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Wetlands and the World

A Lesson Plan for English Language Learners

Elementary

Description

Wetlands and the World consists of a series of engaging lessons designed to increase student understanding and appreciation of wetlands and at the same time developing their English language literacy skills. This resource explores the wetlands while integrating different cultures and languages into the lessons.  The resource consists of three parts:

 

 

 

Kids and the Wetlands go Together - provides a world map

highlighting wetlands and the important role they play around the world.

 

Wetlands are Wonderful - Twelve 3-D paper models of wetland creatures with nature notes which appear in English and several other languages.

 

Resources for Literacy - consists of lessons to help develop literacy skills based on the elementary science curriculum. It includes: lesson plans, student activity pages, a picture dictionary to assist in vocabulary development as well as a simple, downloadable Powerpoint presentation-"Wetlands Around the World".

 

Students will:

  • listen to the sounds of a wetland and interpret them through drawing or writing
  • discuss the different adaptations required for living in a wetland habitat
  • discuss the different actions and relationships that characterize a wetland
  • categorize animals as herbivores, omnivores or carnivores
  • use a graphic organizer to discuss food pyramids, populations and the transfer of energy
  • observe two demonstrations showing how wetlands clean and store water
  • create a map showing the plan for a new town considering the needs of the different groups

This unit finishes with ideas for planning a trip to a local wetland and with action projects that ELL students can undertake in their own communities.

 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • using graphic organizers
  • building consensus
  • express and support a point of view
  • visual communication

Strengths

  • The resource works to educate young people about the value of wetlands through different cultures.
  • Lesson plans are detailed and easy to use.
  • The resource encourages students’ understanding and appreciation of wetlands but it also includes lessons and resources to assist in English Language Literacy (ELL) development.

Weaknesses

  • Include some assessment tools or rubrics.
  • Include some hands-on experiences at a wetland.

Relevant Curriculum Units

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Themes Addressed

  • Ecosystems (5)

    • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Biodiversity
    • Habitat Loss
    • Interdependence
    • Wildlife Protection

Sustainability Education Principles

Principle Rating Explanation
Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Good
  • The resource provides ways for exploring wetlands across cultures and for recognizing the value of wetlands in maintaining a healthy world for all of us. The lessons provide a variety of different points of view. The Ducks Unlimited website provides more information on the organizations’ values, biases and assumptions.

Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
  • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
  • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
  • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Good
  • environmental
  • social
  • economic
Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

  • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
  • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
  • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
Respects Complexity Good
Respects Complexity:

The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

Acting on Learning Good
  • Students explore actions they might be able to take in their community to improve wetlands. Students and teachers can explore further opportunities through the extension suggestions and the Project and Action Ideas.

Acting on Learning:

Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

  • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
  • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
  • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
Values Education Good
  • Two of the lessons give the students an opportunity to express their point of view.
Values Education:

Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

Empathy & Respect for Humans Poor/Not considered
  • Not considered in this resource.
Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
Personal Affinity with Earth Satisfactory
  • The lessons do encourage a personal affinity with non-humans and the wetlands. Some outdoor experiences should be included in the lesson plans to help enhance the connection.
Personal Affinity with Earth:

Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

  • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
  • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
  • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
Locally-Focused Learning Good
  • The activities in the resource help the students better understand the value of wetland resources and the importance of preserving them wisely. They learn what they can do to help protect and conserve the wetlands.
Locally-Focused Learning:

Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

  • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
  • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
  • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
  • The resource encourages students to protect wetlands so they may  continue to benefit from the essential role that these rich and diverse ecosystems play in personal health and Canada’s future.
Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

Pedagogical Approaches

Principle Rating Explanation
Open-Ended Instruction Good
  • The resource encourages discussion having included multi-lingual pieces which allow children to share what they are learning with other members of their family. There are opportunities within the lessons to link to students’ own experiences.  Students are not steered toward the one right answer.

Open-Ended Instruction :

Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

Integrated Learning Good
  • Science
  • Social Studies
  • Art
Integrated Learning:

Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

  • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
  • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
  • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
Inquiry Learning Good
  • The discovery learning opportunities are age appropriate. The learning activities are constructed so students discover and build knowledge by answering questions, creating maps, and solving problems.
Inquiry Learning:

Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

  • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
  • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
  • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

 

Differentiated Instruction Good
  • The resource includes lessons and resources to assist in English Language Literacy (ELL) development. It also recognizes that many classes contain students who are at different stages in their literacy development and provides opportunities to address this.

Differentiated Instruction:

Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

  • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
  • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
  • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
Experiential Learning Satisfactory
Experiential Learning:

Authentic learning experiences are provided

  • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
  • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
  • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
Cooperative Learning Good
Cooperative Learning:

Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

  • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
  • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
  • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
Assessment & Evaluation Satisfactory
  • The resource includes some reflection questions.
Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
Peer Teaching Satisfactory
Peer Teaching:

Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

  • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
  • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
Case Studies Satisfactory
Case Studies:

Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

Locus of Control Good
  • Students can explore related topics through the extension suggestions and project and action ideas included in the resource.

Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.