Author Archives: maplebaxter

Grade 6 Biodiversity

Subject/Grade: Inquiry/6
Lesson Title: Living Things/Bees
Teacher: Ms. B

Stage 1: Identify Desired Results

Use appropriate scientific terminology to communicate ideas about the diversity of living things (e.g., biotic, abiotic, kingdom, phylum, monera, protist, fungi, plant, animal, vertebrate, and invertebrate).


DL6.2 Examine how humans organize understanding of the diversity of living things.

Construct and use a classification system to organize living things into groups and subgroups according to student-developed criteria.

DL6.4 –> Examine and describe structures and behaviours that help:

  • individual living organisms survive in their environments in the short term
  • species of living organisms adapt to their environments in the long term.
Suggest reasons why specific species (bees) of organisms have or might become endangered or extinct.



Key Understandings: (‘I Can’ statements)

I can… use appropriate terminology to talk and write about living things

I can… classify living things into groups and subgroups

I can… Suggest why bees have become endangered

Essential Questions:


How can learning about the environment make us more conscious of our actions?

Prerequisite Learning:

Students have already learnt about biotic and abiotic things.


Instructional Strategies:

I’m going to assign students groups to work in based on attendance and who works “well” together. I’m hoping that this will allow for students to focus on the presentation instead of distracting each other. The presentation is fairly interactive, and I’m going to work on engaging all students and asking those who rarely offer answers for suggestions.



Stage 2: Determine Evidence for Assessing Learning

The workbook/follow along is a great assessment for learning. Another formative assessment is their participation throughout the presentation and in the game at the end!

Stage 3: Build Learning Plan

Set (Engagement):                              Length of Time: 5

What is diversity? (mix of different things in one area)
What is biodiversity? (mix of species and genes)


Development:                                               Time: 50

Present Prezi presentation:


Students will fill out follow along throughout.


After the bee video, do the bee blanket exercise (printed).

Go through the Prezi with students and have them work with their partners on the activities, follow along.


Do Dichotomous key activity together, and then have them do “bonus” if there is time. If there is even more time, have them make their own Dichotomous key!

Students who finish their booklet (besides keys) will be awarded in a draw for a pair of bee socks:

Learning Closure:                                           Time: 5

Ask, does anyone want to share something they learnt? Something they found interesting? A question?

Hand out exit slips for reflection. If the students give it back to you, you will give them their card of gratitude!



Follow Along


Bee Blanket Ex.

Bee Blanket Name tags

Extra Dichotomas Key

Tech and speakers

Blank Paper

Exit Slips


Possible Adaptations/


Students might want to work alone, which is completely fine with me.

Management Strategies:


I will manage the class with rhythmic clapping and wait time.


Safety Considerations:



Stage 4: Reflection… See my reflection here!

Literature Lesson: Refugees

Subject/Grade: ELA 6            Lesson Title: Refugees          Teacher: Ms. Baxter

Stage 1: Identify Desired Results


CR6.1 à View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of texts that address identity (e.g., Growing Up), social responsibility (e.g., Going the Distance), and efficacy (e.g., Making Our Community More Peaceful).

CR6.5 à Listen purposefully to understand, respond, and analyze oral information and ideas from a range of texts including narratives, instructions, oral explanations and reports, and opinions.IN6.2 à Examine the social and cultural diversity that exists in the world, as exemplified in Canada and a selection of countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean.
Key Understandings: (‘I Can’ statements)

I can…

View, listen to, read, and respond to a variety of visual, multimedia (including digital), oral, and print texts that address the grade-level themes and issues related to identity, social responsibility, and efficacy including those that reflect diverse personal identities, worldviews, and backgrounds (e.g., appearance, culture, socio-economic status, ability, age, gender, sexual orientation, language, career pathway).


I can…


Display active listening behaviors including preparing to listen; making notes to assist recall of ideas presented; identifying important details; noting techniques employed; seeking additional information from other sources as needed.

I can…

Compare and contrast social and cultural diversity in Canada with that of a selection of countries bordering the Atlantic Ocean, and assess the significance of cultural diversity.



