiences discussing polarizing issues with your students. How are you managing the current culture of differing sides? How do you keep your personal opinion out of the classroom? Please share with us in the comments below.
Project based learning can be a challenge because it moves the control from the teacher to the student. When we began our teaching journey, controlling every aspect of student work from beginning to end seemed like the right thing to do. As we’ve evolved as teachers, we learned that loosening the reigns has many benefits. Check out some of the best reasons we use project based learning in our classroom. Continue Reading
Often we do not have the time to get deep into every outcome in our Program of Studies. One of the best ways to teach children about different cultures is through art.
This is a lesson we’ve done with our students for years.
If you look for them, there are many books out there illustrated by Aboriginal artists of Canada. Their artwork is inspirational and many students connect with the illustrations of these books. They often depict the oral traditional stories of various groups of Aboriginal people and so they become invaluable in teaching students about the belief systems of other people in a creative way. You can easily combine art and social studies!
What happens when you let your students come up with the task? A great activity that students have already bought into because they think it’s their idea!
We were teaching social studies to our fourth and fifth graders and were learning about the way of life for the different Aboriginal groups historically in Canada. Our question to our students was, “How can you show us what you have learned?”
Their responses, “Can we make a project? Can we build a tipi? Can I make a poster?” Continue Reading