Sorry it’s been a while – life got in the way.
Here’s what my classes have been up to:
We read about Canada from the textbook and did the obligatory end of the section questions. We also labelled maps and watched some Discovery Channel videos. I think it’s important to use the textbook and teach them how to answer questions from the end of the section because otherwise, when they get into higher grades, they’re clueless about it. So we practice looking for the information, putting our finger on it, deciding how to answer the question using a complete sentence.
Now that we’ve got some background knowledge, it’s time for a little fun!
My students are planning a tour of Canada. They can take their tour anywhere in the country they like. We discussed possible themes for their tours: hunting, hiking, shopping, ghost towns, sports, etc. Then they started their plans.
I took them through this paper step by step. As students filled in the blanks, we discussed possible answers they might like to put down. I’ve found going through it together helps them complete the work more quickly. Otherwise, many of them spend ridiculous amounts of time deciding how many days their trip will take, then never get to the rest of the packet. 🙂
I used manilla folders to organize all of their work. The folders stay in my room. This way, they never are stuck not being able to work because they left their papers at home. They also won’t lose their work (which is an ongoing issue with 6th graders!)
I simply have each table group gather their folders at the end of the hour, then bring me the stack. Each group of folders goes in a hanging folder in a crate. The next day, I give the stack back to the table and they’re ready to go.
I also put all of the worksheets they will need in their folders to start with. That way, they have everything they need and we don’t have to waste time handing more out.
At the beginning of the hour, I have the class look through their folder, decide what they need to work on that day (I generally give them about 4 choices). Then, I take a chart on a clipboard and go down the list alphabetically and ask each student what their plan for the day is. This takes about 30 seconds and I just note the date at the top, and an initial for what they’re doing. This helps keep them accountable and I can see at a glance if they’ve spent too long on any one thing.
Now the fun part:
Each class will submit their tours at the end of this project. I’ll choose the top 5. Those tours will earn a Klondike bar (get it? for the Klondike Gold Rush?). Then, the principal and counselor will choose the top tour from each class (from the top 5). Those students earn a $5 McDonald’s gift card. I posted a picture on the board of a Klondike bar and the McDonald’s logo to keep the prize in view.
Here are the papers I used. They have instructions, as well as point values, etc.