Salt Spring Island Archives

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Education - Reading Our History

A series of Language Arts activities based on the Farmers’ Institute Pamphlet of 1902 available on the Saltspring Archives website.

Suitable for upper intermediate / middle school students.

Grades 4/5 Language Arts competency:
Use a variety of comprehension strategies before, during, and after reading listening, or viewing to deepen understanding of text.

Grades 6-8 Language Arts competency:
Apply appropriate strategies to comprehend written, oral, and visual texts, guide inquiry, and extend thinking.

Grades 4/5 Language Arts competency:
Use writing and design processes to plan, develop, and create texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.

Grades 6-8 Language Arts competency:
Use writing and design processes to plan, develop and create an engaging and meaningful literary and informational texts for a variety of purposes and audiences.

*notes to teachers: Preparing to use these activities

This piece of text provides students with reading challenges on several levels. It is written in a style unfamiliar to modern students. It uses terms and vocabulary that may be new to them. It is information-dense and lacks subtitles or other ‘organizing aids’.

For these reasons it is suggested that students do the initial reading in pairs, online on the website. They can then discuss points of confusion and examine the pictures that accompany the text.

For further work with the activities, teachers can print out and photocopy the text-only transcript so students can work without the computer.

Added materials on site:

  1. Transcript of the text for downloading and photocopying
  2. Sample Information web with suggested topics (pdf)
  3. Sample Venn Diagram

Lesson Suggestions:

I. Pre-reading: “Setting the Stage” (20 -30 minutes)

Class discussion:
1. Introduce topic with an activity to get students thinking about what the Island was like 100 years ago.

eg: Think/Pair/Share partner activity to generate ideas about what may have and may not have been in the community in 1902.

2. Identify purpose of the pamphlet. ie: to recruit settlers for the community. Discuss the type of writing and information to be expected in such text. Remind student to keep this in mind while reading.

II. Reading: “Accessing the Information” (1 period)

Shared Reading - in pairs - online
1. Students access the Saltspring archives website and read the Farmers’ Institute Pamphlet of 1902 as a shared reading activity. While reading:

III. Post-Reading: “Processing the Information” (1-2 periods)

Class Discussion/Activities:
1. Have students respond first with their general impressions of the text.

*Note to teachers: for this activity and the next ones, students should have a copy of the pamphlet transcript for reference.)

2. As a group, create a Venn Diagram of Saltspring Island in 1902 and Saltspring Island in 2002. Brainstorm at least 5 entries in each of the 3 sections based on information gathered from the text for 1902 and general knowledge for 2002. Use this activity of comparison and contrast to consolidate students’ undersanding of the text.

IV. Independent or Group Activities:

1. Information Web:

2. Persuasive Writing: an Explanatory Letter:
Reminder: This text is an example of biased writing.

Imagine you are the father of a young family living in England in 1902. You are dissatisfied with your life as you can see no opportunities to better your family’s situation. You are an optimistic person with a mild sense of adventure. You have recently inherited what to you seems a small fortune (£1000) and have been trying to decide how best to use it. You acquired a copy of the Farmers’ Institute pamphlet about Saltspring Island in Canada. You have read and reread the pamphlet endlessly and have made up your mind, based on this information, that your future and your fortune lies in emmigrating to this wonderful land.

3. Writing: Comparison and Contrast:

*note to teachers: This activity should be preceded by a discussion of what may have been left out of the pamphlet - ie: what difficulties weren’t mentioned.)

You are the same person involved in the previous writing activity. You have acted out your plan and have now lived on Saltspring Island for almost a year. You have discovered that the information in the pamphlet failed to mention some of the difficulties you might face.

1. a draft copy with differences and reasons for your decision underlined.
2. a final copy.