Sunday, July 2, 2017

A Canadian History Resource for CLB 4 and Higher

Do you--or do your students--sometimes find history to be boring?

My class was anything but bored when we undertook the gargantuan task of studying the history of Canada beginning with the early migrations of the people we now refer to as First Nations and Inuit and ending at Confederation. We certainly could have kept going, but we were worn out!

The class was a multi-level seniors class, a group that loves to take things slowly and really delve deeply into the subject matter, not just memorize key dates for a test.

With their goals in mind, we decided to create a timeline. Each student took responsibility for one or two events, never racing ahead to historical events not yet covered in class. The timeline started out with a cluster of pictures at the far left end followed by a vast expanse of blank paper. Week by week, the learners sourced images, wrote captions, and decided where on the butcher paper to place their contributions.

Using tiny 3M Command® Hooks and equally tiny bulldog clips, we hung our very long timeline on the classroom wall near the ceiling. This allowed us to review what we'd learned in prior lessons while building on that knowledge as we inched our way through the decades. The photos you see here were snapped much later--after the project was concluded and the timeline was about to be rolled up and put away.

We took this series of units, which included reading a little book about Laura Secord, at our own pace. None of the seniors was in any hurry to pass an exam. They wanted the opportunity to acquire the related language and concepts--the knowledge.

For me the most fascinating chapter in our journey back in time was the unit we did on L'anse aux Meadows. I've shared about that on this blog before (December 2014), but I think it's worth sharing again now that I have a few more readers.

The centrepiece of our lesson was a rather long documentary about the national historic site L'anse aux Meadows. I found it fascinating. If you would like to watch the video and then take the Ted Ed lesson that I designed to accompany the video, you can do that HERE.

If you want to download the little quiz my students completed while watching the video, you can find it on my website under FREE - Settlement Themes - Canada.

If this blog post inspires you in any way, I hope you'll leave a comment.



  1. While not sleeping last night because of a health issue I thought to visit your history resource. This is a lovely thing. Your ideas/skills are presented well and are a great training ground for people like me who are constantly trying to improve their game. Like a little bit of "magic", or a good "brew" these homegrown materials are helping me cook up some ideas for the September Childcare class and the new school year. Just now, cooking up a rubric.

  2. Toni Lynn,
    Thank you so much for taking the time to let me know that some of these ideas are helping you cook up some of your own for the new school year. I feel grateful to have been given permission to 'adapt' PBLA to my seniors class. I honestly do not feel I could continue to pour this amount of love and energy into each lesson while simultaneously worrying about all the artefacts and assessments.
    As for TED Ed, it was great fun trying out the tool, but I think there are a lot of quizzing tools better suited for our classes. I want to check out the new and improved Hot Potatoes soon.
    Enjoy your summer! --K


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