A Special Visit for Division 4.

While yesterday was not a normal practicum day I was able to spend the later part of the day from after recess on with my class.  We had the fabulous opportunity to have one of the members of the Canadian Military we have been communicating with spend the afternoon with us. Corporal Christopher Allison aka Chris or Pher joined us in the classroom for a chat and to share some stories with the students, while I had heard many of the stories before in some for it took on a different meaning for me when I saw my student’s reactions to the stories. He shared one of my favourites about his participation and experience at the Remembrance Day Activities in Ypres and Vimy Ridge, a story I could never hope to tell or even type well enough to do it justice.  The image that was painted for us in his words was magical we could see the events and the setting and hear the sounds we were transported to Ypres and Vimy Ridge.

 

As for Div. 4, I was very pleased with the thoughtful and deep questions they posed and the answer they learned that as a good question and answer often does lead to more questions.  We also looked at the three components of Canada’s military and what makes them unique. The students had some questions of immediate concern answered as well, in the field they sleep in the open or a hammock if their lucky and in the winter a tent, but most of the time in a house and a normal bed. They also learned that lunch every day includes a chocolate bar, Div. 4 looked a little jealous of that. They learned the process that they take to become a soldier, and that they take classes” just like we do”. They learned that each member of the military works with a ” Fire Partner” and that they take care of each other and that they work in groups about the size of our class, that are organized into bigger groups about the size of our school.  The students also heard what they do to prepare for trips like the one they just took to Europe.   We even discussed in a child friendly way and in words Div.4 understood how WWII started and one of my young gentle men may have a new inquiry project. The students also learned that his all time favourite project was building a hockey rink for children and youth in a rural Ontario community.  It was cool to hear about all the different ways that they build bridges in only a few hours and how heavy the pieces that they have to lift are.  As well as some of talk of peace, because Chris was my inspiration for the peace work I did with Div. 4 in the fall.

 

It was an honour to have him in the classroom, it also meant a lot to me to have one of my good friends and one of the best friends of my childhood and teen years come share with my students.  I sincerely hope that Div. 4 has taken something positive away from the experience and this has helped them develop a deeper understanding of peace.

 

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9 Responses to A Special Visit for Division 4.

  1. Yvonne says:

    It does sound as though the experience was a positive one for both you and your students Amanda. It sounds as though you were able to present an opportunity that inspired students without, hopefully, glorifying war. I would be curious to know if there have been opportunities for discussion about the conflicting views we hold as Canadians about our involvement overseas? While many would agree our military is doing some valuable work abroad, others consider our involvement less than positive. (Having said this, I’m unsure how such a discussion might happen in a grade 4 classroom… Important to note, however, that when we choose to present one aspect of a potentially controversial topic, we need to also look for balance. I have found this with my own environmental interests. Due to my own strongly held environmental views and involvement in local conservation initiatives, I work to ensure I do not ‘inculcate’ my students but, instead, provide opportunities to explore various viewpoints and allow them to begin to develop their own beliefs. I’d be happy to discuss this further.

  2. Yvonne says:

    It does sound as though the experience was a positive one for both you and your students Amanda. It sounds as though you were able to present an opportunity that inspired students without, hopefully, glorifying war. I would be curious to know if there have been opportunities for discussion about the conflicting views we hold as Canadians about our involvement overseas? While many would agree our military is doing some valuable work abroad, others consider our involvement less than positive. (Having said this, I’m unsure how such a discussion might happen in a grade 4 classroom… Important to note, however, that when we choose to present one aspect of a potentially controversial topic, we need to also look for balance. I have found this with my own environmental interests. Due to my own strongly held environmental views and involvement in local conservation initiatives, I work to ensure I do not ‘inculcate’ my students but, instead, provide opportunities to explore various viewpoints and allow them to begin to develop their own beliefs. I’d be happy to discuss this further.

  3. Melanie Ledlin says:

    This seems like a beneficial thing to bring into your lesson. It would be interesting if any of your students have family members who fought in the war. A project based activity that would complement this speaker would be to interview someone, such as family members, family friends, etc., who have experienced fighting in the war, and/or who experienced living during war times. I did a project like this in grade ten, and it was a really great project to learn about what happened in the past.

