First Nations of Canada Unit – Media Exemplar

First Nations of Canada

This unit was designed to be taught to pre-10 ESL International students before entering into the BC curriculum. It is to follow a unit on Canadian Geography that introduces the provinces, landscapes and climate.

This is a general introduction to the concepts and vocabulary of First Nations groups. Rather than get into the many different tribal names, the groups have been divided into geographic locations following guidelines set up by middle schools in Canada.

The audio compilation is a brief overview of the migration to Canada of people from Asia with three theories of where and how they arrived in North America.

The text and graphics are the readings with the information and vocabulary of each group. I chose to focus on three main areas of study – Housing, Food and one unique area of Culture.

The video is intended as a review of the main ideas at the end of the unit.

This unit completes many of the PLOs for middle school Social Studies with a focus on vocabulary as the students are non-Canadian ESL and many of these words and ideas have never been introduced before.

Assessment: Once completing the unit, the students are required to write a 5-paragraph expository essay based on one of the groups mentioned. They will research any area of interest to them and follow the essay guidelines previously taught in class – Introduction, Fact/example/Explain (x3), Conclusion.

There will also be a group assignment that will be a digital audio story. The students will write a script and record it using Audacity, adding sound effects where appropriate.

This unit, along with the assignments, hits the main focus of ESL teaching – reading, writing, listening and speaking. I believe in the philosophy that all of these must be taught together and not as separate entities. By encouraging the students to create a “fun” yet pedagogically sound project, the outcomes are more numerous than we know. I have found that practicing oral presentations is very difficult to explain to this culture. By having them record their assignment just might make the difference.

Here are my pages. It is still a work in progress but pages 1 and 2 give you an idea of the lessons and page 6 is the review and assignments.

I used a great site called to make my rubrics. It has standard categories but also allows you to add your own. I also found many amazing sites (mostly from Aboriginal Affairs and Northern Development Canada) for First Nations classroom learning and activities. I will be adding them to Delicious when I have a chance.

Not to whine or complain or anything, but ever since that plane went “missing”, the internet here has been very sketchy. Have had so many problems connecting to this site and uploading. Life in China, eh?
Review and assignments

Student Assignment

I took an assignment I have previously done and added the audio recording aspect as I now know how to do this and can easily teach my students.

I am also looking forward to having them create their own file-sharing sites where they can upload assignments for assessment.
I think this is a great way to get students more involved with media and internet-sharing rather than just the games and IM (QQ in China) that they seem to only know.

Thanks to all these great skills and ideas, I know my classes will be greatly enhanced.
While I still don’t really have a handle on HTML, I’m going to keep on trying.

Go to Student Assignment

Enhanced Media Lesson

This lesson was designed for mid-level ESL learners (specifically Chinese, in my case). I found in my classroom that students had no training in reading for clues, or contextual reading. I took it upon myself to introduce them to this skill. The results have been an enormous increase in their reading comprehension which was the goal.

While it is a very simple design, I believe this simplicity allows focus to the content.

I recreated my files to allow embedding in an html document and then created a video of the first paragraph with my voice reading along. By slowly going through the steps of looking at the grammar and vocabulary clues, the students can easily see what they need to do to be active readers.

The assessment of this lesson requires the student to email their results. I believe it’s important to stress the importance of honesty when completing this type of practice by explaining that the end results of “fudging” their answers will have a direct impact on their test score. If I don’t realize you need help before the test, I can’t help you beforehand.

Here is my file. I eventually recreated it again using
Go to Reading with a Purpose

Digital Story

Wow! This took so much longer and was much more difficult than I anticipated.

I started with an idea to tell a story between passive learning and active learning which is something I’m doing with my students. I wrote a script and made a list of photos I needed to go with it. We went about taking the photos and then I went back to the computer to begin putting it all together. I think the thing I learned the most is that, if I’m going to continue making these projects – and I certainly want to – I definitely need to invest in a really good movie-making program.

That said, here’s what I did.

I first took a couple of photos and brought them into PowerPoint where I proceeded to add animation to demonstrate activity. That shot is at the end of the movie.

I then went into Windows Movie Maker and proceeded to organize the order and transitions I wanted for the clip. This proved highly unsuccessful as the end quality was so low I had to start from the beginning.

After arranging the photos and narrating the clip, I re-opened it in Movie Maker to add some audio, title and captions (this did not work at all in the Windows version).

The final result is not what I had envisioned but it’s workable. Time and size restraints made me stop and I’ll re-work it again when I have some more time. Hope you like it.

Still having issues uploading and embedding. Working on it. Have to go to work now so will continue tonight.

