Tag Archives: Brainstorming

Activity involves Brainstorming

How first Nations have preserved identity and culture

The preservation of Cowichan First Nations culture

since first contact

Learning Outcome

Students describe how societies preserve identity, transmit culture, and adapt to change.


Goal: Students will be able to identify the elements of Cowichan First Nations culture that have been preserved since first contact.

Task: Students write to explain the challenges faced by First Nations peoples attempting to preserve their culture.

Activate Prior Knowledge: Give pairs of students the following words to discuss: fluent, contact, territory, obligation, prohibited, ancestors. Have students generate their ideas and share with the class. (A/B partners)

Predict and Question: Have students make predictions about the video based on the words and information shared. Give them the title and ask how it has changed their thinking. Questions: What are you wondering? What questions do you have?


Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the information. Students can track ideas on the T-Chart during the video.


Screen Shot 2015-02-17 at 3.21.11 PM

Click above to view video

(Video Length: 6 mins)

A/B PartnersShare elements that have been preserved and have a class sharing of ideas. Model T-Chart on the board/overhead. All ideas should be listed on the left hand side. Discuss with the students how important the described elements are to the Cowichan First Nations people and what other elements have been preserved (i.e textiles, food preservation, etc.).

Students record or extend their list of ideas on the T-Chart. Students then, individually or with a partner, brainstorm how those elements were preserved. It is more important for students to have the conversation around possible reasons than to focus on “the right” answer.


Students write to explain the challenges faced by First Nations peoples attempting to preserve their culture. The length of this writing piece can be determined the teacher (ie. essay, paragraph) but the intention is for individual accountability.


Review which elements of the Cowichan First Nations culture have been preserved since first contact.

Reflection: On the back of your T-Chart, write two things you now know about First Nations culture that you didn’t know before. Write one question that you still have about the topic.

Extend learning or next lesson

Research other Aboriginal cultures in Canada (i.e. Cree, Mohawk, Inuit) and investigate what elements of their culture have survived since first contact.

Free Verse Poetry Writing

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • interact and collaborate in pairs, small groups, and large groups to comprehend and respond to a variety of texts.
  • speak and listen to make personal responses to texts, by describing reactions and emotions.
  • read, both collaboratively and independently, to comprehend a variety of literary texts, including poetry in a variety of narrative and lyric forms.
  • read, both collaboratively and independently, to comprehend a variety of literary texts, including student generated material.
  • explain and support personal responses to texts read and viewed, by describing reactions and emotions.
  • write effective imaginative texts to explore ideas, information, and understandings to make connections and develop insights.

Steps to the Unit

  1. Read and research various free verse poems.
  2. Compare and contrast three free verse poems to three different genre poems.
  3. Brainstorm evaluation criteria for student written free verse poems.
  4. Create individual free verse poems for presentation in class.
  5. Reflect on the process.



Students will:

  • develop an understanding of free verse style poetry.
  • read a variety of Aboriginal poems in the free verse style.
  • create their own free verse poem to present to the class.


Students will create their own free verse poem describing themselves and how they relate to their family, school, community, and world around them.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Poetry as an art form may predate literacy itself. Many ancient works in prehistoric and ancient societies appear to have been composed in poetic form to aid memorization and oral transmission. Poetry often uses particular forms and conventions to expand the literal meaning of the words, or to evoke emotional or sensual responses.(wikipedia.org)

There are many forms and genres of poetry that students may have read (ie.sonnet, haiku, acrostic, cinquain) and each has their own unique structure of language. For the context of this lesson, students will read poems which follow a free verse or lyric free verse form.

Free Verse can be defined as:

A term describing various styles of poetry that are written without using strict meter or rhyme, but that still are recognizable as poetry by virtue of complex patterns that readers will perceive to be part of a coherent whole.(wikipedia.org)

Predict and Question:

Teachers ask the students if they have any questions regarding the structure of free verse poetry. What are they wondering about?


