A Look at Split Grade 5/6 Social Studies Strand B: People & Environments

Unsure how to teach People and Environments for your Canadian 5/6 split class? Click through for some great tips and ideas to do just that!

I’ve been hearing from many teachers lately concerned about how to keep their sanity while trying to handle the 2018 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum in a split grade, and as I have rarely taught a straight grade, I thought I’d share a few thoughts on the topic.

                    Grade 5/6:  People and Environments
The Grade 5/6 split is one that can be particularly troubling for teachers, as at first glance the units can seem so unrelated, but I think if we take a closer look, the expectations are actually quite similar.  Today I’m going to explore the People and Environments strand:

  • Grade 5:  The Role of Government and Responsible Citizenship
  • Grade 6:  Canada’s Interactions with the Global Economy

Basically the Grade 5 unit has students look at current social & environment issues within the country from various perspectives, examining and evaluating the actions taken by various levels of government to address these issues, and explore their own responsibilities as citizens as they create action plans to address these issues.

The Grade 6 unit has students explore current social, political, economic, and environmental issues withing the global community, examining and evaluating the actions taken by Canadian federal, provincial/territorial & local governments as well as NGOs (Non-Governmental Organizations) to address these issues and explore Canada’s participation in different international accords, organizations, and programs.

Can you see the commonalities here? 
  • The Grade 5’s are basically looking at social & environmental issues within our country, seeing how various levels of government handle these issues, and then go on to explore how they themselves can influence how decisions are made through their own activism.
  • The Grade 6’s are also looking at social & environmental issues (and adding on political & economic issues), but this time within the entire world, and seeing how Canadian governments, governments from other countries, and NGOs handle these issues.  Instead of creating their own action plans, they go on to explore Canada’s international presence within various organizations.

In a Grade 5/6 split I see the potential here to perhaps keep the focus on social and environmental issues, such as child poverty or the protection & availability of clean water within Canada as well as within the world.

Coach’s Corner Split Grade Strand B Blended Unit:

Using the ideas from above, I created a split grade “blended” unit to use with my Grade 5/6 class.  I call it a blended unit because I have blended the “big ideas” from both grades to create lessons that can be taught to both grades at once.  Each grade may have different texts or slightly different tasks to explore the lesson’s themes, before participating in knowledge building circles to share the connections between their learning.  Check it out here:

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