Journey North Enrichment Pilot Project
by Margaret Black
Rama Central P.S., Washago, Ontario
June 2007

This project can be used with any migratory species and any grade level of student! 

Spare Time Enrichment
Six of the students in my 2006-2007 Grade 2 class consistently completed their work ahead of their classmates, and became bored and listless when they were not being challenged. During the spring of 2007, I engaged these students in six-week “spare time enrichment projects.” Each student chose one of six migratory species being tracked by the educational website Journey North. He/she then used Journey North and other non-fiction resources available through our school library to answer the journal questions in the Journey North news reports and to complete a research project about his/her species. Each student also gave regular oral presentations to our class about migration progress.

Research Folders
One of the favorite aspects of this project, for these young students, was the research folders I created to house their news reports and notes. These folders made the students feel like “junior scientists” and helped them to keep all of their work organized and in one place. After the initial start-up, all I had to add to the folders were the weekly or bi-weekly news reports. I indicated on these hard copies, with asterisks, the essential items I wanted my students to read and the journal questions I wanted them to answer. I provided templates from the Journey North web site, on which students could write their responses.

By the mid-point in the project, I noticed that s
tudents were not quite as independent as I had hoped at interpreting and completing their weekly journal assignments. I believe this was function of their young age. I solved this problem by scheduling brief orientation meetings with students once a week. Older students would probably not need such guidance.

I also noted that computer availability was sometimes a problem. I compensated by printing extra journal question resources from Journey North and having students sign out print resources from the library to assist them in the completion of their research projects.

In June, I interviewed the students to see what they thought of the project. All six said the Journey North Enrichment Project was a good experience. Five of the six students said they would definitely like to participate in a project like this again. The sixth said he would consider doing so if he was offered the chance to learn about another species.

In retrospect, I think a study partner might have been of benefit and enjoyment to my enrichment students. Next time I run this project, I will consider assigning more than one student to each species. In the future, I think I will also limit the number of species involved in the project. Printing weekly news reports for all six species that Journey North tracks in the spring, plus additional information for each student study folder, to enable students to do more of their study off-line, became rather labor-intensive for me.

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