Reading, Writing and Map Making

This past semester, I have taken an ERDG class which focused on assessing and treating reading difficulties. As part of this class, I was paired with a student from Ranch Ehlro who came to the University twice a week. During the time I spent with him, we read books, drew maps, wrote paragraphs, and played a lot of card games and iPad games.

I have written a few previous posts regarding my ERDG experience:

Together we explored the Saskatchewan Social Studies grade 8 curriculum where we looked at Outcome 8.1 – Dynamic Relationships. There was so much to explore and learn about but little time so we focused on the highlighted terms as our area of study from the following Indiactors:

  • c. Illustrate on a map various designated lands in Canada (e.g., lands set aside such as reserve lands, settlement lands, heritage sites, homesteads, wildlife   refuges, parks, crown land and trans-boundary areas) and explain such designations.
  • d. Investigate the importance of the land in the Canadian economy (e.g., agriculture, trapping, hydroelectricity, fishing, mining, forestry, tourism), and speculate about the impact on the identity of Canadians.

We read through various books and websites about reserves, wildlife refuges, national parks, provincial parks, agriculture and mining. Some of the materials I rewrote or adapted so that they were at the appropriate level my student could read at. Some interesting facts we came across about Sasaktchewan:

  • There are 72 reserves in Saskatchewan
  • There are 2 National and 34 Provincial parks in the province
  • One wildlife refuge in Saskatchewan is Last Mountain Lake National Wildlife Area
  • Saskatchewan produces more than half of the wheat grown in North America
  • Saskatchewan is Canada’s second largest producer of oil and gas, one quarter of potash in Canada is produced in Saskatchewan

In the end I think I can say that both of us learned a lot. Through drawing on my student’s funds of knowledge and through: shared reading, KWL plus charts, scaffolding new information, working through the writing process and editing, my student and I produced a map of Saskatchewan and paragraphs that describe our map – part of a summative assessment.

Then, my student independently created a map and descriptions of what one would see if you were to travel to his from Regina – an authentic assessment task.

I was so proud of the work my student produced and what he was able to accomplish, individually and with assistance as was my professor and his teachers.

An interesting part of this class was that I was able to communicate using GoogleDocs to a student at the University of Massatechutes who is studying assessment. He offered me suggestions about my lesson plans, and assessment plan. I found this to be a beneficial and interesting learning process.

This class was a wonderful learning and teaching experience. I was exposed to and educated further on the importance of authentic assessment, reading tests, teaching strategies and working with a student. It was a lot of work – but was rewarding and while this class is not required for your degree, I would highly recommend it!



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