English Language Arts
At the end of a short story unit, Grade 9 students were asked to choose two characters from different stories. Students were invited to write a message in the voice of one character to tell the other something they needed to hear. Their writing also had to represent the message on the front of the postcard they picked, for example “life’s too short not to eat the tart”. Students completed character sheets and some used them as manipulatives to help make choices about their approach.
Ms. Spencer introduced Grade 5/6 students to the concept of a calligram as a cross-curricular art and ELA project. To make connections to the background knowledge from their biodiversity unit in science, and the upcoming Earth Day, Ms. Spencer chose the theme of endangered animals. She invited students to research, draw or trace, incorporate poetry, or create a campaign slogan.
During Ms. Spencer’s Grade 5/6 poetry unit, students were invited to incorporate art in their text by creating something new out of something old. Through a gradual release strategy students were taught how to build blackout or found poems with old magazines and ripped or torn books.
Ms. Spencer and her students collectively wrote a Sensory Poem together on the board, then students were given time to create their own. Each student was supplied with a graphic organizer and encouraged to decide whether they wanted to use it or not. (Activity from Inside Out Handbook by Beach & Neufeld Strijack
Ms. Spencer stepped outside her ELA expertise to teach the Properties of and Changes in Substances science cluster to her Grade 5/6 scientists. Students loved the call and response chant that Ms. Spencer used throughout the learning, “Solid, Liquid, Gas! (What?) Solid, Liquid, Gas! (What?) Solid, Liquid, Gas, it takes up space and it has mass!” They had a blast with experiments like, blowing up balloons with soda and vinegar, making ice cream in a bag, and erupting volcanoes in the snow! Turns out Ms. Spencer loves science!