Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

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November 2015

Inquiry Kits for integrating Science into the P.W.I.M

I am really excited about the Inquiry kits that the Curriculum Materials Center in my division has made to accompany some of our  P.W.I.M. cycles.

 The following grade one photo incorporates all the requirements for an engaging  P.W.I.M. photograph.

elephant photo

Classrooms can study elephants and eventually move the inquiry to other large grassland animals in other places, including the bison, thus taking students  to somewhere far away and then returning to something more familiar. This kit contains a variety of fiction and no-fiction books, as well as a DVD and two stuffed elephants-one African, one Asian.

Teachers can take a photograph with each student holding the elephant of their choice. This photo can be glued into a class notebook. Each day a child can have the elephant as a “buddy” and write about the elephant in the notebook. It could be creative writing about an adventure with the elephant or non-fiction writing with facts about elephants. The notebook can be kept in the classroom library. Use the kit to introduce compare and contrast writing between the two kinds of elephants which can then lead to compare contrast writing about bison vs cows. A culminating activity for this inquiry could be  painting photos of elephants to sell at a fundraiser to send to save elephants.

elephants elephant content

Another kit that has been added, which accompanies the grade two photo of the Ridley Turtle.This kit contains a variety of materials about turtles and tortoises. Studying the life cycles of the Ridley Turtle and why it is endangered covers many of the required  grade 2 Science outcomes in our province.

turtleturtle list

The following photos are of the grade one eel kit. Many teachers find this topic “gross” but really, what is more engaging to young children than something that is kind of gross and scary? This inquiry can lead to an understanding of needs and characteristics of living things,


My personal favourite kit is the grade 2  sloth kit. The sloth photo depicts someone holding a sloth beside a destroyed forest. Sloths are fascinating (and gross) creatures to study. Tying the inquiry to the devastation of the rain forest and the impact on sloths makes it really interesting for all students. Connecting this inquiry to how humans and animals depend on each other is a good cross curricular science tie. Assess the interdependence of humans and animals in natural and constructed environments. Having students become active world citizens by writing letters to help save the rain forest is a powerful culminating activity for the inquiry.

IMG_0015 IMG_0013


Worksheets Don’t Grow Dendrites by Marcia L. Tate

In this age of technology, we are seeing more worksheets in classrooms than ever before. It’s so quick and easy to run off a set for the classroom and yet ,we know that the person making the worksheet does the most thinking. Why then are children spending countless hours merely filling in the blanks? Marcia L. Tate provides the reader with many alternatives to those time filling, brain stopping work sheets. Consider some of her ideas in the Wordle below:


If you haven’t read her book, I highly recommend reading it whether it is for your own classroom or to support teachers.


Text Structures-Compare Contrast Writing

I’ve started trying to organize my work in a way that is a little faster for me to grab when I run out to schools.

For my work with comprehension text structures, I purchased some clear thick plastic envelopes. I labeled the envelopes according to the text structure materials I want to use.

In each folder,I have the requirements for text structures per grade as outlined by my province. I have a copy of the text structure anchor chart that I plan to create with the students , and I have a variety of books that are good mentor text for teaching the author’s craft.

These are some of my favourite texts that I use to teach Compare Contrast Writing:

poles apartall about frogs  Big cats  
cats vs dogs


After reading parts of the book to the students, it is always useful to co construct  a Venn Diagram for Compare Contrast Writing.elephants vs rhinosIt is also important to create an anchor chart with the necessary signal words for the text structure.

Compare and Contrast Signal Words

alike           also         as well as            both           but       different

in the same way        like         similar          still      too      unlike       while

Lesson plan using Gradual Release of Responsibility

Compare Contrast Writing

 Explain what structures are and why authors use them (reading/writing


 Talk about signal words-look for them in your reading and use them in your


 Mentor text :Share Jim Arnosky’s writing and what you like about it including

last sentence

 I use  Rhinos and elephants  for my model

We do: Ideas skating to hockey-cats to dogs-before treaty after treaty

 Do we do again

 You try!!

 Head into writing alone

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