The Fourth R English Program provides Grade 9 to 12 students with instruction on violence, unhealthy sexual behaviour, and substance use. 

Opportunities to Develop Skills

The teaching strategies expand students’ understanding of effective communication, problem-solving, and decision making. Students are asked to share their ideas in small groups, larger groups, and whole-class discussions. Some exercises are designed to be done individually, while others involve collaboration with classmates.

 

Grade 9 English

The Grade 9 English program was developed as a Book Club unit with seven whole-class lessons, as well as extension and small group activities that incorporate ways to develop character education, critical literacy skills, and critical thinking skills.

The focus of this program is on topics such as bullying, personal relationships, peer and dating violence, substance use, and high-risk behaviours. Designed to address many key subject-specific learning expectations, the program supports a balanced-literacy English classroom and contains over 120 pages on learning strategies, activities, rubrics, and innovative methods for teaching about healthy relationships.

How Do Book Clubs Work?
  • Students choose books from a range of teacher-provided selections
  • Small, temporary reading groups (usually 4-5 students) are formed based on book selection
  • Students read on their own and as part of their group
  • Reading groups meet in class on a regular schedule in order to discuss their reading
  • To organize and facilitate the group meeting, specific roles and accompanying tasks are assigned to each student
  • Group members maintain notes on their learning, working collaboratively to analyse and respond to the selected texts
  • The teacher acts as a facilitator, managing group organization, time allocations, monitoring progress, and planning and assessing consolidating and culminating assessments
Sample Lesson Plans:
 

Grade 10 English

This 30-lesson unit is based on six short stories and focuses on issues related to violence, bullying, sexuality, and substance use; gang-related issues are also explored. All of these issues have been identified by youth as problems they are facing and all fit within the triad of risk behaviours – violence, sexual behaviour, and substance use – that is the central focus Fourth R programming. Since the short stories are about issues important to youth, the stories provide a starting point for reading, thinking, talking, and writing about these topics. 

Topics and Approximate Length
  • Story 1: Cyber Bullying (5 periods)
  • Story 2: Gangs (6 periods)
  • Story 3: Substance Use & Self-Image (4 periods)
  • Story 4: Relationships (5 periods)
  • Story 5: Social Acceptance (6 periods)
  • Story 6: Making Healthy Choices (4 periods)

A Catholic Perspectives version of this program is available, which is consistent with Catholic beliefs and includes suggested bible passages and prayers that align with the teachings of the Fourth R.

Samples:
 

Grade 11 English

This program is designed to work with both university and college/essential levels. The program consists of five non-fiction modules with a variety of lessons to address media violence, bullying, dating violence, and substance use and abuse. Each of these issues has been identified by youth as problems they are facing, and they fit within the triad of risk behaviours – violence, sexual behaviour, and substance use – that is the central focus Fourth R programming. Since the content in the program is about issues important to youth, the lessons provide a starting point for reading, thinking, talking, and writing about these topics. 

Topics
  • Media Violence
  • Bullying
  • Dating Violence
  • Substance Use & Abuse
Samples:
 

Grade 12 English

The Grade 12 English program was developed in a book club format. The themes and topics of the novels selected for this unit – which are explored in the reading, writing, speaking, listening, and thinking activities – relate to healthy relationships and decision-making relevant to youth. Important topics such as bullying, personal relationships, peer and dating violence, and high-risk behaviours are included as part of the content in this unit. The activities also relate to character education, critical literacy, and critical thinking skills important to improving student learning in the subject area. At the same time, the lessons are designed to support a balanced-literacy English classroom and to address many key subject-specific learning expectations. 

A variety of reading levels in the texts, combined with an assortment of exercises and follow-up activities, allow the teacher to differentiate the instruction and the performance expectations for each students. 

How Do Book Clubs Work?
  • Students choose books from a range of teacher-provided selections
  • Small, temporary reading groups (usually 4-5 students) are formed based on book selection
  • Students read on their own and as part of their group
  • Reading groups meet in class on a regular schedule in order to discuss their reading
  • To organize and facilitate the group meeting, specific roles and accompanying tasks are assigned to each student
  • Group members maintain notes on their learning, working collaboratively to analyse and respond to the selected texts
  • The teacher acts as a facilitator, managing group organization, time allocations, monitoring progress, and planning and assessing consolidating and culminating assessments
Sample Lesson:
 

 

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