Week 1 of LEAP Into Literacy at Derrydown Public School

Written by: Esther Kim

Esther Kim taught English in Korea for 3 years and for 8 years after that owned a private after-school education centre in Thornhill, Ontario teaching high school English, K-8 Language Arts, and ESL. She is an Ontario certified teacher, currently working as a supply teacher for TDSB. She has been part of Leacock’s Saturday program at Derrydown Public school since 2013 and taught her first summer LEAP into Literacy at Derrydown Public School in 2014.

School is out. Summer is in. For most students, this is the break they have been waiting for all year. But for others, the two-month summer break can mean having little to do at home while their achievement gap widens by the next school year. Fortunately, Leacock Foundation for Children organizes a LEAP into Literacy program in schools that bridges the long summer break with a month of learning, activities, field trips, and amazing experiences students may not otherwise get.  I was fortunate to be part of the teaching staff at this summer’s LEAP into Literacy at Derrydown Public School where students could join this free summer literacy camp.

I greeted the eager faces of my grade 5 students and introduced our theme for the month: Eating our Way to a Sustainable Future. Students had very little knowledge of what that meant. They merely identified differences between junk food and “healthy” food without much experience with what it means to eat local, organic, sustainable foods that help the local communities and its members as well as ecosystems and the environment. I have an exciting month planned for them as we explore the story behind where our food comes from. By the end of the month, students will be taking the viewpoint of a vegetable and telling its story from seed to fork. Our focus in literacy will be to read a variety of texts and to begin establishing a voice in writing. Students will turn their stories into a feature film for our class’s red carpet film festival to showcase our work to parents.

Much more than just helping students improve or maintain their academic achievements for the next school year, this month’s focus will be to improve students’ relationships with each other and their ways of collaborating on projects together. Two students have already come to me to say that they did not get along during the school year and wish not to sit beside each other nor work together. What did I do? I sat them beside each other. Let’s see what happens!

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