Before students start their writing process to create their own free verse poem, students should read a number of poetry selections to build their awareness of the free verse form. There are a number of different poetry collections available in school libraries and on the internet for students to read.

Some library collections include:

  • Till all the stars have fallen – David Booth
  • Many Voices – David Day
  • Poetry Alive – Dom Saliani

Teachers should select three free verse poems from their chosen resources and pair them up with three poems of different genres. For example, teachers could choose poems using the haiku, sonnet, and a traditional a-a-b-b form. As mentioned above, there are many poetry collections available in libraries and on the internet for teachers to choose from. Examples of haiku, sonnet, and traditional rhyming poems are included below:

Once the poetry pairs have been created, teachers distribute the poems (or display them on a screen using a projector/overhead) and have the students, in A-B partner groups, compare and contrast the poems using a “This is a Free Verse poem/This is Not” approach. In other words, students look at the free verse poem and identify what makes a free verse poem unique. Students should pay attention to elements like:

  • number of words per line.
  • number of syllables per line.
  • rhyming patterns.
  • number of lines in the poem/stanza.
  • theme/mood of the poem.

Then, while looking at the second poem in the pair, students try to identify why the second poem is NOT a free verse poem; using the same criteria as listed above. Students use Venn Diagram to record their observations.


Once the poem pairs have been compared and contrasted by the students, teachers select three new free verse poems, three new non-free verse poems, and distribute all six poems to each student A-B partner group. Then, the students look at all six poems and attempt to identify which poems are free verse and which poems are not. Student partner groups report out their reasons to the class.

As above, sources of poetry include the resources listed above or other anthologies in the school library. Online sources include:


Now that the students have a better understanding of the free verse form of poetry, students will create their own free verse poems. Teachers will need to brainstorm with the students the evaluation criteria expected for the finished product (ie. poem length, writing conventions, poetic mood). Students can write their poems using a variety of themes. For example, students can create poems that reflect a personal experience, their favourite hobby, social issues, or global issues like global warming. Teachers can brainstorm different topics for students to connect with on the board.

If some students are still struggling with arriving at a poem theme or topic, students can use an ‘I am’ format similar to the following poems

Teachers should point out some important elements in these poems:

  • The opening line is repeated at the end of each stanza.
  • There is six lines per stanza.
  • The poems reflect not only the students’ thoughts, hopes, and dreams, but the world around them.

Once students have completed their poems, students should present their poems to the class, a small group, or privately to the teacher.


Students reflect on their poems and, using either a writing journal or blank sheet of paper, write on what they have learned about the free verse form of poetry. How has their thinking changed?

Extend Learning or Next Lesson

Students build on their poetry writing skills and research/write other poetic forms such as haiku, cinquain, acrostic, etc.

Lesson 1 P.E. Active Living

Teacher Note:

This lesson could be implemented over the span of an entire month/year or used as an introduction to a healthy living unit.

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • relate the effects of regular participation in a variety of types of physical activities to quality of life.
  • identify and describe factors that affect choices of physical activity for life.



  • Students will develop a better understanding of how their physical activities impact their physical/social/emotional well being.


Students will create a log of their daily activities and assess the physical, social, and emotional impacts of those chosen activities.


  1. Discuss key vocabulary.
  2. Brainstorm and record the physical activities which the students participate in.
  3. Create an Active Living Chart documenting what activities the students participate in and other activities they wish to try.
  4. Watch video on active living.
  5. Create a personal Activity Log identifying the relationship of their activities to their physical, social, and emotional well being.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Discuss the following vocabulary and brainstorm ideas of the respective definitions on the board.

Key vocabulary to discuss: lifestyle, physical, social, emotional, balance.(Definitions)

Create a large chart documenting all the physical activities that the students are involved with over the span of one weekend/week/month etc. For example, list all of the activities the students are involved in and then add a check for every student that participates in an activity.


After identifying the students’ activities, ask the students to think about another activity they would be interested in trying, given the opportunity. Use A/B partners to discuss reasons and share with the class.


