Sunday, April 9, 2017

Canada with CLB 1L

I don't usually teach "Canada and Citizenship" at the literacy level. However, this time around I, without giving it much thought, used an off-the-shelf pictorial needs assessment document instead of the usual one that I have customized for my learners. The one I got from a resource on includes Canada as an option; of course that was the students' top pick.

Somehow, as a result of a mix of desperation and serendipity, I found a way to make the lessons come to life.

For the first week's module, we made a little six-page reader with the basics. I projected the book with blank lines up on the board and elicited the language, helping with grammar. Then students copied our sentences under the pictures in their own booklets.

This was the last time this group used primary penmanship lines. Our next module we graduated to regular lined sheets without the middle dotted guideline. They were pleased.

For week two, we took a little break from the map of Canada in order to incorporate a real-world task, map skills. This was done for the sake of an artefact for their portfolios and turned out to be an engaging module heavy on kinaesthetic means of learning; we turned the classroom into the streets and avenues of downtown Windsor. Students became fluent in giving and receiving directions to a few key landmarks around the core.
Back to the bigger map of Canada, learners made posters to help them remember which industries and foods are produced in each region.
We also started practicing offering, accepting, and declining food--a useful language function as newcomers make their first friends in Canada.

After days and days of practice with the rather large set of new terms, we made a video of our "Touring Canada through Food" party. The final test was closer to CLB 2 than 1, and all the class veterans aced it! Thirteen questions with NO images to support. They rocked it.

To finish off the theme, we picked out tourist post cards for one another, wrote little messages on them, addressed them to one another (for real), and asked the kind teacher to mail them.

A typical message went something like this:
Dear Ali,
Today I visited Niagara Falls. It is beautiful.
Your friend, Marwan.
Perhaps not this weekend, but very soon I will try to get the materials and checklists/rubrics for PBLA assessment onto my website for you to download and use.

Meanwhile, I have just uploaded other free materials for teaching housing HERE. Scroll down to "A Crack in the Tub."

I hope you're enjoying your teaching week. I sure enjoyed mine!


  1. I LOVE Canada units! This was absolutely delightful to read and watch, thank you so much for sharing, Kelly!!

    1. Thank you so much for saying so, Nancy!

  2. Thanks a bunch for these insights, Kelly. As a newish TESL instructor struggling to plan for and manage my CLB 1/2 class full of seniors, having front-line peeks into other teachers' classrooms and scaffolding process is invaluable.

    1. Easter, I am delighted to know that you've found something of value here. --K


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