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  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: March 14, 2020)

I thoroughly enjoyed learning alongside the Grade 4 and 5 students as they inquired about plant adaptations in Term 1.

My first post included our work on Venus fly traps and the lianas that took over the tree in the intermediate shared area.

The students added writing pieces to the bulletin board after our sessions in the library.

After exploring adaptations caused by lack of sunlight and nutrient-rich soil, we moved onto water and seed dispersal adaptations.

Lilies and Mushrooms

We watched a few videos about the water lilies and then worked in small groups to make the water lilies and pads.

Video links:

Each group member made a specific part of the plant adaptation:

  • Red and white lilies (construction paper, markers and brass fasteners - demonstrating the phases of the lily’s life cycle)

  • Lily pads (construction paper - including a 3D rim and spikes on the underbelly)

  • Beetles (clay - using library books about beetles as guides)

  • Seed pods (clay and coffee filters) *students joked that the seed pods looked like wontons!

Once again we examined a few videos about puffball fungi before making our own.


The mushrooms were constructed by:

  • Covering a Styrofoam ball with modelling clay (leaving an opening for the spores to escape)

  • Hot gluing a cotton ball in the opening (simulating the release of spores)

  • Hot gluing a pinch of chia seeds atop of the cotton ball (simulating actually seeds)

We used the tree stump props from the drama studio as bases for the mushrooms. The students made extra bright and beautiful mushrooms for fun to add to the display.

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: October 23, 2019)

I am so excited to have weekly scheduled collaboration time with Division 2 and 4 this year. We kicked off the year with inquiring about plant needs in the Amazon Jungle. (The Intermediate pod is named the "Amazon Pod" this year due to the school-wide jungle theme.)

So far, we have explored carnivorous plants and lianas. Students have demonstrated learning through art and writing.

  • Writer's pictureThe Mischievous Librarian

(Original Post: March 30, 2020)

Even though the Grade 4/5 collaboration unit looked different from other years, the students’ learning was just a powerful as when the unit was more traditional in execution.

Dramatic Review of Explorers Knowledge

We divided the two classes into group of five students and each group created a country. The countries made flags and chose rulers or governments. (Each country took a “family photo” which the students thought was hilarious!)

Next, the countries chose explorers to cross the “great ocean” in search of animal pelts. I made a channel across the gym lined on both sides with benches and gym mats. The explorers worked in pairs to ride scooters along the ocean channel. When they reached the other side of the ocean, they searched for stuffed animals (pelts) and brought them back across the ocean to their rulers and/or governments.

​We ended the activity with a class discussion that encouraged students to make connections between their previous knowledge of explorers and the dramatic play we just experienced.

Introducing Main Players

Before we delved into the human side of the fur trade, we spent time learning more about the beaver.

Here are some fabulous video links about beavers and their importance during the fur trade:

We used fashion to introduce each fur trade player. We examined images of clothing from museum archives and Youtube videos to draw the outfits worn by each character in our fur trade journals (i.e., Metis (men and women), voyageurs, European businessmen, settlers).

I highly recommend watching at least the first Metis woman's story (0:00 - 3:45) of the following video to get a glimpse into the Aboriginal matriarchal side of the fur trade:

Pictionary Time

The classes was divided into two teams and played Pictionary to learn about the item that were traded.

Trading Posts

We began a look at the trading posts by searching for images online and making comparisons between various posts.

The students formed new groups and were tasked with creating a trading post diorama complete with a map and key. This took three classes and a lot of glue gun sticks! The library furniture was cleared so that students could work with their materials on the floor.

Students used their newly acquired "maker" skills from the Plant Adaptations unit to work safely with glue guns that were needed for adhering the wooden materials such as popsicle sticks and branches to the base.

Many students brought supplies from home. This allowed the students to give their dioramas personal touches.

​The dioramas were displayed along the common area hallway during parent-teacher conferences for all the families to admire.

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