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Identifying Family Memories

This modelling the tools is incorporated into critical challenges at grade 1, however, it can be adapted for use at all grade levels.


Session One

Evoke student memories.

  • Give each group of two or three students the object you have selected to stimulate their recollection of memories. Ask students to close their eyes and see if the smell, sound or touch makes a picture in their mind. Pose the following questions to extend students' thinking:
    • When did you hear/smell/feel this?
    • Does it make you think of a person or a place?
    • Who is there?
    • What are you doing?
    • How do you feel?

Share memories.

  • Ask students who were reminded of something to share their memory with the class. Create a web of students' responses. Leave space in the centre of the web to print the label for this web. Discuss why the sense(s) may not make everyone think of something or why students thought of different experiences. (Perhaps, they had no experience with that sound or had a different experience.) If helpful, repeat this exercise with another object/other objects that evoke(s) different senses.

Define memories.

  • Refer to the ideas in the web created above and ask students what we call things that we remember. Introduce the term "memories" and develop with students an initial definition of a memory (e.g., something you remember). Record the title "Our Memories" at the centre of the web.

Read story.

  • Introduce the book, Wilfred Gordon McDonald Partridge by Mem Fox (see References). In this story, Miss Nancy and a boy named Wilfred Gordon are good friends. When Miss Nancy, who lives in a seniors' home, "loses her memory" Wilfred tries to discover what memories are so he can help her find her memory. As you read the story, ask students to find out how Wilfred learned about memories.

Discuss memories in story.

  • Following a reading of the story, ask students how the people in the stories described memories; e.g., "makes you cry," "makes you laugh". Discuss the meaning of phrases such as "precious as gold" and "something warm." Develop students' sense of the range of emotions (feelings) connected to memories.

Identify feelings about memories.

  • Revisit the pictures of Miss Nancy's memories. Create a web titled "Miss Nancy's Memories." Recall the objects and the associated memory. Brainstorm the feelings that might be attached to those memories. Create a list of feeling words that describe memories; e.g., happy, funny, sad, proud, frustrating. Revisit the web of student memories created earlier, and identify and record feelings that might be associated with students' memories.

Refine definition of memories.

  • Revisit the definition of memory developed prior to reading the story. Ask students if they want to add anything to the definition.

Generate school memories.

  • Invite students to think of memories they might have as a class, such as a fun fair. Print the school event and the associated feeling on the board; e.g., fun fair––happy. Ask the class if this is a happy memory for everyone. If someone had been sick and could not go, then it might be a sad memory for that person. Generate additional school memories. For each memory, record the feelings associated with that memory. Discuss with students that the same event can create a different memory for different people.

Anticipate the next session.

  • Remind students that they will be making a memory box. Suggest that students try to remember things they have done with their families.
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Last updated: July 1, 2014 | (Revision History)
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