Essential Questions:

How can we better relate to and understand refugees and immigrants in Canada?

Prerequisite Learning:

I’m expecting students to know what inferring is and what a refugee and an immigrant is.


Instructional Strategies:

I have many stations in this lesson, so my strategy is to keep students busy and interested with many activities for them to enjoy!


Stage 2: Determine Evidence for Assessing Learning

The talking circle at the end of the class is my way of ensuring that students took what they should have from the lesson. A student handing in their work for me to assess how they’ve done with the assignments is another way to formatively assess this lesson. Lastly, I will call on students at random to answer questions about the lesson intermittently.

Stage 3: Build Learning Plan

Set (Engagement):                              Length of Time: 10

HOOK: WHAT’S IN THE BOX? Have a talking stick in the box!


Box will be revealed at the end of the class… But spark the interest and make sure everyone sees or feels the box! “What could be in the box?”


Ask students… what is a refugee? What is the difference between a refugee and a migrant?

Watch video:


Development:                                              Time: 40

After the video, ask students to tell you what inferring is… When do we use inferring? Give a few examples of how we use inferring every day.


Then, read the story Sea Prayer to the class and include inferences you’ve made.


Next, give students worksheet to practice inferring on their own and then with a partner.

IF STUDENTS FINISH THIS EARLY: Have them read this poem


Ask students these questions before viewing the next video:

1. Where do Malak and Takwa come from and why did they leave?

2. Which country did they go to before Luxembourg

and how long were they there for?

3. What does their father say about his children after receiving

the phone call to say they can move to Luxembourg?

4. Do you know the word we use for people who have run

away from fighting and who find safety in another country?

Watch video:

Explain the video, “
“Sometimes when there is a war in a country, people may have to leave that country to find safety. In this case, Malak and Takwa’s family left Syria and made their way to Jordan. They qualified to be resettled by the Luxembourg government as refugees in Luxembourg. This means that the government recognized their need for a safe place to live. They were resettled with three other families in 2015 and have been re-building their lives in Luxembourg since. Many other refugees from Syria make a long and challenging journey to find themselves in a safe situation where they can begin to build a new life.”

1. What activities do you see Malak and Takwa doing at home?

2. What activities do you do at home?

3. What things could their classmates do to help them settle into a new classroom where they have to speak a diferent language?
4. Are there ways in which you could help new arrivals in your school settle in better?

Have Khadar tell the class what it’s like to move to a new country, and what makes class easier for his kids? What could we do to make people feel more welcome in class?

IF THERE’S EXTRA TIME: make a poster of an idea for how to make someone feel more comfortable in the school/classroom if they are an immigrant or refugee.


Learning Closure:                                           Time: 10

Talking circle with a talking stick reflecting everything we went over today (this is when you revel what is in the box)!!



Prezi with all links and resources


Print out of poem

Inferring Assignment and supplementary questions for presentation (follow along)

Box wrapped

Talking stick

Poster paper for welcoming students poster


Possible Adaptations/


I have supplementary work for gifted students.

One thing to remember is that an hour goes by quickly, so keep students on track.

For students that are not engaged, offer them to work in a pair.


Management Strategies:

Students already understand my use of rhythmic clapping. Using the talking stick at the end of the lesson will ensure they respect each other.


Safety Considerations:



Stage 4: Reflection

Find this on my blog, here. 

Day 7: Biodiversity

Today was quite the adventure. Why is it that things can never go the way you plan? Is it because when you plan it, you plan it in a way that you know will never occur? Today was such an amazing day, and a great day to end on — but it was not what I expected!


I had made a lesson plan with Prezi on biodiversity. Inquiry was the last class of the day, so I much time to wait when I got to school. I prepped my handout, my backup handout, my activity, my write-up, my reflections…. I cut, I photocopied and I stapled… I went to all the classes, talked to students, watch many lessons. And then finally it was time for me! Not feeling the nervous feeling I was expecting all day, I jumped into action and started prepping for my presentation on living things and biodiversity.

