This year, our persuasive writing unit fulfills Grade 4 and 5 curriculum expectations in Writing, Grade 4 expectations in the Science strand “Habitats and Communities,” and Grade 5 expectations in the Social Studies strand “First Nations Heritage and Identity” (turtle symbolism). The intention of our letters is to help establish a new turtle hospital, just south of Orillia.
We consulted with Jeff Hathaway, owner/operator of Scales Nature Park, and sponsor of the new Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital about how we could be of assistance. He sent us a list of items that are needed to help customize an existing building on the Scales property, for use as a turtle hospital. Students set about the task of learning about Ontario turtles, their status (seven out of eight species of Ontario turtles are now considered "at risk"), and how a turtle hospital can help. We then penned letters to local hardware stores, explaining the issues and how these businesses can help a new the turtle hospital become a reality.
Here are some of the background resources we consulted:
- Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital
- Algonquin Provincial Park: Ontario Turtles at Risk
- Ontario Ministry of Natural Resources: Turtles at Risk
- Ojibway Creation Story: Turtle Island
- Janice Longboat, Turtle Clan, Mohawk Nation: Turtle as Calendar
- Incredible World Canada: Ultimate Turtle Survival Game
We then created success criteria for the letter writing project:
Here are students, writing their letters and checking them to make sure they fulfill our success criteria:
These are some of the finished products:
We hope our letters will persuade local business owners to help the Georgian Bay Turtle Hospital!
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