Pose this question to the students – “Why have the students chosen their current activities or the activities they are interested in trying?” Have the students record their choices and reasons on an Active Living Chart. When giving reasons, the students should think about the physical, social, and emotional benefits of their chosen activity.


Video: Students watch the following video. While watching, students should focus on the physical, social, and emotional benefits of the sport featured in the video.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the video.


Students create a personal Activity Log that will document their activities over a class determined period of time (ie. one weekend/week/month) Using notebooks or student planners, students will log their daily activities and include the following information – date, activity, duration, and personal comments on the physical, social, and emotional aspects of their chosen activity.


(This reflection will occur after the chosen period of time for the Activity Log has been completed) Students refer to their completed Activity Logs and write a paragraph that reflects on the following questions:

  • How has the Activity Log increased your awareness of your chosen activities?
  • Have you become more aware of the physical, social, and/or emotional benefits of being active?

Extend learning or next lesson

Explore the Canada Health Active Living Guide

and explore the information and activities located in the website.

Lesson 1 Assessing Human Needs for Survival


Assessing Human Needs for Survival

Learning Outcome

Students assess survival needs and interactions between organisms and the environment.

Steps to the Lesson

  1. Brainstorm and compare survival skills and knowledge from both a historical and modern perspective.
  2. Watch a video of a Sinixt creation survival story.
  3. Create a written piece identifying and ranking survival skills needed in the aftermath of a disaster.
  4. Reflect on the process.



Students will be able to identify the important skills and knowledge that human beings require to survive.


Students will list skills and knowledge that are important to preserve as a group of people struggling to survive.

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Teachers give students an opportunity to discuss the kinds of skills and knowledge that would be important today if a group was faced with challenges to survive (ie. medical knowledge, hunting skills etc.).

In groups of four (two A/B partners groups), students generate what they feel are important survival skills and knowledge and report out to the class. One A/B partner group will brainstorm historical survival skills/knowledge (ie. before first contact with Europeans) and the second A/B partner group will brainstorm survival skills/knowledge needed in the 21st century. Students track their thinking on a Survival Skills/Knowledge T-Chart. Teachers create a class T-chart on the board and compare student responses on survival skills/knowledge from both the historical and modern perspectives. Students then complete the other column of their T-Chart.

Note: This is a comparison and analysis practice that is not about right/wrong answers, but more focused on the discussion an important element to the lesson.

Predict and Question: Have students review the survival skills/knowledge ideas generated in the previous exercise. What skills/knowledge are the same when comparing the historical and modern contexts? What are different? What questions do the students have about survival? What are the students wondering about?



Inform students they will be watching a video on a Sinixt land survival story which was based on a severe drought. Ideas about skill sets and knowledge are only one aspect of this story.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) the opportunity to discuss ideas they may have about how people adapt to change and what skills might change in the process of adapting. Students track the survival skills/knowledge used by the Sinixt people on the back of their Survival Skills/Knowledge T-Chart.

Reviewing the Sinixt creation story, in A/B partners, students discuss what historical survival skills/knowledge may exist in modern society. How have some of these skills adapted and changed over time?


Students consider the following scenario:

They are survivors of a plane crash, in a very remote, mountainous region on the west coast of British Columbia. The area is covered in a thick layer of trees and brush; making the crash site difficult to locate. It will be at least 4-5 days before rescue teams can reach the crash site as foul weather is making it difficult to conduct search and rescue by air. A number of passengers have survived but all of their belongings were burned in the plane wreckage.

Students now create a written piece describing what essential skills/knowledge they, and other crash survivors, will need to survive the in the wilderness before search and rescue teams arrive. They will need to identify and rank the various skills needed; including reasons which justify their choices.

The length of this writing piece can be determined the teacher (ie. essay, paragraph) but the intention is for students to demonstrate their understanding and individual thought.