Now this is when things turned. I first go to find my lesson plan in my email and it’s completely messed up — now how did that happen?! I really need to start doing things on google documents… Finally, I get the document formatted and find my link. The link goes to the website’s homepage! WHERE IS MY PRESENTATION?! This is when my stress gets high.

In reflection, I think that my teaching partner and co-op could feel my stress as I’m trying every combination of email and password I can think of. Finally, I quickly pull up the raw resource that I got my information from, put it on the slideshow, and hand out the worksheet. All in all the kids couldn’t tell the difference, and the resource was actually visually appealing. The kids had a great lesson and I think they took away a lot!

The hardest part about today is thinking about how much work I did on the presentation I didn’t use… But there was a learning lesson in that! Be flexible, have backup, and go with the flow. I think that considering the situation I did a pretty good job of being malleable, and in the future I would be even quicker to act on the fly! If anyone would like to see my presentation (maybe you could use it?) you can find it here. 

The best part of my lesson was seeing my students enjoy the drama-game that I planned for them. This is something I got from a teacher friend who did it before. Every student got a role, and we acted out a bee-themed scenario that left the “world” without bees, beekeepers, or (eventually) people! The kids loved it.

Another great moment was while we were comparing vertebrates and invertebrates. I encouraged a student who never speaks up to answer the question. I practiced wait time and he finally answered, “Spines?”….. YEEEEESS!! I clapped for him and bowed, he deserved it! That made me feel a lot better about losing my prized presentation earlier ❤

Looking forward to teaching science for three weeks at this school in March! I already have ideas of how I’d like to grow: be more personable, encourage more inquiry/discussion, and have more fun with the kids while teaching! And I’m already thinking of how I’d like to teach it: cross-curricular wit drama, hooks from How to Teach like a Pirate, and be more like Miss. Frizzle (hands on every day!)!!


Week 6: Literacy

Can you believe week six of my pre-internship has come and gone, and here we are at week seven? I sure can’t! I would like one more week I think to collect my thoughts, hug my students, play with them outside, and maybe read a book or two about how I can improve! More time is really not a reality for teachers, however, so this is what I’ll work with:

Last week I taught my first lesson on literacy. I found a really great book from Pernille Ripp’s blog, Sea Prayer by Khaled Hosseini. Being from Afghanistan, Hosseini frequently writes about war and refugees. This book in particular is a picture book about a boy lost at see travelling from Syria to Europe. It’s derived from a true story.

My lesson was an hour, before lunch, and I decided to try a few things that I hadn’t before. Firstly, I started the lesson with having a gift box at the front of the room. As students were coming in from recess they were noticing the box, shaking it, and guessing what was inside. When the lesson started I asked for some ideas, based on what my presentation was titled, could be in the box.

The presentation I did was on Prezi instead of PowerPoint, which I was hoping would captivate my students. You can take a look at my presentation here. They weren’t as impressed with the platform as I was, but they were still very engaged. The next thing I tried was to read to them. I only had one copy of the book, so I only had the option to read to them or to have them read in turns to the class. I decided I would read to them because Ripp says that even older kids benefit from being read to– they can focus better on the meaning.

So I read to them, and it was good (not great). I think that being read to actually takes some practice, and older kids might actually be out of practice. But it let me test the waters for what I can do with middle school kids, and they did follow the meaning of the story. I added sticky notes into the book with inferences that I made every so often, practicing that skill with a think aloud strategy. The students then made their own inferences throughout.

I then had a worksheet for them to work on with a partner. For partners, I divided the class into two groups (students who focus on question-answering work, and students who do not) and I had the students who don’t focus on this kind of work pick names from the other side, which I put into a bowl. This strategy worked very well. I wanted to make sure that the groups were even, and that the students didn’t just go with their friends. Every group did some work, and I would say that the students enjoyed the activity quite a bit.

