This week students of grade 4 visited Canada Heritage Park. Canada Heritage Park is a is living history museum. I was very impressed by the many excellent and insightful questions the student group I travelled with asked in a Kainai teepee and when they visited the Hudson Bay Company trading post. The atmosphere and the genuine interactions with the staff at the park made many of the lessons we have learned in class come alive. One of my students told me that the highlight of his visit was the Caterpillar (a ride at the park). Then he asked me about my highlight. I told him my highlight was simply listening to the many questions my students asked. When students got answers they asked follow up questions too. This impressed upon me the fact that so many students were actively listening in Social Studies class when we talked about the voyageurs, First Nations culture and early settlement of the prairies.
The visit really gave our students an opportunity to learn more about the lifestyles of early settlers to Alberta and how this experience has contributed to and enriched Alberta’s history. In class we learned that soddies were made by early settlers from natural resources found in Alberta and that they were warm in the winter and cool in the summer. Students saw a real soddy at Canada Heritage Park.
Now that students have shared their opinion pieces on the oil sands and legendary stories we are moving into doing two final projects for the end of the academic year. Students have started their Y.E.P (Year End Project). This project is titled "The ABCs of Grade Four" or simply "Grade Four". It is an overall review of the year. Students use the first letters of words in the alphabet to guide them in this. For each word they must find a link to subject areas they studied this year in grade 4. As an example, in Humanities we studied about pemmican. This word came up when we visited Heritage Park where we were told that pemmican and bannock were important foods during the fur trade. Pemmican could be the 'p' word that a child chooses for his/her ABCs of Grade Four project.
Another ongoing project is our Multi-cultural Fair. This project work is meant to familiarize students with many of the diverse groups of people who have arrived in Alberta during this century and the last century. Students have chosen a country to study about. They will be presenting about this country on June 21st. Parents have received a home communication about this project work.