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Thinking Forward for grades 2-5 is part of a series of toolkits that provide educators with activities, books and learning strategies for reflection and thinking about the Pandemic experience. The focus is on fundamental concepts that will help students move forward with new awareness, resilience, and optimism for the future. While each session connects to students' experiences, the concepts investigated are also linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing students to see how their learning is practical and to act on it. The sessions can take place in any learning space, including online, outside, in nearby nature.
The toolkit is divided into four themed sessions focusing on key concepts:
Session 1 – Diversity, Respect and Relationships has students participate in community-building activities to establish a safe learning environment in the classroom. Students create a community essential agreement based on respect and consideration of others' differences and learning needs. Activities include participating in a scavenger hunt, gallery walk and knowledge building circle where students take turns sharing ideas.
Session 2 – Adaptability, Creativity and Resilience session invites students to reflect on the many ways things rapidly changed at home, school and in their community to keep them safe and to continue learning. Through a series of videos and activities, students reflect and discuss how these three concepts were necessary to adapt during the pandemic. Students self-reflect on their pandemic experience and personal adaptations and share their thoughts on a visual wall.
Session 3 – Trust and Feelings explores the concept of trust in the scientific method for evidence-based decisions and actions. Through a series of activities, students will learn more about coronavirus myths and facts, discuss the emotions connected to the virus and how it makes them feel. Students are invited to express their opinions during a Four Corners activity which stimulates students learning through movement and discussion. They write their thoughts about the role of trust and evidence in science during the pandemic in their journal.
Session 4 – Interconnectedness focuses on the importance of our human connections, societal systems and the interconnected natural world. Students learn more about interconnectedness through various activities such as an outdoor energizer activity and a circle discussion. They share their thoughts about community interconnectedness during the pandemic on a graffiti wall or an art piece of their choice.
After a challenging year of pandemic living, the activities in this toolkit help students reflect on the many changes in their lives made to keep them safe and learning. This resource complements itself well with the beginning of the school year activities when creating a balanced learning environment based on respect and students' needs. The sessions can take place in any learning space, including online, outside, in nearby nature. The lesson plans are easy to follow and provide suggestions, extension activities and reflection questions. The material and activities are age-appropriate, applicable to diverse learners, and connect to any subject discipline or curriculum. While each session connects to students' experiences, the concepts investigated are also linked to the UN Sustainable Development Goals, allowing students to see how their learning and actions support change in the world.
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