    • Milana Cecco says:

      Amanda, it is so great that you were able to bring in a guest speaker to compliment your lessons. Melanie I think your idea helps to additionally extend Amanda’s idea. If students had the opportunity to conduct interviews with their family members/friends, they could begin to look at the impacts of war in the past and present. How was it similar? And different?

      I really enjoyed the photos that accompanied the blog post. It helped me feel as though I was in the classroom with you!

  4. Amanda Younger says:

    If I was to get the chance to repeat this experience , I would defiantly have them do more to find out about their families. We used this as a wrap up to a project we started in October with writing letters to Cpl. Alliston while he was in Poland in a peace keeping and training capacity. Although it’s created even more questions for some of my students.

    Yvonne how would you suggest having students at this age discuss the complex thoughts and opinions around Canada’s participation in various military exercises over seas. With secondary school students I would have them pick a view point and have a debate using a formal debate structure ie parliamentary debate.

  5. Amanda Younger says:

    If I was to get the chance to repeat this experience , I would defiantly have them do more to find out about their families. We used this as a wrap up to a project we started in October with writing letters to Cpl. Alliston while he was in Poland in a peace keeping and training capacity. Although it’s created even more questions for some of my students.

    Yvonne how would you suggest having students at this age discuss the complex thoughts and opinions around Canada’s participation in various military exercises over seas. With secondary school students I would have them pick a view point and have a debate using a formal debate structure ie parliamentary debate.

  6. Yvonne Dawydiak says:

    Your instincts about debate structure for an older audience (I’d suggest gr 6 and up with prior teaching and learning with respect to cultural sensitivity, etc…) is excellent Amanda. For your current group, it would really depend on the students, their level of understanding and maturity (and of course, time available in the classroom). Basically though, whenever addressing potentially contentious situations or issues, I try to provide a balanced approach to engage students in making their own connections and decisions. i.e. If engaging in a letter writing activity to soldiers or peacekeepers, I would likely also ensure I was giving ‘equal time’ and putting equal effort into providing engaging opportunities to learn about non-violent approaches to conflict, Peace Education, cultural sensitivity etc. I would likely engage the students in conversations and lessons about the varied ways that NGO’s, gvt and individuals are working to support ‘peace’. I would look at how we (individually and as a society) can solve problems in non-violent ways, develop cultural awareness and support one another.

    Pennies for Peace uses a young readers addition of the excellent book ‘3 Cups of Tea’ to help develop cultural awareness and a deeper understanding of the challenges faces by the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is also opportunity for learning through ‘action’ about the ‘costs’ of our current approach to problems in the region. The site (penniesforpeace.org) also has some video content and teaching resources available.
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    Unicef also has some excellent resources – Teach Unicef including a lesson targeted for grade 3-5 about the situation in Syria. It would be interesting to learn about the effects of war (from a child’s perspective) and perhaps even look at Canada’s response and how we are trying to help (the various ways, not just military).

  7. Yvonne Dawydiak says:

    Your instincts about debate structure for an older audience (I’d suggest gr 6 and up with prior teaching and learning with respect to cultural sensitivity, etc…) is excellent Amanda. For your current group, it would really depend on the students, their level of understanding and maturity (and of course, time available in the classroom). Basically though, whenever addressing potentially contentious situations or issues, I try to provide a balanced approach to engage students in making their own connections and decisions. i.e. If engaging in a letter writing activity to soldiers or peacekeepers, I would likely also ensure I was giving ‘equal time’ and putting equal effort into providing engaging opportunities to learn about non-violent approaches to conflict, Peace Education, cultural sensitivity etc. I would likely engage the students in conversations and lessons about the varied ways that NGO’s, gvt and individuals are working to support ‘peace’. I would look at how we (individually and as a society) can solve problems in non-violent ways, develop cultural awareness and support one another.

    Pennies for Peace uses a young readers addition of the excellent book ‘3 Cups of Tea’ to help develop cultural awareness and a deeper understanding of the challenges faces by the people in Afghanistan and Pakistan. There is also opportunity for learning through ‘action’ about the ‘costs’ of our current approach to problems in the region. The site (penniesforpeace.org) also has some video content and teaching resources available.
    null

    Unicef also has some excellent resources – Teach Unicef including a lesson targeted for grade 3-5 about the situation in Syria. It would be interesting to learn about the effects of war (from a child’s perspective) and perhaps even look at Canada’s response and how we are trying to help (the various ways, not just military).

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