HELPING TEACHERS INSPIRE COMPASSION FOR ANIMALS, PEOPLE & THE ENVIRONMENT

Character Education

Division 1: Kindergarten – Grade 3

Below are discussion questions and activities to foster caring and compassion for animals, people, and the environment. Both the discussion questions and activities are part of the ‘Caring Community’ character education theme for the 2020-2021 school year! To see other character building themes, click here!

Discussion Questions:

  • What does it mean to care about something/someone?
  • What do you care about? Who do you care about?
  • What is community?
  • What are the benefits of being part of a group of community?
  • What communities do you belong to? Does everyone belong to a community?
  • How do you contribute to your community?
  • Who is in your community? Are animals part of your community? Why or why not?
  • Look at the poster, which animals are pets? Farm animals? Wild animals?
  • Who is responsible to care for pets? Farm animals? Wild animals?
  • How does caring about other people help your community? How does caring about animals help your community? How does caring about the environment help your community?

Activities:

1. Caring Community Members

Caring communities include individuals that care for other people, animals and the environment. People such as veterinarians, animal protection officers, and farriers are members of the community that care for animals as part of their job! As a class, listen to the podcast “Interviewing an Alberta SPCA Peace Officer” (5:34)

    • Post Podcast Discussion Questions
      •  What does an Alberta SPCA Peace Officer do? How do they help their community?
      • What kind of animals do they help?
      • What advice does Peace Officer Ryan-Ann give students on how they can help animals in their community?

As a class, brainstorm a list of other community members that help the community. Discuss how these people help your community. Ask students, if they could interview a person from the list, what would they ask? Make a class list of the questions. 

EXTENSION: Reach out to a community member who makes a difference in their community for animals, people or the environment (veterinarian, nurse, fish and wildlife officer, etc.) Ask if they would be willing to answer a few questions virtually via Zoom, Google Hangouts, or Skype. Use questions the students came up with!

2. Comparing Caring in Canada

Canada is shaped by many diverse communities. The land, culture, history and climate all contribute to shaping and changing the communities in Canada. While these communities can be vastly different, similarities can always be found. Read aloud Kamik an Inuit Puppy Story by Donald Uluadluak. Alternatively, students can watch the read aloud video “Kamik An Inuit Puppy Story” (7:07).

  • Post Reading Discussion Questions
    • Where in Canada does this story take place?
    • Why did Jake’s Grandfather use sled dog teams?
    • Do Inuit communities still sue sled dogs?
    • How does Jake’s Grandfather care for Kamik and his other dogs?
    • How do you care for you pet?
    • How is your relationship to your pet (or friend’s pet) similar and different to Jake’s (and his Grandfather’s) relationship with Kamik and the sled dogs? Similarities could include: training, respecting, caring, trusting. Differences include: Kamik is a working dog (dog team), Jake’sGrandfather depends on his dogs as transportation, to get food, to help survive.
    • What are some reasons for the differences?

Using the Comparing Caring Venn Diagram activity sheet, have students compare and contrast the similarities and differences between the relationship they have with their pets and the relationship Jake’s grandfather has with his dogs.

3. Protecting Pollinators

Butterflies and bees are important to our community. When butterflies and bees
feed on a flower’s nectar, pollen collects on wings/body, and moves with the butterfly and/or bee to the next flower. Spreading of the pollen helps other plans and good grow for humans and animals to eat. Plants depend on butterflies and bees to spread the pollen, and the butterflies and bees live in an ecosystem that has lots of plants and flowers they like. Unfortunatley, these areas are decreasing due to things such as habitat loss.

As a class watch the video “Why Do We Need Bees?” (3:32) and read aloud A Butterfly is Patient by Dianna Aston and Sylvia Long. Alternatively students can watch the read aloud video “A Butterfly is Patient” (11:05). Have students complete the Protecting Butterflies and Bees activity sheet either individually or as a class.

Additional information on protecting pollinators:

Curriculum

Social Studies
  • K.2 I Belong
    • General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of the characteristics and interests that unite members of communities and groups.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will:
        • K.2.2 value and respect significant people in their lives:
          • Appreciate the important contributions of individuals at home, at school and in the community
        • K.2.3 appreciate how their participation in their communities affects their sense of belonging
          • Develop an awareness of the importance of sharing the responsibility of caring for the environment.
Social Studies
  • 1.1 My World: Home, School and Community
    • General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how identify and self-esteem are enhances by their sense of belonging in their world and how active members in a community contribute to the well-being, growth and vitality of their groups and communities.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will:
        • 1.1.4 determine what makes their communities thrive by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry:
          • In what ways do people help one another at home, at school and in groups to ensure the vitality of their community?
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 1-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Needs of Plants and Animals
    • General Learner Expectation: Students will:
      • 1-11 Describe some common living things, and identify needs of those living things.
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will:
        • 3. Identify ways in which living things are valued
        • 10. Give examples of ways in which animals depend of plants, and way in which plants depend on animals
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Talk with others about something recently learned
  • Make observations about activities, experiences with oral, print and other texts

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information on a topic, using a variety of sources, such as books, concept books, people and field trips

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Share ideas and information form oral, print, and other media texts with familiar audiences
Social Studies
  • 2.1 Canada’s Dynamic Communities
    • General Outcome: Students will demonstrate an understanding and appreciation of how geography, culture, language, heritage, economics and resources shape and change Canada’s communities.
      • Specific Outcomes: Students will:
        • 2.1.1 appreciate the diversity and vastness of Canada’s land and peoples
        • 2.1.3 investigate the cultural and linguistic characteristics of an Inuit, an Acadian and a prairie community in Canada by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions for inquiry:
          • What are the cultural characteristics of the communities (e.g., special symbols, landmarks, language spoken, shared stories or traditions, monuments, schools, churches)?
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 2-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Small Crawling and Flying Animals
    • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
      • 2-10 Describe the general structure and life habits of small crawling and flying animals
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will:
        • 5. Describe the relationships of these animals to other living and nonliving things in their habitat, and to people.
        • Identify ways in which animals are considered helpful or harmful to the environment.
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Contribute relevant ideas and information from personal experiences to group language activities

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information on a topic using a variety of sources, such as simple chapter books, multimedia recourses, computers and elders in the community

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Share, with familiar audiences, ideas and information on topics
Science
  • General Learner Expectations: Students will:
    • 3-4 Demonstrate positive attitudes for the study of science and for the application of science in responsible ways.
    • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will show growth in acquiring and applying the following traits:
      • a sense of responsibility for actions taken
      • respect for living things and commitment for their care
  • Topic E: Animal Life Cycles
    • General Learner Expectations: Students will
      • 3-11 Identify requirements for animal care.
      • Specific Learner Expectations: Students will
        • Identify examples of environmental conditions that may threaten animal survival, and identify examples of extinct animals.
        • Recognize that habitat preservation can help maintain animal populations, and identify ways that student actions can assist habitat preservation.
Language Arts

1.1 Discover and Explore

Express ideas and develop understanding

  • Explain understanding of new concepts in own words
  • Explore ideas and feelings by asking questions, talking to others and referring to oral, print and other media texts

3.2 Select and Process

Use a variety of sources

  • Find information to answer research questions, using a variety of sources, such as children’s magazines, CDROMs, plays, folk tales, songs, stories and the environment

3.4 Share and Review

Share ideas and information

  • Organize and share ideas and information on topics to engage familiar audiences

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