Editor’s Note: It’s time to start thinking about OHASSTA 2017 in Ottawa! Don’t miss our conference, Nov. 16 and 17, 2017. Here’s a reminder of what you can take home with you, from practical tips to inspiring thoughts.

By Rob Butters

Returning from Ottawa after a free visit to the War Museum early Saturday morning [in Nov. 2016], I was once again thinking “OHASSTA is the best History P.D. there is!”  What will I use?  What will I share?  Here’s a few of my thoughts:

  • Duff Conacher from Democracy Watch pointed out some great resources. These are ready-to-use templates to get Civics students actually doing the things that active citizens do.  I’ve recommended this website, and its companion to the Civics teachers at my school.
  • Voices into Action!  I’d heard of this before, but we saw the detailed program map for the free lessons they have available – topics for which there aren’t a lot of other resources (Komagata Maru Incident, The Bosnian War, The Boat People) 
  • Truth and Reconciliation – this was the big theme of the conference, as in “Whose Democracy?”  Michael Burgess got us thinking about “decolonizing Canada” with some great readings, including Chief Dan George’s “Lament for Confederation.”  From the acknowledgement of the land (Parliament Hill is unceded Algonquin territory) to several FNMI-themed workshops, figuring out how to teach about these issues is essential
  • I’ll probably never get to my class (from York Region) to the Diefenbunker, but I will take them to the website!  The Diefenbunker people surfaced in the publisher’s display area.  Cold War – cool stuff.
  • Working with John Piper is always a blast!  His enthusiasm for teaching and learning is so infectious.  Thanks, John! 


Democracy Education Network

Democracy Watch

Voices Into Action

Canada’s Cold War Museum

Rob Butters is head of history at Stouffville D.S.S. in York Region DSB.

Contributing Writer