September 3, 2014

A 2nd Look at Grade 5/6 Social Studies

 I hope everyone has had a great beginning to the school year, and are getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather we've had today.  

Last week I shared my thoughts concerning how it is possible to teach the People and Environments strand of the revised 2013 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum in a combined Grade 5/6 class, and today I'll be turning my attention to how the Heritage and Identity strand might be approached.  Two weeks ago a teacher emailed me looking for a way to handle this strand in her class, and in looking closely at the two units, here is how I responded:

Strand A:  Heritage & Identity
  • Grade 5:  First Nations & Europeans in New France & Early Canada
  • Grade 6:  Communities in Canada, Past & Present
While these 2 units initially look like they don't have much in common, once you look at the examples attached to the specific expectations, there are tons of similarities, as New France can be thought of as having several small communities:  First Nations (various FN communities:  Haudenosaunee, Wendat...), English & French.  When you are looking in Grade 6 at how various communities interact with each other, New France is a perfect example of conflict and cooperation.  

Here are some examples from the curriculum, where I've used the specific expectations from Grade 6 and showed content from Grade 5 can help meet those expectations:
  • A12.  Evaluate some of the contributions that various ethnic and/or religious groups have made to Canadian identity: discuss the contributions of First Nations to Canadian art; discuss "Who are the founding nations of Canada?  For whom is the concept of "founding nations" troubling?  Why?"
  • A1.3  Explain how various groups have contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in Canada: How have First Nations contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in in Canada?
  • A2.1  Formulate questions to guide investigations into different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of 2 or more distinct communities in Canada:  What are the different perspectives of the reserve system in Canada from the perspectives of First Nations, European settlers, & the federal government?  
  • A2.2  gather & organize information from a variety of primary & secondary sources that present different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of two or more communities in Canada:  What type of information can you gather from the petitions & letters of First Nations, Metis, & Inuit people about their experience & perspectives on being relocated to reserves and/or new settlements?
  • A2.3  Anaylse & construct print & digital maps as part of their investigation into different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of communities in Canada:  Analyse a flow map showing the relocation of First Nations groups after the arrival of European settlers.
  • A2.4  Interpret & analyse information & evidence relevant to their investigations:  How can you use a cause-and-effect organizer to help you determine the difference in perspectives of different First Nations groups to European settlers?
  • A2.5:  Evaluate evidence & draw conclusions about perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary communities in Canada:  How did First Nations groups & European settlers differ in their outlook on issues such as land ownership, gender roles, spirituality...?
  • A3.1  Identify the main reasons why different peoples came to Canada?  What reasons did various people have for immigrating to New France?  
  • 3.2  Describe some key economic, political, cultural, & social aspects of life in settler communities, and identify significant ways in which settlers' places of origin influenced their ways of life in Canada:  How did French & English concepts of land ownership affect how land was handled in New France?  What role did the Church play in New France & Early Canada?  You can also discuss:  food preferences, language, education, concepts of loyalty & spirituality...lots to discuss here!
  • A3.3:  Identify various types of communities that have contributed to the development of Canada:  How did the founding peoples - First Nations, Inuit, & Metis, French & British - contributed to Canada?
  • A3.4:  Describe significant events or developments in the history of 2 or more communities in Canada & how these events affected the communities' development and/or identity:  What impact did the fur trade have on various First Nations groups (ie. Wendat vs Haudenosaunee)?
  • 3.5  Describe interactions between communities in Canada, including between newcomers and groups that were already in the country:   trade among precontact First Nations; cooperation between First Nations and the French & British in the fur trade.
  • A3.6  Identify key differences, including social, cultural, and/or economic differences between 2 or more historical and/or contemporary communities in Canada:  What were some differences in gender roles, land ownership, spirituality, etc between First Nations and French settlers in early Canada?
  • A3.8  Identify & describe fundamental elements of Canadian identity  What are some instances of the Canadian government NOT respecting the human rights of a group of people? - treaty rights!
As you can see, there are tons of commonalities between the two grade levels!  The concept of "communities" can be explored by both grades, with the Grade 5's focused on communities within New France and the Grade 6's focused on both contemporary and historical communities in Canada, of which New France can be one!  
I've already spent a great deal of time exploring the Grade 5 unit from this strand, and have even created a TPT resource to support this curriculum.  I am also working on my Communities in Canada resource, and perhaps I'll eventually create a split grade version as well!

So how are you thinking of approaching this strand in your Grade 5/6 class? I'd love to hear your thoughts!

If you're interested in exploring my First Nations unit, just click on the following link!

First Nations and Europeans in New France and Early Canada Bundle  


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  2. Nice, i really like it.if you enjoy our site as if you pla t follow:

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  4. Margie, I'm in Ontario and really appreciate the work you put into this unit. I'm teaching a 4/5 and 5/6 literacy class with social studies integrated and I really am interested in this resource. As the Canadian dollar is awful now, would you be willing to email the document to me if I send you the Canadian funds for the bundle? Thanks, Randi