Circles of Friendship:
Canada Jays Connecting Classes Throughout the Land
In 2019-2020, the Kids’ Guide to Canada team started a brand new Social Studies and Literacy activity: creating CIRCLES of FRIENDSHIP and LEARNING across the country. In March 2020, the outbreak of covid19 cut these circles short, however we are going ahead with a slightly modified version of this project in the 2020-21 year.
- To help students develop greater intercultural understanding, empathy, and respect for others, especially for Indigenous cultures (TRC 63.3)
- To increase experiential connections-based learning across Canada, and to support teachers in doing this safely and effectively
- To model the use of the Kids’ Guide map as a learning tool
- To create a Social Studies learning resource for K-8 classes created BY Canadian students and FOR Canadian students.
Somewhat reminiscent of “Flat Stanley,” we are sending hand-sewn Canada Jays on journeys from class to class creating “Circles of Friendship” across the land. Canada Jays are not the official bird of Canada, but they live in all 13 provinces and territories, and they represent the spirit of adventure. Each Circle of Friendship has five to six Grade 3-8 classes from a different province or territory in Canada.
Because curriculum differs across the country, teachers are encouraged to use the Canada Jay project to achieve curriculum expectations of their choice. The Canada Jay Project best fits student learning in
- Social Studies (My Community, Personal Identity, Indigenous/Treaty Education, Physical and Political Regions of Canada, Map Skills)
- Literacy (Informational Writing + Speaking Skills)
- Media Literacy (Digital Citizenship and Safety)
- Character Development (Respect for Others)
A. INITIAL ALL-CLASS MEET-UP
Before a Canada Jay sets off on his cross-Canada journey, all of the classes in a Circle of Friendship are invited to participate in an initial all-class meet-up. This is a private online event, and will be organized and hosted by the National Kids’ Guide team.
During the visit, each class are asked to answer 4 introductory questions, the students learn about the Canada Jay project, vote on their Canada Jay’s name, and have an opportunity to meet the other classes in the circle.
Additional interactions with classes in the circle are possible on an individual basis by arrangement by the classroom teachers involved.
B. CLASS VISIT
Class participation typical involves a 2 week visit when the Canada Jay “flies in” and visits an “airbnb classroom“, looking to explore and learn about the local community. While visiting, the students are asked to introduce their Canada Jay to the sites and sounds and smells of their local neighbourhood community – those which are important to them!
COVID MODIFICATIONS: Depending on the outbreak status in different communities, teachers will allow the students to take the jay out and photograph him/her “in situ”. Each jay is mounted on a stick which can be sanitized for health and safety.
During the Canada Jay’s visit, students are asked to record their adventures and discoveries in the manner which best suits the time available and curriculum goals.
- artwork, photographs, class book, etc. (VISUAL)
- stories, interviews, news reports, poems, songs, etc (TEXT or AUDIO)
- videos, slideshows, green screen weather reports, etc. (MULTI-MEDIA)
C. LIVE CLASS WEBCASTS
Where possible, each class will present during 20-30 minute live online webcast, which will be organized and hosted by the National AKGTC team.
During this time, students in the host class will take
3- 5 minutes
to share the Canada Jay’s adventures in their community. At the end of their presentation, the other classes will have an opportunity to ask questions and learn from the host class. Please note that these webcasts are simultaneously broadcast publicly for viewing by all K-8 classes across Canada. Students participating in public class webcasts must have obtained parental consent.
STUDENT SAFETY – PLEASE NOTE
To ensure student safety, students do not have accounts in this project and they cannot post anything online. Only the classroom teacher can upload student works to the Kids’ Guide project.
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A. If you would like to be notified of LIVE CLASS WEBCASTS to watch students introduce their communities across Canada, please register for the Kids’ Guide project. It’s entirely FREE!
B. If you would like to find out if there are any spots open to participate in a Circle of Friendship this year
Broken links on this page?
The Kids’ Guide project is a collaborative effort of teachers like yourself.
Please contact us and let us know!