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This resource centres around the Robert Munsch book “From Far Away” that tells the true story of Saoussan, a young refugee from Lebanon who wrote a letter to the author describing her experiences as a newcomer to Canada.
The fear and emotions expressed by Saoussan as her family flees war and begins their new life lead to feelings of hope and joy as she appreciates the freedom to learn in a safe and welcoming environment. This lesson builds empathy skills as students compare their own experiences with those of the young child through the following problem-based learning tasks:
This resource supports Social Studies curriculum outcomes exploring immigration, life as a refugee and universal human rights. Introspection and communication are also important components of the learning experience and an emphasis is placed on building empathy.
The activities in this lesson can be used to prepare a class to welcome a new student. The class could develop a welcome package with short biographies and photos of the teacher and pupils. Individuals could be selected to act as peer mentors and a map of the school that names places in the newcomers own language could be posted in the classroom.
The following tool will allow you to explore the relevant curriculum matches for this resource. To start, select a province listed below.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives||Good|
Students use the story content to reflect on their own experiences starting school and apply these thoughts and feelings to understand and appreciate cultural diversity.
|Consideration of Alternative Perspectives: |
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions||Good|
In considering the social issues that cause residents to flee their home countries students also learn that many families must face new economic hardships associated with leaving behind jobs, homes and possessions.
|Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions: |
Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.
This resource supports the concept that proposed solutions to aid refugees in adapting to their new country must match the difficulties they experience.
|Respects Complexity: |
The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.
|Acting on Learning||Satisfactory|
This lesson can be used to assist a class in developing a welcoming plan for a new student that supports acceptance and friendship.
|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
The instructional strategy fosters respect and the authenticity of the topic provides a platform for students to identify personal feelings surrounding diversity.
|Values Education: |
Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.
|Empathy & Respect for Humans||Very Good|
This lesson builds emotional intelligence as students display compassion and understanding of the human suffering associated with becoming a refugee and losing your cultural identity.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|Personal Affinity with Earth: |
Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.
Learners will value the relative safety and comfort of Canada as a country and feel pride in our reputation for acceptance.
|Locally-Focused Learning: |
Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community.
|Past, Present & Future||Poor/Not considered|
|Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.|
Open ended questioning and brainstorming activities support independent thinking.
Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.
The content uses English Language Arts skills such as text analysis and describing ideas through writing to support the Social Studies learning outcomes.
|Integrated Learning: |
Learning brings together content and skills from more than one subject area
The tasks require some teacher guidance but there are many opportunities for individual expression.
|Inquiry Learning: |
Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.
|Differentiated Instruction||Poor/Not considered|
|Differentiated Instruction: |
Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.
Students use role play to understand the perspectives of others.
|Experiential Learning: |
Authentic learning experiences are provided
Students work in small groups to share ideas and promote active dialogue.
|Cooperative Learning: |
Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.
|Assessment & Evaluation||Good|
An assessment rubric is provided that can be used to evaluate students problem solving abilities formatively and allows for a comprehensive summative assessment of the learning goals.
|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: |
Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.
This lesson is based on the true story of a refugee child.
|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||Poor/Not considered|
|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.|