Early Civilizations will be explored in May, which falls towards the end of the 2007/2008 school year. Students have already been through most of the curriculum and have opportunities to read a number of different texts (fiction, non-fiction, poetry, historical fiction, fantasy, news reports etc). Students have also participated in literature circles throughout the year and will continue their literature circles through this unit, now focusing on historical texts.
Several ancient worlds will be explored (Egypt, Greek, Rome, China…), and students will research and present their findings through role play, visual arts, musical expression, and first-person narrative stories. Structures of the ancient world will be explored through Art (recreation of structures) and math (geometry). Students will also take a field trip to the ROM to see artefacts from the civilizations they have been studying.
Some of the lessons included in our unit plan will have students participate in an archaeological dig. As students uncover various artefacts they will need to decide what ancient civilization they come from, and what they were used for. Drama and Media will be explored through the preparation and presentation of skits as well as the creation of Greek Masks. The Roles and Responsibilities of individuals from ancient civilizations will be explored through reading, writing in perspective, as well as role play.
As seen in our lesson plans, students will play an active role in their own learning. Students are out of their desks and completing hands on activities to bring ancient civilizations to life. Lessons and activities also draw on a variety of learning differences. The unit will allow students to learn individually and with groups; through movement, reading, and writing; on field trips and in class; by creating new objects and uncovering “ancient artefacts”.
We fell that our unit will engage all learners, and will lead to lasting memories for our students. The incorporation of many hands on activities allows students to direct their own learning, which will lead to deeper, more personal knowledge.
generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;
draft and revise their writing, using a variety of informational, literary, and graphic forms and stylistic elements appropriate for the purpose and audience;
identify the topic, purpose, and audience for a variety of writing forms
identify and order main ideas and supporting units that could be used to develop several linked paragraphs, using a variety of strategies
determine whether the ideas and information they have gathered are relevant, appropriate, and adequate for the purpose, and do more research if necessary
establish an appropriate voice in their writing, with a focus on modifying language and tone to suit different circumstances or audiences
demonstrate an understanding of appropriate speaking behaviour in a variety of situations, including paired sharing, dialogue, and small- and large-group discussions
communicate orally in a clear, coherent manner, presenting ideas, opinions, and information in a readily understandable form
create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques;
identify the purpose and audience for a variety of media texts
describe in detail the topic, purpose, and audience for media texts they plan to create
identify and compare the ways in which people in various early civilizations met their physical and social needs, including how they interacted with and used the natural environment;
outline how social needs were met in two or more early civilizations
identify important values and beliefs in two or more early civilizations and describe how they affected daily life
use media works, oral presentations, written notes and descriptions, drawings, tables, charts, maps, and graphs to communicate information about early communities;
identify major early civilizations (e.g., Mediterranean, African, Asian, North/Central/South American)
produce two- and three-dimensional works of art that communicate a range of ideas (thoughts, feelings, experiences) for specific purposes and to specific audiences
describe their interpretation of a variety of art works, basing their interpretation on evidence from the works (especially on ways in which an artist has used the elements of design to clarify meaning) and on their own knowledge and experience;
select the most appropriate tools, materials, and techniques for a particular purpose, and use them correctly
compare works on a similar theme (e.g., seasons) from various periods and cultures, and describe the impact of time and location on style
produce two- and three-dimensional works of art (i.e., works involving media and techniques used in drawing, painting, sculpting, printmaking) that communicate a range of thoughts, feelings, and ideas for specific purposes and to specific audiences (e.g., using electronic media, design an eye-catching title page for their science notebook that clearly communicates the topic for a specific unit of study);
interpret and communicate the meaning of stories, films, plays, songs, and other material drawn from different sources and cultures, using a range of drama and dance techniques (e.g., using a “corridor of voices”);
rehearse and perform small-group drama and dance presentations drawn from novels, poems, stories, plays, and other source materials;
provide support for their interpretations of personal experiences and aspects of history, which they have presented through drama and dance (e.g., arrival in a new country, life in a medieval village), using various research resources to gather information;
Throughout the unit students will read and write about people from ancient civilizations. They will also student the various elements of ancient cultures. For their culminating task, students will select a historical figure of their choice (from one of the ancient civilizations studied), and will write a journal entry from the perspective of their historical figure including: lifestyle, daily activities, and ‘social commentary’ on their own culture. Students will hand in their journal to the teacher.
Students from the same civilization will also be asked to work as a group to put together a dramatic presentation (a short skit ~ 5 minutes) to explain culture incorporating norms and lifestyle (upper class, royalty, servants etc.) They will be encouraged to dress as their historical figure, and bring in/make some artefacts that would have been used at the time. These artefacts could be artwork they work on through the unit.
After students present all of their historical figures, the class will have a ‘Journey Back in Time’ celebration. Students will have the opportunity to play games that were popular in that time period. Students will interaction with other ‘historical figures’ and celebrate their new knowledge.
Some students may not feel comfortable presenting their culminating task in front of the class. Students will be given the option to complete a video presentation: their presentation can be filmed beforehand and shown to the class.
Students can make use of the Resource Room or Library as alternative work areas. They may also have scribes to help them write down their ideas. A number of visuals and hands-on activities will be made use of in the classroom to accommodate learners with special needs.
Individual lesson plans outline more specifically what accommodations/modifications will be put in place: please see lesson plans.
Assessment and Evaluation Guidelines
For their Culminating Task group work, students will complete a peer assessment as well as an individual assessment. Key ideas will be effort put forth, cooperation, brainstorming/ideas, and overall contribution to the group assignment.
At the end of the unit, students will complete a unit test on Ancient Civilizations – this will be content based.
Other assessment and evaluation strategies are outlined in our lesson plans: please see plans for more detail.