Go to Simon Studies Smart

File Sharing

I’d first like to say that I’m absolutely for teachers sharing files with each other. Sharing resources and experiences can make us all better at engaging our students and enhancing our lessons.

Of course, the regular way I have been sharing my files is via email or USB when they are simply too large. As I move into more complex lesson plans, neither of these methods will suffice – email for its size constraints and USB because unless you’re both on prep at the same time can be difficult.

File sharing sites are a great idea and one, I have to confess, I have not used before.

I chose to try DropBox as I keep getting messages from them to try it.

It was very easy to set up and to start using: download, set up, add contacts, create folders and upload files. All of this was done without any difficulty.

I really like that you can have different folders for different file sharing. I don’t want my colleagues sifting through personal folders, nor does my family wish to sort through my lesson plans.

DropBox is also accessible through your phone or tablet so you can upload, edit or invite wherever you are. I don’t currently have a phone with internet access nor do I have a tablet, but I might some day and I think this is a great option for those who do.

The size allowed is also generous 2GB. However, I’ve already used 20MB and I’m just getting started.

I couldn’t find how long the files are kept. Perhaps forever but there was no mention of it.

I can easily see this as a good tool to share my work and ideas with my colleagues. We currently use Moodle but it is sometimes unstable and perhaps too elaborate for many staff members. DropBox will send them an email with a link directly to what I want to share without having to sign in, search and possibly get lost in the myriad of links available.

As a back up and for sharing, DropBox is meeting my needs.

Manipulating Files

I suppose I wouldn’t mind other teachers re-working my files as long as there is an acknowledgement given. Not everything I create is exactly suitable for other classes, but part of it might be. With sharing comes the understanding that my work can be manipulated as it is not copyrighted. Perhaps this is something that needs further examination. The site TeachersPayTeachers has many resources for free and many others that can be downloaded for a fee. I would ask for a fee for any complete unit I created but not for single-idea LP. The time and research involved in creating good units deserves to be recognized even if in a small way.

A touring professor giving Pro-D sessions is paid for his or her time and expertise, why shouldn’t resource files be the same?

Activity 5.3

Before I load this I must confess, I felt blasphemous doing it. My father bought me the LP of this recording back in 1967. I was four and apparently it was illegal in Canada at that time. Why? Don’t know but I suspect it had something to do with WWII.

Imagery in Literature

In any case, this audio can be used in various online courses – Audio Editing, Music and, of course, Language Arts. I plan on using it in my LA class as part of a unit on story boarding/analysis.

Peter and the Wolf: written by Prokiev
Narrated by:Basil Rathbone
Music by: American Philharmonic lead by Stokowski
Recorded: 1941 transferred by Columbia Masters
Downloaded from

I used Audacity to edit this piece making it shorter (22 m to 16 m). It was quite difficult to find the right places in the audio to cut the music and leave the story intact. The ending of course was the most difficult so most of it is intact.

While in a music course the edited parts would be relevant, in an LA class where content is key, it is extraneous and given that it is 2014 and people’s attention span is much lower than it was it 1941, I chose to shorten the piece without losing it’s content.

**** removed the audio *** Can be found in my Dropbox

Activity 5.2

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*** removed the audio ***

Learning objective: Better Study Habits

Week 4 Activity 4

I chose this photo to go with an explorers/invention unit. By giving the students a historical image, it encourages their creativity and gives them a place to begin their research. This photo would be for the group researching aeronautics/A. Earhart project.

Week 4 Activity 3

I used SumoPaint to create these layers of my graphics depicting the make-up of an atom. I’m not a terribly good drawer so I went for basic shapes and colours. I matched the font colour of the component with the colour of the image. The purpose of this graphic is to clearly define the three subatomic particles that make atoms. Each layer comprises one particle.

That said, if someone can explain to me how I can get it to upload in a nice slide show, I would be very grateful. Must move on to the next assignment but can really see this as a useful tool for me. If I can only learn it well.


Week 3 Activity 2


Here are the graphics I created and uploaded to Flicker.


I found Flicker to be a little tedious and slow. I have no problem uploading my own files and making notes, but I have not been able to find any others with the eddl513 tag other than Keith’s. While it is a useful tool for saving and organizing my own files, I’m not sure how useful it is for actual sharing of resources. The comments area is great and easy to use.

As yet, I cannot see a way to use this tool in my teaching environment. That said, once the sharing aspect has been mastered, I can see how it could be used as a tool for student review and/or absent students to keep up with the lessons. At our school, we use Moodle which is an institute-limited version of file sharing and one that is proving to be quite effective. The limitations of Moodle in China, is that it is not always accessible outside the school environment. Flicker, or a similar tool, could eliminate that problem. The biggest challenge is accessibility, speed and educating/convincing the students on the benefits of such a tool.