These last two weeks for my ECS 300 field placement I have done a two part lesson tying O Canada together with Remembrance Day. These lessons helped me to learn a lot about what it means to teach from the students perspective. To begin the conversation I showed this video from the Oilers playoff run a couple years back:
I used this to discuss what feelings of nationalism can feel like and to begin a discussion on what O Canada can mean to different groups of people. After some discussion time I then showed the students a video of First Nations Veterans talking about their experiences in World War II. I used this video in particular because of a discussion we had in class a couple of days earlier where Joanna Landry from the Office of the Treaty Commissioner came in to talk about the importance of incorporating First Nations content into our lessons. I thought this was a perfect opportunity to do so and the students were all very interested.
After this video we had some more time for discussion and then I told them to keep the idea in mind that different people have different perspectives when it comes to Canada’s anthem/ Canada. The next week in class we began with a discussion where many of the students said that they were more mindful during O Canada of other groups sacrifices for their freedom. I then introduced an assignment which took the rest of the class.
For this assignment I divided the national anthem into individual lines and randomly distributed them amongst the class. The students then drew a picture of what that line represented/ made them feel. I told them there was no right or wrong answer which they seemed to struggle initially with this but in the end they all did a great job. My plan now is to use a digital storytelling tool to combine their pictures into their own version of O Canada.
A couple of things I learned with these lessons:
– It’s important to understand the students perspective. For example not many of them were old enough to remember the Oilers playoff run. I just assumed that it was common knowledge but found myself having to go back and kind of set the stage when I received a bunch of blank stares.
– Also these students had a hard time just expressing what they felt on paper. I encouraged them to brain storm and gently nudged them in the right direction but as a teacher it is important, I think, to scaffold some of the skills required for this kind of exercise beforehand.
-Classroom management is so important. I don’t think I could of gotten through this lesson just starting out because I didn’t have the classroom management skills that I needed. As my classroom management gets better, I find it easier to make a connection between the material and my students.
Here’s my lesson plans from the last two weeks: