By Risa Gluskin

At the annual OHASSTA conference, held in Ottawa from November 16 to 17, we challenged the past and faced the future – our theme. In 2017, during Canada 150+, we are in that interesting position of simultaneously looking in the mirror and charting a path forward.  If you couldn’t join us, here’s an overview.

NAMA Femme au miroir

Greek woman holding a mirror, 470-460 BCE,


Our first keynote speaker was Susan Delacourt, political columnist for the Toronto Star. She enlightened us with interesting stories about political figures past and present. She got the ball rolling on what I perceived as the other theme of the conference: fake news, or at least credibility of sources. Susan had some interesting remarks on the need for all sides in political debates to have an agreed upon set of facts.

By Risa Gluskin

This is post #3 in a series. See posts 1 and 2 if you'd like to catch up. 


Inquiry cogs

Historiography and Inquiry

One observation I’ve made in the past few years is that students do worse on the most content-heavy lessons. How do I know they “do” worse: Assessment as and for learning. My most content-heavy lessons are on the French Revolution. I cram 1789 to 1973 into four lessons, one of which is on feminist historiography and women’s contributions to the revolution. I have to admit that the first three lessons are more traditional and socrative than inquiry, though I weave in lots of role-playing throughout. I like my last lesson, however. In it I challenge students to think about whether women’s contributions to the revolution (such as the bread riots) should be taught separately from the revolution (as I do) or woven into the main lessons on the revolution. After telling my students that when I searched the books in our school library on the topic of women in the revolution I found nothing, I present the views of three feminist historians. Last year, my highly excitable class got really into this question and a great discussion resulted. This year, there was a little discussion. That may have been because we ran out of time. We didn’t even get to the primary source document: “Declaration of the Rights of Women” by Olympe de Gouges. In order to solve the problem, I put the de Gouges document on the quiz and came up with this question (which I really like):

By John Myers

grade 7

In the last blog post I outlined the project and the conditions under which the FNMI project was done. One of the messages was and still is to start somewhere and not let the challenges scare you into inaction. Experienced writers say that the blank page is the hardest step to overcome. This has certainly been the case for decades in all sorts of curriculum areas, including history and social science curriculum.

Another message is that we CAN do decent work. Once we start we get feedback and improve (assessment AS and FOR learning).

By Allan Hux

Editor's Note: the following is the full version of an article published in the paper edition of Rapport magazine in November, 2017.


I was invited to be a member of a panel on Confederation, Nationalism and Myth-Making at the University of Toronto History Department’s Conference for TDSB secondary school History students.  I spoke personally as an experienced secondary school teacher, author and curriculum developer.

Two of the academic historians on the panel thought that the teaching of history, and Confederation in particular, is being misused through myth-making and memorialization to promote nationalism and to exclude people form the historical narrative.

Sir John A Cdn Encyclopedia

Sir John A. Macdonald. The Canadian Encyclopedia

By Daniella Naumovski



Appropriate Terminology/Vocabulary when Discussing Indigenous People(s) in the Canadian History Classroom


80 minutes (2 class periods)



  1. Understand the significance of learning about Indigenous vocabulary and why we do it (its purpose)
  2. Identify the different ways in which Indigenous people would like to be referenced as or called
  3. Describe using the appropriate terminology the three main Indigenous groups in Canada, First Nations, Metis and Inuit, and know that they all have different beliefs and practices (non-homogenous) and that some would actually like to be called by their Indigenous nation like Mi’kmaq for example