A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Interdependence
A community of learners depend on each other to co-operate and to respect themselves,
others, and property in the classroom. Students will establish group norms within the context
of interdependence. As such, the teacher and students will rely on each other to create and
maintain a positive learning environment.
• Foster a culture for learning by generating classroom rules and routines on chart paper
entitled, “What Our Classroom Needs to Thrive”. Address what students need or depend
on to be safe and successful in the classroom.
• Read a variety of fiction books about sharing and respect. Discuss the relationship
between characters using the word “depend”, i.e., “In the story, how did characters
depend on each other?”
• Create a classroom book entitled, “I Depend….” Use the classroom rules as an anchor
chart to guide each student in writing and illustrating one page about the needs of the
classroom. Begin with a model, i.e., “I depend on the teacher to solve problems when
they get too tricky to solve myself.”
Literacy Connections:
We Share Everything! by Robert Munsch.
Rainbow Fish by Marc Pfister.
Students will continue to explore ideas of dependence and interdependence through the lens of
living things. All living things depend on food, water, and air to survive and reproduce. Likewise,
when humans choose to take living things out of their natural environment, they rely on us to
adequately provide these basic needs.
• Bring in several Monarch caterpillars and a variety of green foliage, including milkweed
• Read non-fiction books about the needs of Monarch caterpillars and milkweed plants to
establish a sustainable habitat in the classroom.
• Make connections to the needs of living things and the needs of learners by recognize
similarities and differences, (i.e., Our classroom is like the Monarch/milkweed
because…). Establish a T chart entitled, “What Monarchs and Milkweed Plants Need to
Survive,” and post beside it the “What Our Classroom Needs to Thrive” list.
• Demonstrate how to effectively use labels, headings, pictures and captions to determine
important information in non-fiction text. During shared reading, use these features to
explore the life cycle of a Monarch caterpillar and a milkweed plant. Use the T chart as
an anchor that encourages students to share responsibility and ownership for these
living things in the classroom.
Literacy Connections:
Amazing Amos and the Extraordinary Fish.

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Grade Two:
Illustrate an up-close picture and label the
characteristics of a Monarch caterpillar.
Construct a diagram of a Monarch caterpillar
life cycle. Provide cutouts of the four stages and
instruct students to sequence and label.
Apply this understanding to create a human life
cycle. Describe the similarities and differences
between humans and caterpillars.
Discuss the concept of metamorphism or
“morphing” into a new being.
Dramatize and write about a Monarch butterfly
who has just emerged from the chrysalis for the
first time, i.e., What does it feel like to fly for the
first time?
Grade Three:
Illustrate and label the significant parts of a milkweed
plant, i.e., roots, stem, and leaves.
Create a cutaway of the inside of a milkweed plant.
Use labels and information boxes to describe the
characteristics of a milkweed plant through both
observation and touch.
Identify and compare observations of other plants. Use
these observations to predict why Monarch caterpillars
prefer milkweed plants over other plants.
Local communities depend on each other to provide a variety services that meet their basic needs and allow
citizens to feel safe and secure, (i.e. stores, police station, fire hall, etc.). Students will explore this concept
through the lens of their own community. They will begin to recognize where and how their local community
accesses and shares important services and resources from and with nearby communities.
Use a coordinate grid to read a map of the community. Identify symbols that represent significant
buildings in the community. Introduce the compass rose and begin to read and write directions
using north, south, east, and west.
On a map of North America, locate Canada, Ontario, and the local community.
Literacy Connections:
Grade Two:
Construct an accurate map of the classroom that
includes significant features, using symbols, a
legend, and a compass rose.
Discuss the ways that students interact with his
or her local community. What services do you
use in your community to meet your family’s
Through shared and guided reading, continue
to explore life cycles of living things, including
mammals, fish, amphibians, reptiles, and birds.
Follow-up: Count the number of days that
it takes for the butterfly to appear. Observe
changes in the chrysalis each day.
Grade Three:
Identify and compare some significant features and
differences between urban and rural communities (i.e.
buildings, modes of transportation, population). How
do these two communities interact with each other?
Use the telephone book to research, graph, and
compare the number of grocery stores in a city to the
number of grocery stores in a small town. Based on
this information, discuss the benefits and drawbacks of
living in the country or the city? Reflect on this question
from the perspective of 1) a homeowner and, 2) a
business owner.
Follow-up: Observe the changes in milkweed over time.
What happens to the plant after two days, three days?
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Interdependence

