Exploring new ways of teaching, Immanuel Christian School, located in Aylmer, Ontario, has just finished an integrated study of fish. Fish were chosen as a rich theme which allows students to see the wonder of creation, to respond in language and in art in many areas, and to appreciate this symbol of Christian faith. Emphasizing positive social interactions, the school is divided into multi-aged “families” including Kindergarten through grade 8 students. For the six weeks of Fish Days, each “family” rotated to a different teacher on Friday afternoons. The groups marveled at the fishy details of creation, learned how to collaborate in the activities they did, shared ideas and asked questions.
Caleb Krahn, a Gr. 7 student said, “It’s different than learning in a classroom. If you’re in the older grades you have to help the younger students, plus if you don’t work together you will get nothing done, but if you work well together you will get lots done.” Marcel Guenther, a Gr. 2 student said, “It was weird when I heard about it, but it turned out to be fun.”
Each teacher led a class in an area of personal interest. The Fish Days activities included “What’s in a Fish?”, ”Fishers of Men”, “Fish Stories”, “To Fish or Not to Fish”, “Gyotaku Fish Art”, and “Fish Fact or Fish Opinion?”. Mrs. Sheryle Drop, Gr. 3 and 4 teacher, commented, “I liked best how the older students helped the younger children.”
Fish Days was Immanuel’s inaugural step in deliberate, multi-age instruction using an integrated theme. Immanuel built on previous Fish Days work shared by the teachers at a sister school, Beacon Christian School in St Catherines. The unit had clear learning objectives, including both academic and character attributes. Helping with Fall reports, the unit also included teacher and self assessment in the form of a Fish Days passport. Planning and teaching the unit fostered positive staff interactions and generated a flurry of excitement amongst teachers, students and parents alike. Students really did not want to miss a Fish Day Friday!
Immanuel Christian School (ICS) is an independently run Christian school located on Caverly Road in Aylmer. The school was established in 1954, and has a current enrolment of 84 students in JK through grade 8. With an unofficial motto of “Instruction for Christian Service,” the school strives to provide quality Christ-centered learning, equipping students for a life of service. The school is open for all parents interested in ensuring a Christian education for their children. The school meets the Ontario curriculum and teacher standards, and serves the communities of Aylmer, Belmont, Brownsville, Springfield, Tillsonburg, and large parts of Elgin and Oxford counties.
Those interested in more information on Immanuel Christian School may contact the office at (519) 773-8476 or check out the school online at http://www.immanuelchristianschool.net/. ICS is also open for visitors on “Welcome Wednesdays,” every Wednesday morning.
contributing writers: Luke Schuurman and Caleb Krahn, both gr 7 and Mr. Keith Cameron, Principal