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Program Highlights

These are the main elements of our school-wide migration tracking initiative:

Each club meets for 25 minutes, during a lunch hour, once a week. 

  • Grade 1 and 2 students meet on Mondays.  Grade 5-6 helpers assist with the Grade 1/2's. 

  • Grade 3 students meet on Wednesdays.

  • Grade 4 student meet on Fridays.

Students in the clubs begin each weekly meeting discussing the latest migration developments (as depicted on the monarch, crane and bear tracking maps).  They spend the balance of their time on computers in our school library, being guided through some of the week's migration highlights.  Some weeks, they also engage in craft activities, such as creation of symbolic monarchs and crane sculptures.  See the "Crafts" section of this web page for more details.

Enrichment groups, for gifted and highly-talented students,  meet for 40 minutes during class time, once a week.  

  • There are five Grade 3 students in my Tuesday group

  • There are five Grade 5-8 students in my Thursday group

  • These students have enrichment folders containing information sheets and booklets from the Journey North website, plus journal pages, venn diagrams and maps on which to record their tracking and research findings.

Each week, enrichment students will spend about 15 minutes engaged in a discussion about a particular aspect of the migrations, and about recent changes on the monarch and crane tracking maps.  Then, they spend the balance of their 40 minute session on the computers, reading the latest Journey North, Operation Migration and Polar Bear Tracker news reports and working on journaling questions.  These students take their enrichment folders back to class with them, so they can engage in further studies, on their own, throughout the week.

Literacy is a HUGE focus at Rama Central P.S. so, each of the first six weeks of club and enrichment group meetings, students are given an information booklet about monarchs and one about cranes to take home.  These booklets are downloadable pdfs from the Journey North educational website.  Take-home booklets are duplicated onto newsprint, using our Risograph machine.  This is much cheaper than photocopying onto regular paper.  

Having students take information booklets home, to share them with their parents/siblings and to keep in their home libraries, is a great way to inspire interest and conservation-minded attitudes at home.  Another way to accomplish this goal, would be to run off less booklets, and have students take turns borrowing them, for home reading.  

Each week, students are asked to reflect on an aspect of the migrations and come to the next meeting with ideas to share with the group.  

The club/group staff advisor printed single, colour copies of all the Journey North crane booklets and all the "basics" and fall/winter/Mexico monarch booklets onto card stock.  These were arranged acrylic racks and put on display in the school library for two weeks.  After that, these display racks were sent on tour to club members' classrooms, to become part of classroom libraries for a week.  Through the circulation of booklets between classes, non-club/enrichment students are given an opportunity to learn about the migrations, too.  

Our tracking boards are located in a very public location, in the school library, to provide maximum exposure to all students.  

The monarch tracking map is updated weekly, with comments about sightings from the latest monarch news report, (as per the method suggested in Journey North's fall monarch "make a map" section).  We also add a hard copy of the latest roost-sightings map to the display.  All of the weekly roost maps are being posted, in a line, across the bottom of the monarch bulletin board, so students can easily review their progress, week-by-week.  

The crane tracking area is updated daily, throughout their southbound migration.  We read the latest crane news report, record daily flight distances and no-fly days on a calendar, update the cranes' current location on their large tracking map, and record the total distance flown and distance still to fly on a sign.  

The Polar Bear tracking area is updated weekly.  Each bear's currently location is transferred from the online tracking map to a large, laminated map of Canada, on our tracking board.  Each bear's travel route, to date, is indicated on the map using an acetate marker.

In order to make migration news accessible to all students at our school, binders that house the crane news reportsmonarch news reports  and Polar Bear news reports will be on display in the library throughout our study.  These are updated weekly for the monarchs and bears and daily for the cranes.  Last fall, the Journey North crane reports binder was hands-down the most popular piece of reading material in Mrs. Black's Grade 2/3 classroom, so she expects these binders will get lots of use, too!


Members of the Grade 3 enrichment group are responsible for writing and reading weekly migration updates on the morning announcements, so the entire school is kept informed of the cranes' and monarchs' southbound progress and the bears' arctic wanderings.  This exercise also serves the dual purpose of giving these students experience writing concise, to-the-point summaries and speaking in public.

Just as last year, this fall we plan to engage in a letter-writing campaign, with students from other schools. We hope to lobby one or more companies to donate funds to support the work of Operation Migration, World Wildlife Fund Canada and the Monarch Butterfly Sanctuary Foundation.  In the fall, we also participated in Journey North's "Symbolic Migration" program.  See the "Outreach" section of this website, for more information.

Mrs. Black has designed five math activities to support the acquisition of basic math skills and teach concepts relating to the seasons and migration.  Instructions and downloadable pdfs are provided in the "Games" section of this website.  In the "Games" section of this website, you will also find a link to online Polar Bear/Arctic games on the World Wildlife Fund International server.

Just as last year, when developing the cross-curricular, classroom migration-monitoring model, this year we're "flying by the seat of our pants" in developing a whole-school-involvement model, so there really is no master plan.  Keep checking this page, and the main page of this website, for the latest developments!

Margaret Black, Learning Centre Special Education Resource Teacher

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