In the case of Grade Four, the general idea is for students to examine key elements of a few early societies from 3000 BCE to 1500 CE. Which societies in particular are at the teacher's discretion -- if I were a good teacher, I'd pull in pre-contact societies here in South America where we're living for the year, but I decided to go with the materials at hand, namely a large suitcase full of books I had brought with me from my classroom, about Medieval Europe. The boys will also do a study of ancient Greece with their dad when they get home, then compare these two societies to one another, as well as to present-day Canada. (I suspect this will be a common scenario in many Ontario classrooms, as teachers transition to the new curriculum; my own goal for next time I am in a "real" classroom is to teach and learn about a pre-contact Canadian society and one in Japan or elsewhere in the world.)
I also added a section at the bottom of the chart, for "Resources". My questions there will be the focus of one of the first lessons next week:
- Where can we find information?
- How do we know it is a reliable source?
- How can we check for bias?
- Where else can we find information?
- Where can we find better/differerent information?
Next, I began to develop a series of lessons using books, maps, apps and the Internet that would address the different aspects of each section on the chart.
My plan is to complete two of the three columns of the chart together with the boys over the next few weeks, then roll up the chart and take it home to Canada, where their dad will work on completing the third column (Ancient Greece) with them. Ultimately, I hope the boys will think about and discuss things like who is in power and why, what roles different people in society had/have and why, how families have changed over time, what rights and responsibilities different people had/have and why. Examining and questioning the "norms" historically will -- I hope -- help them to develop the tools to question current issues of Social Justice, both in Canada and in other parts of the world, and work towards local and global improvement.