• Shawna

“The Rainbow War”: Establishing Collaboration in a Multi-grade Learning Pod

We are blessed with homeschooling friends who have kids the same age as our girls. We have made the commitment to get together one day a week so the kids can work together and play together.

Emphasis on the work together.

The night before they came over for our first day hosting, I was trying to figure out how four kids, grade 3 through 6, could come together and move through the day in sync?

The ‘Rainbow War’ is the perfect read aloud to discuss teamwork.

I started the day by giving the kids freedom and flexibility to play whatever felt good for about an hour. When these kids are in the same room, their imaginations are firing on all cylinders and the make-believe games, drama games and crafting takes over the house! A read aloud was naturally the most effective option to harness their energy.

The Rainbow War is a 15-minute story that moves through the aftermath from a bolt of lightening in a summer thunderstorm striking the rainbow and splitting it apart into individual beams of light. Each colour has its own personality and agenda. Some creativity and luck is required in order to restore it to its fully in-tact form.

How does a rainbow connect to multi-grade learning?

For starters, each kid has their own skills, talents, and abilities, just like each colour of the rainbow in the story. Unique characteristics can support and complement the others. Before I read the story, I asked the each of the kids which colour they would be if they were a colour in the rainbow. This prompt gave them each something to focus on while listening. During the story, they were comparing and contrasting the behaviours of their chosen colours to what they would do if they were in the same situation.

Additionally, rainbows are built layer by layer. So I was able to use this analogy to pair the kids up and have them support each other. For example, the youngest learner paired up with the oldest while we did some writing so they could receive spelling support. And out of the two middle aged learner pairing, one was extremely vocal and the other more reserved, so they were able to brainstorm creative topic sentences in this fun paragraph building bundle.

How did the day go?

Well, the kids all said they wished we could get together more than once a week!

As for what we explored during our learning time? We broke down the basics of a good paragraph and focused on creating captivating topic sentences. We also conducted a simple science experiment to reinforce our knowledge and application of the scientific method to do a snow science experiment from STEAM Powered Family. I LOVE this site for exciting, easy-to-execute curriculum-based activities, and highly recommend you sign up for her newsletters as she often has excellent bundle deals. (Not affiliated with STEAM Powered family in any way).

Do you have a homeschool pod? If so, I’d love to know what works for you when you’re working with kids of different ages and grades.

Rainbow War Discussion Questions:

Before the story:

If you were a colour of the rainbow, which colour would you be any why?

1. Do you think that Storm Cloud, Lightning and Thunder Bolt wanted to split apart the rainbow?

2. What made each colour want to do their own thing?

3. Why do you think the rainbow separating was a good thing?

4. Why do you think the rainbow separating was NOT a good thing?

5. What was the most significant consequence of the Rainbow War?


READ ALOUD TIME: 15 minutes

FORMAT: Read-aloud

DESCRIPTION: When a rainbow suddenly finds itself separated into seven individual beams of light, the world is torn into chaos. Will the rainbow realize its better together or fight for independence?

GENRE: magic realism


TOPIC: community

THEMES/KEYWORDS: rainbow, red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet, storm, cloud, thunder, lightening, battle, independence, chaos, havoc, change, collaboration, apology, reunited

PROTAGONIST 1: rainbow




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