On the back of their Survival T-Chart, students reflect on how their thinking has changed regarding survival skills and knowledge. What skills would they consider to be the more important?

Extend learning or next lesson

Students could conduct internet searches to discover where similar survival situations have taken place since 2000 (ie. Tsunami, Hurricane Katrina) and what skills/knowledge were crucial during those times of crisis.

Lesson 1 Reading and Viewing

Learning Outcomes

Students will:

  • read stories from various world cultures; demonstrating reading fluency and comprehension.
  • improve and extend thinking by analyzing texts, develop explanations, and compare viewpoints

Steps to the Unit

  1. Brainstorm the various myths and legends known by students.
  2. Watch a Witsuwit’en legend titled Beasts and Berries.
  3. Read two to three different world myths and legends and analyze their different elements.
  4. Compare and contrast the Beasts and Berries legend with another myth/legend.
  5. Reflect on the process.

Students will read a legend of their choice and will compare and contrast that story with the Witsuwit’en Beasts and Berries legend.

Students will:

  • choose a legend from their school library.
  • read their chosen legend to either a partner, small group, or to the class.
  • give constuctive feedback to the story reader and make suggestions for improvement.
  • complete a compare and contrast template (provided).

Activate Prior Knowledge:

Legends are an important way of obtaining information regarding people’s beliefs about how they explain the spiritual and physical world around them. Legends can explain something in nature, teach a lesson, or entertain. They often have mythical creatures, heroes, and transformations of humans into animals etc.

Teachers conduct a class discussion and brainstorm on the board what myths and local legends the students are already familiar with (ie. Greek/Roman myths, local creation legends, great flood stories).

Predict and Question:

As mentioned, legends are very important in global cultures as people attempt to explain the world around them. Some questions the teacher should ask the students to consider include:

  • Who were the stories told/written for?
  • What are the students wondering about legends?


Student watch a video of the Witsuwit’en legend title Beasts and Berries. Using a Story Grammar sheet, students identify the key plot elements, main characters, setting, and overall theme/moral of the Beasts and Berries story.

Reminder: It is important to stop throughout the video and give students (A/B partners) opportunity to talk or respond to the video.

Students now read a variety of legends and myths from other world cultures and identify the plot elements, characters, and settings, and themes/morals of those stories. Students should read/view at least 2-3 different legends/myths to build a knowledge base of other myths and legends. Students may read independently or share a story in an A/B partner format – the main goal is for students to identify the plot elements, characters, settings, and theme of the stories. Students may use either a Story Grammar sheet or a Legends/Myths Four Quad organizer.

Sources for myths and legends include the following:

Raven Tales episodes (the popular animated series on APTN – available in your local school district resource center)

D’Aulaires Book of Greek Myths (D’Aulaire, I. (1962). New York: Doubleday)
D’Aulaires Book of Norse Myths (D’Aulaire, E.P. (2005). New York: Doubleday)


Once students have chosen their myths/legends to read, students will read one story (or portion of a story) to a partner, small group, or to the entire class. Listeners can give positive feedback to the reader and make suggestions for imrovement (ie. diction, projection of voice, vocal pace, etc).


Once the students have read their chosen myths and legends, they choose one story and compare its plot elements, characters, settings, and themes to those of the Beasts and BerriesWitsuwit’en legend. Students can create their own Venn Diagram or use a Venn Diagram template. Students then present their comparison to a small group or class and explain the relationship between the two stories.


On the back of their story grammar sheets, students reflect on the legends and myths they have heard, and write which stories they preferred the most and which stories they found less interesting; giving reasons for their choices. Also, students can reflect on how easy/difficult it was to identify the various elements of the stories.

Extend Learning or Next Lesson

Possible extensions for following lessons include:

  • Drawing illustrations of their favourite legend/myth.
  • Creating a book jacket for their legend.
  • Creating drama presentations in small groups to act out their favourite stories.

Beasts and Berries, The Story of Tasdliz Bin (Part 2)