Lesson Plan No. 1: Summer Wages

Where did you work this summer and what did you learn?

This is a plan for class work focusing on student work experience. The Summer Wages exercise will fit a variety of courses, including writing, social studies, history and career exploration courses.

It offers a flexible way of exploring personal and social experiences that have both direct and implicit teaching opportunities.

Also, teachers will have the opportunity to get to know their students better and assess where each student stands in terms of writing ability.

This theme is directly related to one of the features on our website. Under Current Activities on our navigation panel, go to Our Blog or www.lhtnb.ca/02/en_blog.cfm.

Students will be asked to gather facts from existing blog entries on our site as well as communicate their own experiences.

The goal of this lesson is for students to gain an understanding of the experiences of their peers in the workplace and also to reflect constructively on their own experiences.

Activity No. 1:

The first activity involves students studying the existing entries in the Summer Wages feature of Our Blog. This activity can be fit into either single or two-day time frames.

To lead off the activity, the teacher might talk to students about services such as Myspace or Facebook - popular online networks in which users create blogs and interact with their friends or other users. It is likely that many of the students are familiar with them and many probably use them. A discussion on blogs can stem from this. The teacher may lead the discussion by asking questions such as:

  1. What does the word "blog" mean?
  2. Why would people use blogs?
  3. What are some popular blogs?
  4. Why are there so many celebrity or sports blogs?
  5. What else can a blog be used for?
  6. Is there a difference between "private" and "public" postings on blogs?

By this time, students may be wondering what this has to do with their class. If it hasn't come up already, the teacher might suggest that sometimes blogs can be used to share experiences. The teacher will then explain that the class will be using a blog to examine work experiences of other young people and possibly themselves.

The teacher then introduces the Summer Wages feature on the website, possibly by using an overhead of the introductory page for this site. The discussion could then focus on the nature of this particular blog and its purposes.

At this stage the teacher could either hand out examples of entries from the blog to the class or display them on the overhead. It would be ideal for every student to receive an individual package containing one or several blog entries. Students could also be asked to go home over the weekend and visit the website to view the entries independently.

Following this, the teacher is now able to ask the class to make observations about the entries they have read and answer questions about what they have observed. Depending on resources and time, students may answer the questions either on their own over the weekend or in class time. Classes where it is not likely that the teacher will be asking the students to prepare answers at home may choose to do small group or individual work in class with group discussions to follow.

Here are some questions that could be asked about the English-language entries currently on the site:

  1. How many kinds of jobs were described in these entries? Make a list.
  2. How many of these jobs were in the province, and how many were away?
  3. What kind of qualifications did the students need for their jobs? Did their jobs involve leadership skills?
  4. Why did Michael head to Alberta to work? Did it meet his expectations?
  5. What was Jason's experience like? What would you have done in his situation?
  6. Would you ever consider working at a camp as Braden did? How would you handle the lack of privacy?
  7. What features of a job did the students like best?
  8. What features of a job did the students dislike most?
  9. Which of these jobs would you most like to have? Which would you accept?
  10. What kinds of job did you have during the summer (or at other times)?

There is another dimension to this feature which teachers will notice on our site. When you click on the tab for Français on the Blog pages, you do not see a translation of the English entries but a separate series of entries in French submitted by students working in the French language. By using many of the same questions already used, this is an opportunity for teachers to test reading and/or discussion abilities in the French language. It is also an opportunity to reflect on the similarities or differences in experiences between English and French students in the workplace.

One other suggestion. Teachers and students who are particularly interested in questions about workplace standards may benefit from visiting www.workrights.ca, a site sponsored by the Canadian Labour Congress which gives province by province information about employment standards laws and regulations. Those who are interested in the history of labour more generally will benefit from visiting the Canadian Labour History feature at the Social Progress Gallery sponsored by the Canadian Museum of Civilization: www.civilization.ca/hist/progrese.html.

Activity No. 2:

The second activity for this lesson follows naturally and involves students writing their own blog entries. This could follow the first activity immediately or shortly after, or it could come at the end of the semester once students have gained more experience and confidence in addressing such topics and writing about them. Depending on how far the teacher wishes to pursue the activity, the student entries could be submitted to the website and considered for publication.

The teacher could begin by spending a class (or a portion of it) going through the process of writing a good blog entry. The teacher may choose one or two existing examples to show the class, noting that these are generally fairly short in length but contain considerable information too. Also, the teacher should note that the entries are not just descriptive but give some idea of what the students thought about or learned from their job. Students could then have the rest of the class to begin a rough plan for their own entry. If time permits they could also spend time the following day. Students will be required to present a rough copy to the teacher, who will then go over the text and suggest corrections or additions.

Once rough drafts have been prepared and revised, there could be a process of sharing the results by reading in small groups or in the class as a whole. Students might read their own work to the group or the copies might be circulated, with or without names, for presentation and discussion.

The last goal will be to produce polished final drafts on computers. It would be good to have class time to work on these final drafts, possibly by booking a computer lab if one is available. Since the students will have already completed their rough copies, it is possible that students will be able to complete their final drafts within one class. Final drafts may then be emailed or saved to disc and given to the teacher for final assessment. Teachers may ask permission to send results to the website or students may decide to do so on their own.

For the first activity, students will be assessed on their ability to collect relevant information from existing blog entries and their ability to share this information with the rest of the class. Students will also be assessed on their ability and willingness to explore their own thoughts on other people's experiences.

For the second activity, students will be assessed on their ability to stay on task in class, on completing their rough draft on time, and on completing their final draft to a good standard.

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