By Rachel Collishaw 

In the summer of 2017, I was one of the chaperones on the Beaverbrook Vimy Prize trip - a remarkable experience funded by the Vimy Foundation and open to exceptional students from across Canada, England and France, through a rigorous application process. Over two weeks we had many moving and sad experiences in cemeteries and at museums and monuments in England, France and Belgium. We asked questions constantly, and developed our historical thinking through conversation with each other, and with historians and museum curators, by engaging with monuments and cemeteries and unpacking their histories and purposes.


Rachel photo1

The Beaverbrook Vimy Prize recipients at Noyelles-Sur-Mer cemetery, August 16, 2017. Photo by Rachel Collishaw

By Rachel Collishaw

February 10, 2018

While February in Ontario is often described as a month to “just get through,” I always feel a sense of new beginnings and anticipation. As the days get longer, and the weather warms just a little, I feel pulled to get outside a little more, and to start anticipating spring and summer. For those of us in semestered schools, we have new students and everyone gets a bit of a fresh start or at least a do-over.

Important new changes are coming for History teachers, as the Ministry of Education has finalized the first phase of curriculum revisions in response to the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s Calls to Action. These are going to be affecting the mandatory history courses in grades 4-10. School boards will be bringing the learning to you this spring, and the curriculum will be published officially in March, for implementation in September. You can get a sneak peek at the pre-publication documents here: I, along with several members of OHASSTA, as well as many Indigenous partners and educators from the FNMIEAO were involved in writing, reviewing and making recommendations for resource development. Grade 7-8 teacher and new member of the OHASSTA executive, Raman Sarai will blog about her experience writing team next month.

Your OHASSTA executive is busy already planning for our annual conference in the fall, which will be in the Toronto area - dates and location are being finalized as I write this. We are partnering with the Association for Canadian Studies again this year, and we will have speakers, workshops and panels on a more national scope, so it’s going to be a great year to come. We are inviting keynote speakers and planning our learning together around the theme: The Next 150. We’re hoping that you’ll consider submitting a workshop proposal in the coming months to share the innovations and exciting things that you’re trying in your own classrooms.

We’re also busy planning to offer summer institutes with OTF. These are free 3-day sessions (accommodation and other expenses included!) that are offered in various locations across the province. Last summer we offered a workshop on Blended Inquiry in Niagara, and we’re hoping to have more topics and locations this summer to learn together with your OHASSTA friends, and make new friends across the province. You can subscribe to the OTF newsletter to stay up-to-date on all their offerings from K-12, and of course we’ll keep you updated on our particular offerings here on the Rapport blog, on Twitter and our Facebook page.

Wishing you a very happy February!


Rachel Collishaw is President of OHASSTA.

Risa Gluskin e-interviewed Timothy Grove in January, 2018. 


OHASSTA endorsed History Relevance’s Values of History statement.

tim with world cruiser copy

Tim with Douglas World Cruiser Chicago, National Air and Space Museum, Washington, D.C. Courtesy of Tim Grove,


What got you interested in history after starting out in journalism and public relations?

I loved history from a young age, I think because my parents took me to historic sites and my active imagination could see history taking place. I didn’t originally study history in college because I didn’t want to go into formal education. I didn’t know about the field of public history. I’ve learned that a foundation in writing and PR serves me well in my history work.

By Mike Clare

Canadians have a certain smugness, we know more about the history of our neighbour than our neighbour knows about us.  Do we?  American history, generally yes that statement holds true; we know more American history than Americans know about Canadian history.  Our knowledge of our southern neighbour is better then our southern neighbour’s knowledge of us. Equality is evident in the awareness of The Spanish Flu. What of our immediate eastern neighbour? What do we know of Danish history?   If it were 1914 the question could be rephrased: what do we know of Newfoundland and Labrador’s history?  And still going east in 1914 Greenland, Iceland, and Denmark; what do we know of our eastern neighbours’ history? What patterns are similar?

Norway flu graves Nat Geo blog

Spanish Flu graves in Norway.


By Risa Gluskin

The Inquiry BBC

BBC,  The Inquiry,


In becoming an inquiry teacher I find it crucial to have explicit goals. I may not achieve them in each lesson but they are strongly in my mind throughout (or I write them down so I don’t forget)!

While some of my goals are course specific, nowadays I’m aiming for more of them to be pedagogical in nature.  In particular I’m trying to incorporate the cognitive learning cycle which I wrote about in my last inquiry blog post. In following the brain’s natural pathways for learning, the cycle suggests that teachers should make less input and allot more time for students to analyze, reflect, do and test.

It is in the last stage of the cycle that I wish to make the most progress this semester. This means I’ll have to plan very carefully. Here I’ll use an analogy from closet-cleaning: for every new item in, one has to go out. Want to use a new primary source document? Take something out. Want to add a new civilization? Take something out from an old one. This will leave room for students to do more heavy cognitive lifting. In world history classes, especially at the beginning of the course in the pre-writing stage of our past, students are constantly making inferences and interpretations. I must force myself to give them time to go back and assess the quality of their initial inferences.

Less cram and cover, more selection and careful consideration. Follow my experiences in the next blog post in this series in March.