Next, I invited my teaching partner, Khadar, to talk to my class about being a refugee from Somalia. They had lots of questions for him and it was a great way to summarize the importance of the lesson. We learnt about what a refugee might want out of the new country, to make them feel more welcome. This brought us to opening the box from the beginning of class. I had in the box a stick, which was to be a talking stick! If I were to do it again I would talk about how if you are not an Indigenous person in Canada, you are a settler… So we all (except Indigenous people) immigrated at some point.

Instead, I talked about the tradition of the talking circle, and the First Nations importance of it. The students did the activity very well and respected each other while talking. If the students didn’t want to talk they wrote their take-away on a sticky note and put it on the board. This week I take on inquiry, and it’s my last week to teach!

Teaching Place Value

The lesson I learnt this week was about rushing. I’ve had some great lessons so far (not to toot my own horn too loudly), but I actually seem to be planning too much, and then rushing to get through it all. This is what happened this day. I had videos prepared for my lesson on place value in my grade 6 math at Ruth M. Buck, and then a lesson, followed by a workbook. To end the whole day I wanted to do a jeopardy game with my class on the subject. I was rushing to get finished and I didn’t allow the kids to play the game fully.

What I would have done if I were to do it again is have the students write a darn good exit slip for me, and then play a game with them because they worked so well– they really did work so well! And that would have avoided any rushing instincts I felt.

This week I’m taking that into account into my next lesson. I still have a “lot” planned, but it’s separated enough so that if something needs to be adapted or cut, it can be. I would like the students to enjoy one activity fully rather than be rushed through three.

This week I’ll be teaching about refugees and immigration through learning about inferring in ELA. This is a tough subject because I do, in fact, have international students in my class. My hope is that this lesson will bring my class together and not give them more reasons to feel different from each other.

The kids that I have in my pocket are in my mind while I make my lessons. This week I’m going to try to pay special attention to these kids even while I’m teaching. I already have specifically made pairs with them in mind.

Week 4: The Solar System

This week, I took on our Inquiry lesson of the Solar System! I was nervous because after doing lots of research, I still felt like a newbie to the information of the solar system… And because my lesson fell on HALLOWEEN. Here’s how I tackled it:

I started my lesson with a Choonbaboon that I’ve used before for warming up the voice in EDRAMA 101. If you haven’t seen this before, the video is provided here. The students surprisingly reacted very well to my interpretation of the warm up, and I would say that this was my method to get all my learners “on board”. Mr.X has discussed with me the importance of getting all the students onboard with the lesson at the beginning, or else they might never be onboard throughout the lesson.

Then, we watched a cartoon about the solar system (sun and planets), and an informative video focusing on the sun. To my surprise, the students were very respectful during the video and it seemed like they were all completely engaged. This lead me to hand out my “follow along” that I made to go with my informative PowerPoint, which we did together.

During the PowerPoint I encouraged students to fill out their “follow-along” which had questions and diagrams. The students also took turns answering questions during the PowerPoint, asking questions, and then reading the PowerPoint for the class when I asked. There were only a few moments where students were “bubbling” with conversation, and I showed them patients and waited for silence before I continued.

When this was done, I did a hot seat. This is a strategy I learnt from my Education Science class this term. I placed five cards on the bottoms of random chairs when no one was in the room. Then, I had students look for the cards at this moment and ask the questions I had written on them. As a class we answered them. I broke the rules and bribed a little bit with gummy worms (in the spirit of Halloween of course).

Next, I showed the students my example of a science poster (what I wanted for an “exit slip”. My requirements were for students to add five interesting facts they learnt today about space, two questions they have, their name, and pictures they draw. I unfortunately did not give students enough time for them to finish, so they used their work period at the end of the day to do so. I ended up with lots of great work from my students and I loved learning from them too!

My student that I keep in my pocket (whom is mostly assumed to not be listening in class…) hugged me at the end of the lesson and told me he would see me next week…. Another student gave me a drawing… Mr. X told me that he saw a student almost burst out of his share of excitement during the video… and my advanced learners were completely engaged. Today was a successful day.

In two weeks I’ll be teaching literacy, wish me luck!