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Countries rely on each other to sustain and care for a variety of natural resources, including living things. In
particular, animal migration encourages countries to develop shared ownership and responsibility for living
things such as butterflies, whales, and birds. Likewise, countries depend on each other to trade goods that
meet their needs and wants.
Using a globe, explain and discuss the migration of butterflies to Mexico each winter. Use geese
and human migration to activate prior knowledge about the term “migration”.
Mark the United States and Mexico on a map of North America. Discuss the scale and the
approximate distance from Ontario to Mexico for a Monarch butterfly.
Watch a video that describes firsthand life in urban and rural Mexico.
Read a variety of non-fiction texts that describes life in Mexico and the butterfly migration.
Literacy Connections:
Grade Two:
During the video, students complete a
comparison map identifying similarities and
differences between Mexico and Canada,
i.e., clothing, family, food, traditions, and
• Use visual arts and drama to further explore the
Day of the Dead by creating decorative
skeleton masks and constructing a symbolic altar
in the classroom.
• Follow-up: Release the butterflies when
they emerge from the chrysalis. Celebrate the
butterfly’s first flight.
Grade Three:
During the video, students complete a comparison map
identifying similarities between urban and rural Mexico,
i.e., structures, modes of transportation, population.
• Graph population data from rural and urban
communities in Mexico.
• Use visual arts and drama to further explore urban
and rural life.
• Introduce the following scenario: John has decided to
move from his city apartment to a home in rural Mexico
or Ontario. What changes or differences will John
notice in his life by moving from an urban to a rural
Interdependence is rooted in shared beliefs, values and responsibilities. It encourages citizens, communities,
and countries to recognize the contributions to and from others to achieve a simple, common goal. As part
of this culminating task, students will synthesize their understanding of “interdependence” by demonstrating
and reflecting on their ability to “make a difference” in their school, local, and/or global community.
Use newspaper articles to introduce and explore examples of “enabling” among and within
Generate realistic ways that students can make a difference about school, local, or global issues.
As a whole class, organize a school-wide penny or pop can drive. Donate monies raised towards a
local community organization, i.e., Habitat for Humanity.
Literacy Connections:
Grade Two:
Show students a newspaper article about logging
in rural Mexico. How does logging in Mexico
affect Canadians? What can we do to make a
difference in Ontario? Generate a list of ways to
impact change in Mexico.
Discuss how change can occur by raising
awareness locally, (create a school flyer or
announcement, write to the local newspaper), or
globally, (write a persuasive letter to the Mexican
and/or Canadian government).
Grade Three:
Discuss ways that urban and rural communities enable
each other.
Design a brochure or television commercial for
someone from another country or province who is
thinking about coming to Ontario. Highlight the key
features of living in both urban and rural Ontario. Also,
explore how these two communities enable each
other to provide services and resources within the
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Interdependence

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Interdependence, responsibility, citizenship.
Students will:
• Explain the interdependence or balance that exists between and among
living things and recognize the impact of their actions on the local
• Be aware of and think critically about important issues within the local and
global community;
• Assess the role of humans in maintaining a healthy environment; and
• Demonstrate citizenship and personal responsibility by recognizing when
and how they can “make a difference”, particularly in protecting and caring
for the natural world.
Guiding Questions:
• What do all living things need?
• Why are living things important?
• What role does earth, air, and water play in sustaining living things?
• How might the world be different if earth, air, or water became
• What can you do to show that you care for respect living things and the
Curriculum Expectations:
Grade One
Grade Two
Grade Three
Basic needs of living
Characteristics of plants
and animals.
Care for the natural world,
i.e., recycling programs.
The effects of daily and
seasonal cycles on living
Properties and uses of air/
water and its impact on
living things.
Characteristics of animals.
Components and uses of soil and
its impact on living things.
Characteristics of plants.
First Nations’ value and use of
natural resources.

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Choices, awareness, impact, accessibility, responsibility, safety, hygiene
Students will:
• Develop, maintain, and enjoy healthy lifestyles;
• Solve problems, make decisions, and set goals that are directly related to personal health and
• Explain how the environment and community affects the ways that people meet their health,
fitness and basic personal needs;
• Recognize the impact of poor lifestyle choices on the local community; and
• Raise awareness about and support for healthy living in the wider community.
Guiding Questions:
• How are individuals, families, and the community affected by poor lifestyle choices?
• What role does the local community play in providing healthy lifestyle choices?
• How does access to healthy options affect your lifestyle choices?
• What might you do to raise awareness about the importance of healthy living in your community?
Curriculum Expectations:
Senior Kindergarten
Grade One
Effects of healthy living and benefits of nutritious
foods and personal hygiene.
Safe and potentially unsafe situations.
Making responsible, informed choices to develop,
maintain, and enjoy healthy, safe lifestyles.
Substances that are harmful to the body.
Healthy eating habits and the benefits of good oral
Safety risks and safe practices.
Stages in human development.
Commonly used medicines and household

A Teacher’s Guide to Combined Grades
Plan for Learning - Sample Primary Unit Plan
Instructional Focus: Diversity, perspective, interrelationships, enabling
Students will:
• Appreciate, respect and celebrate the diversity that exists within individuals, families,
schools, and the wider local and global community;
• Recognize the similarities that are common among different cultures and communities;
• Examine information critically to recognize and evaluate different points of view; and
• Explore the relationships and interrelationships between individuals, groups, and society.
Guiding Questions:
• How do communities enable and interact with each other on a regular basis?
• How do relationships, rules, and responsibilities change over time?
• What similarities do all humans share with each other?
• How does perspective-taking help you better understand an individual, group, or
Curriculum Expectations:
Grade One
Grade Two
Identify relationships, rules, and
responsibilities at home, school, and in the
local community.
The importance of rules, responsibilities and
relationships in their daily lives.
Changes in relationships and rules over time
and in different places.
How people interact with their surroundings
to meet their basic needs.
Features and characteristics of communities
around the world.
Communities are made up of many cultures
origins and features of a variety of families.
Similarities and differences between lifestyles in
other countries.
Influences of the global community in the local