So I looked at the strands of the curriculum to focus on for our first assignment, and my brain automatically started brainstorming ideas for activities. The description on our ESST page about Dynamic Relations reads:
To analyze the dynamic relationships of people with land, environments, events, and ideas, as they have affected the past, shape the present, and influence the future.
To me, this sounds like the perfect opportunity to welcome historical/current events into our classroom. I considered the idea of students teaching other students about events and their importance to us. My idea is as follows:
Each student has a day of the week in which they present a historical event they researched. These could be the guiding questions, complete with marks depending on how much effort and thought is put in. I would ensure the children know and understand them, and then would end up listening to each child multiple times throughout the year, if I sat at one table each day. There are some easy, and some deep questions provided:
1) What is the important event? /2
2) Who did it affect? /2
3) Where did it occur? /1
4) What year did it occur in? /1
4) How was it important to people/the world back then? Is it still important today? How so? /4
So for a class of 30 students, 6 would have Monday, another 6 would have Tuesday, and so on. I would then ask the six students to break into groups of 5 and they would share their event(s) for five minutes (the smaller groups will work better if two students have the same issue they wish to discuss).
Weekend events (new or historical) would be free-for-alls, and I may ask students at the beginning of a Monday class what they heard on the news, or from their family, or what they could research about the past, over the weekend. This gives those who are really passionate about current events a chance to extend on their usual assignment, or it gives students who forgot about their day, or did not do an adequate job of explaining an event, or those who simply could not find an event, a chance to “make up” for it if they or I feel concerned. I would therefore allow more time for Social Studies on Mondays.
This daily activity would definitely give students an opportunity to build on critical thinking skills (how would this historic event have impacted people back then – does it still impact people now? Etc) and would also give them opportunities to build oral communication skills for formal speeches later down the road.
I am not sure as of yet what curricular outcomes or indicators this would match, but I am sure it would match several. I also realize that this would be an appropriate activity for older grades (grade 4 and up) who have considerable computer literacy as well as developed oral communication skills. I am sure this activity could be adapted to be suitable for younger grades as well, however.
Edit: After skimming the Grade 4/5 curriculum I realize I would have to alter my original idea and specify that these events should be SK/Canada-specific if I were to teach it properly. I also feel as though this activity could be useful in regards to Language Arts outcomes.
Edit: This activity also coincides with a grade 4 math outcome, which involves looking at dates in a variety of different contexts. Each student has a day of the week and would be relating it to a day of the month to find “this day in history”.