Mme G.C. -Work in Progress

Independent Consultant sharing my learning with others. Please scroll way down to follow me!!



Charter Of Rights and Freedoms Grade 3

 Declaration of the Rights of the Child

The class spent a lot of time reading about children in other lands as well as studying the United Nations Rights of the Child. We talked about wants and needs and how needs can impact your life if taken away.

We then studied the work of Dustin Milligan. We read his books, on The Charter for Children which introduces children to the principles of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms. imagesSDUB2O6I

As a culminating activity, children were divided into small groups. They were given a sentence to describe one of the rights and freedoms in the Charter. Each group had to illustrate the area they were assigned to. This was made into a big book and also shared with other classrooms.

Please click on the link below to look at the book the children created.

Saskatchewan Curriculum    Outcome: PA3.3

Make generalizations about the purpose and intent of documents that define the rights of children.


Language Inquiry in a Grade 2/3 split

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I had the opportunity to spend some time with a master teacher  in her grade 2/3 French Immersion split. Merci EK for sharing your knowledge, classroom and students.

As most of my readers are English speaking, I will post in English. The ideas I share will work in any language.

The teacher has been working with an elephant photo to do an French Language Arts inquiry on elephants . This inquiry incorporated essential components of teaching reading including word work , sentence work, paragraph writing as well as developing many questions in regards to social studies and science.

Elaine 3

The words were chosen by the students after much discussion and many read alouds by the teacher.

Here ,the students are working on word properties . Their teacher has paper bags full of word study activities which are stored on the bulletin board. The children are allowed to choose the word study activities.

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The students each created a non-fiction sentence which were typed up by the teacher. Each student has a set of sentences to practice fluency with,as well as to classify and use to put together their own paragraphs.

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Students classified sentences in preparation for creating paragraphs.

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The teacher modelled how first with a composing think-aloud and a class paragraph was created .

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Here are some of the students’ paragraphs.

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Students were also working on computers to write about their learning trhough the use of photo story .

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Many books are necessary to take on an inquiry process such as this. It takes time and planning to bring it all together but the resulting student learning and engagement is really exciting.

Elegant Elephants

It was exciting to watch the grade ones create these amazing paintings in their elephant inquiry. Thanks to VS and JC for all their hard work!!


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Lost in Space with Inquiry

I am always excited when a teacher invites me to their classroom to share the excitement of learning. This week I had the great pleasure of being invited back to a grade one room I have visited several times before. Thanks so much to S.F. for trusting me enough to include me, inviting me to your classroom and for being willing to share your learning.

We spent some time searching for the perfect photograph to hit all the curricular areas she wanted to address. She had an idea of where she wanted to go curricular wise,knew what interested her kids and here are the results of this Space Inquiry.

The essential question was-

What attributes might aliens need to live on other planets?   How/why might these attributes be different from humans’ basic needs?


K-W-L charts   What We Know                            What We Want to Know charts

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Space Poetry

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Some of the word study taught through the vocabulary in the photo:

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Science outcomes covered-

Analyze different ways in which plants, animals, and humans interact with various natural and constructed environments to meet their basic needs. [CP, DM, SI]

This was taught by looking at what astronauts need in space, what I need on earth,what an alien would need to live on the planet…

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Students studied the planets, designed an alien life form and considered what its needs would be to live on their chosen planet. The class also worked with the teacher librarian to develop this work. This carried the inquiry into art as well. Art was incorporated through the design of an alien and research on planets.

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Many class discussion ensued and it was obvious that it was sometimes difficult for the children to understand the difference between wants and needs. The activity below was for teacher assessment.

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Some of the sentences the students “shook out” from their photograph for practicing fluency, practicing the commonly used words and categorizing for paragraph writing were:

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In Social Studies, an understanding of  maps and globes is a required concept.

Outcome: DR1.4

Recognize globes and maps as representations of the surface of the Earth, and distinguish land and water masses on globes and maps.

Looking at the earth from above in the space photograph was a great starting point. Students also studied maps of the classroom, school and where they live.

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The children had so much to tell me about their learning-they were bubbling with excitement. Here is part of their What We Learned chart !!!

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I can’t wait to see where they go next!!


   This simple anchor chart was built with children over a series of lessons. I started with just the photograph of the buffalo in the center. As the children read and discovered more about the buffalo we added links on the anchor chart. In the Saskatchewan grade one Treaty Essential Learnings , students learn about First Nation Peoples and the buffalo.

This anchor chart allows students to connect back to each lesson and remember what was discussed in class. Add one section a day as you read aloud and share in discussions. A further step would be to illustrate each section by drawing, gluing a photograph or asking students to draw their understanding on a sticky note and attach it to the chart.

This lesson also addresses areas of the grade one  Saskatchewan Curriculum such as

Outcome: RW1.1  Describe the influence of physical, spiritual, emotional, and intellectual needs and wants on personal well-being.    Indicator a) Review the difference between needs and wants.

Two books you can use to supplement your teaching and to build your anchor chart are :

1. Grandfather Buffalo by Jim Arnosky

Grandfather Buffalo is the oldest bull in the herd. Whenever the herd moves on, he is always a little behind.A new calf  learns quickly that there’s no better place to be than right by Grandfather Buffalo’s side.

2. Buffalo Dreams by Kim Doner  

The Bearpaw children learn of a white buffalo calf that is born on a ranch far from their home. The family leaves on a spontaneous pilgrimage in their camper to take gifts to the newborn.  A contemporary story  based on an oral story passed down in the Bearpaw family.

Social Studies and the PWIM

The photograph is taken at a market in Thailand. This photograph would lead to a great inquiry in many subject areas. When I look at the photograph, I instantly think about family relationships, foods people eat, and places in our community and other communities.

In the Saskatchewan grade one Social Studies Curriculum we can tackle so many of our outcomes through this photograph. Here is one to think about:

  • Outcome: IN1.2 to Discuss cultural diversity in the family and classroom, including exploration of similarities and differences.

What should I do first with my students when we look at the photograph?

The process you are using is an inquiry one, designed to help everyone develop curiosity.

  • Start simply, by asking students to brainstorm any questions they may have about the photograph.
  • Chart their questions and then classify the questions into groups.
  • Decide which questions we can find answers to and which questions might be difficult to find out.
    • We can figure it out: What kind of fruit is that?
    • We can’t find out: What is that child’s name? Is that his mother?
  • Provide non-fiction books about the topics the children were curious about.
  • Help the children discover answers to the questions they had. Allow them time to look and ask more questions.
  • Have your Teacher Librarian help your students search for answers.
  • Encourage them by asking questions about their world and taking the opportunity to see what they know about themselves and others including  First Nation and Métis perspectives.

Once they are curious, what do we do next?

  • Try a compare/contrast activity by asking the children if any of them have been to a farmer’s market before. How was it the same as the photograph? How was it different? Make a class t-chart or a Venn diagram with clear descriptors and pictures.
  • Make connections to our larger world explicit. The beauty of using a picture from another country is that we just naturally begin to create global citizens. The children see familiar things in unfamiliar places. When they eventually learn that the photograph is in Thailand it will lead them to questions about Thailand. You will know your inquiry has been successful if they still have more questions.


Primary Inquiry

  John Barrell gives many ways to teach Inquiry in the pre-K to 5 classrooms.The examples given are from classrooms in Canada and the United States. Barrell gives an overview to inquiry, as well as explaining how to start , how to plan for questions and involving parents.

Corwin Press 2008

I find Barell’s book to be very teacher friendly and written with a realistic understanding of what a busy world primary classrooms can be.

I liked the idea in chapter 5 Developing Units of Instruction he talks about the KWHLAQ as a way of planning Long Term Inquiry with younger students. I think I would take a long sheet of bulletin board paper, divide it into six sections,write each letter in a section and then have my students add to each section with their thoughts or questions and drawings as we worked through them. At the end of the process we would have a clear map of where we started and where we went.

Word Study

Word Matters-Teaching Phonics and Spelling in the Reading /Writing Classroom

Gay Su Pinnell and Irene C. Fountas Heinemann

Figure 8-1 Competent Word Solvers: What Do They Do? page 79

I remember when I went to school I learned about phonics through work sheets. It was drill and practice to death. Now that we know better, students have the benefit of playing with words,sorting, classifying and manipulating them, looking at all the parts, beginning, middle and end. Studying word families and searching for similarities and differences is much more relevant and leads to a deeper understanding of how words work. Word study that is inductive, leads to better word retention. Students who study words inductively through the Picture Word Inductive Model become Competent Word Solvers…

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