As part of my Professional Development I was fortunate enough to take part in a visit to Nova Scotia in Canada. Our brief was to focus on Transition within the different key stages. I decided I was also going to use the visit to focus on Literacy in another country and to bring home some useful tips and ideas for my subject. In addition to this I also decided that as a Geography co-ordinator I was going to use this trip to learn about a part of Canada I knew very little about and involve my class in this enquiry learning process.
We began by locating Nova Scotia on our class globe, atlas and world map. We looked at weather information on the Internet and various sites for maps and local information, trade and industry. I asked my class to write open letters for pen pals in case I was able to find a school willing to set up a link.
Whilst I was there I took many photographs to show what the place, the schools and the children were like. I was very lucky to find a school, Salmon River Elementary School in Truro, that were really keen to set up an email/ pen pal link. I collected newspapers, postcards, money, flags, food and even maple leaves to bring back to give my class a real ‘taste’ of Nova Scotia.
On my return, after presenting my children with individual souvenirs, I displayed all the things I had brought back. We received letters and photographs from our Canadian pen pals and we now have also received emails from them too. This hopefully will continue into the Autumn term with my new year 6 class now the links have been made. The children have also learned about the First Nation children in Canada - known as the Mi’kmaws and about their heritage and lifestyles now. We have also completed an Art project on Nova Scotian folk artist, Maud Lewis. After seeing her fantastic work in the art gallery over there, I decided to get my children to find out about her using the Internet, the information and pictures we had brought back. They then used her unique painting style to create their own paintings and created miniature 3-D houses that she is so well known for in Canada.
This experience was really worthwhile as it enabled me not only to follow up my Literacy aims and transition focus but lent itself to a really interesting yet short geographical topic for my class.
Jill Wilkinson, Leasowes Junior School in Stafford.
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This page last updated 02 September 2003