By Zoe Flatman
Imagine a suite of free, inquiry-based, teacher-tested, comprehensively researched lesson plans with all of the components needed to use immediately in your English, French, or Language-Learner classes. Imagine resources designed for your Civics, History, Geography or Social Science classroom; including Indigenous history and perspectives to meet the revised curriculum. Now imagine an experienced teacher coach who is there to work with you in using those resources with your students. It may sound too good to be true, but Elections Canada has done just that. EC has developed the resources, with clear Teacher Guides, all of the background information for teachers, and hands-on materials needed for a complete classroom, and is piloting a new program with an educational consultant in the GTA.
We know that teachers are always looking for quality resources and ideas to bring fresh learning to their classrooms and free resources abound. The challenge for educators is the time and space needed to preview and plan how and where to use them, figure out how much time it will take to use them and to be sure that they are furthering inquiry-based learning and the use of disciplinary thinking concepts. Our goal is to not simply get the lessons into the hands of teachers, but to support teachers in using the resources with students and to help educators move their inquiry goals forward.
As a classroom teacher of over 25 years, I have worked with thousands of students and dozens of colleagues. My experience in teaching is what I can bring to your board, school, or classroom. I have already begun presenting workshops to teacher groups, and have visited classrooms to help co-teach these lessons in the GTA. I will bring the kits, work with you to prepare and even help in your classroom, if you would like, as you put these ideas into action prior to you ordering them for future classes. I don’t want you to have another resource that sits on a shelf; I want to bring these great lessons to life for you and your students.
We have lessons that include diverse perspectives such as Voting Rights Through Time: Exploring Issues of Inclusion Since 1867 which poses the question, “How inclusive is our democracy?” Students explore voting through primary source case studies of women, Japanese Canadians, and youth since Confederation and think critically utilizing a timeline with attitude.
Civic Action: Then and Now, Analyzing a Model for Active Citizenship Through Historical Case Studies explores ways that anyone can become engaged and involved in societal change. The case studies included look at the steps that women took to get the vote as well as some of the actions taken to get Aboriginal and Treaty Rights included in Canada’s Constitution in 1982. This case study is particularly important as we move to address the TRC calls to include First Nations, Inuit, and Metis history and perspectives into our classrooms in meaningful ways.
Other rich resources include:
Does Voting Matter?: Experiencing the effects of voting
Elections by the Numbers: Interpreting data on voter turnout
Geography of Elections: Understanding ridings as electoral communities
I am here to support the use of all of these lessons in your classroom. Just as engaging students in civic issues and discourse is necessary for a healthy democracy in the future, supporting teachers in this work will ensure that future electors have the tools they need to make informed decisions.
Whether you are just beginning to develop an inquiry based classroom, or are looking for a launch pad to take inquiry and disciplinary thinking concepts further, we want to support you. We don’t just want you to order these great resources; we want to support you in using them in your classroom wherever you are in your journey in inquiry based learning.
Please visit electionsanddemocracy.ca to view the downloadable pdf versions of all resources, or to order your classroom kit shipped anywhere in Ontario free of charge. For information about workshops/PD/ Teacher coaching in the greater GTA, please contact me at: firstname.lastname@example.org
Zoe Flatman has been seconded to Elections Canada. She is a previous Skeoch Award winner at OHASSTA.