By Rachel Collishaw

My word for 2020 so far is collaboration. It looks like it’s going to figure big in OHASSTA this year as we work together within our association, with other subject associations and with the larger history and social science networks of teachers and professionals across the country.

While the labour situation in Ontario looks anything but collaborative, we are going to continue to work together to support our students and each other as we stand together for public education. As history and social science teachers, I believe we have a special place in tumultuous times as we help our students understand the social forces at work and examine multiple perspectives in our law, civics, politics, economics, history and social science classrooms.

If you were at our fall conference, you’ll know that we are collaborating with Dr. Sandra Lapointe at McMaster University and we are ready to pilot The Collaborative, an online platform that will help to connect you with post-secondary experts in social science and the humanities. We are looking for teachers who are interested in participating in the pilot this spring. You can participate in any of the following ways to support the inquiry process in your classroom:

  1. Background - are you looking to consult with a subject expert to find out what’s going on in their field?
  2. Questioning - do you want an expert to give feedback on your students’ subject-specific inquiry questions?
  3. Gathering - do you want an expert to provide insight into student-developed inquiries?
  4. Drafting - do you want an expert to provide feedback to your students on a draft or prototype?
  5. Producing - do you want an expert to judge and provide final feedback on your students’ products?

Contact me directly at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. to let me know if you are interested.

We are also partnering with The Korean Cultural Centre in Canada to produce new document sets on a variety of historical and cultural topics related to Korea. We are just at the beginning of this process, but we are excited to see where it goes.

As you may remember, OHASSTA is now a member-association of the new Social Studies Educators’ Network of Canada (SSENC). On behalf of SSENC, I will be at a ceremony later this week to launch the 70th anniversary of the Korean War project that will involve close work with Senator Yonah Martin, the American Korean War Legacy Foundation and the Korean War Veterans of Canada Foundation. I’m excited to see where this partnership will take us, and I look forward to sharing more details with you all soon.


By: Sara Karn


This spring and summer, the Enrichment Studies Unit (ESU) at Queen’s University is once again offering opportunities for students in grades 7-12 to experience university life. An exciting, new history course explores the local history of Kingston by visiting historic sites, monuments, and museums that will encourage students to think critically about Canada’s past. The course will consider a range of topics, such as war and society, commemoration, crime and incarceration, Indigenous peoples, and popular culture. Students will have hands-on opportunities to examine primary sources, create their own artifacts, and debate controversial topics of today. In this experiential learning course students will “travel through time” to learn more about the past, present, and future of the Limestone City!


Please share your ideas, lessons, reflections with Rapport readers by submitting blog posts to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.


By Zoe Flatman

My predecessor at Rapport, Risa Gluskin, chronicled her journey to revise and update her teaching and assessment practices. In that spirit, I wanted to share some of my thinking around my journey to revamp assessment and evaluation in my CIA4U classes.  As a subject that contains a fair bit of theory, how can students really show not just comprehension, but application and competency that extends beyond just the “theoretical problem sets”, formulae and graphs?

In an effort to improve assessment and evaluation I have been experimenting with moving away from traditional evaluation tools (read “The Test”) in my Grade 12 Economics classes and instead incorporating global competencies into formal evaluation. So what does that mean?  For me it means evaluating students in more collaborative, critical thinking and problem solving ways that require application of global citizenship characteristics. Okay, that sounds fancy and all, but what does it actually look like?  Simply put, instead of giving an “essay question” on a test, students work in small groups to discuss an issue related to the curriculum.  Groups can be given different issues so that the responses require critical thinking and application of the concepts learned. This leads to more variety and prevents listening to other groups and copying ideas.  They are recorded using department iPads and a free voice recording app.  I then listen to the recordings and students are evaluated on content, as well as assessed for the above competencies.  This can be followed by a written reflection using prompts which help to gauge individual student learning.

landscapes of injustice

Landscapes of Injustice Teacher Field School

  • Are you an intermediate or secondary school teacher?
  • Would you like to travel and meet with teachers from across Canada?
  • Would you like to learn more about the internment and dispossession of Japanese Canadians in the 1940s?
  • Would you like to learn about history from experts in the field and internment survivors?
  • Do you like visiting historic sites in engaging locations?
  • Would like to receive cutting edge educational resources and access to rich archival materials?

If you answered yes to any of the above then you are a candidate for an innovative and ground breaking field school opportunity for teachers hosted by the University of Victoria and the Nikkei National Museum.

This July you can attend a two-week field school that includes a 1-week tour of internment sites in British Columbia and 1-week of intensive and interactive learning at the University of Victoria.

ALL TRAVEL (from anywhere in Canada), ACCOMMODATION, TOUR, AND REGISTRATION costs will be covered by generous bursaries to successful applicants. Field school attendees need only cover meal costs and incidentals. Successful applicants can choose to enroll for credit at the University of Victoria.



By John Myers

It's a new year, and in many cases the end of one semester and the beginning of another. This is a good time to reflect on what went well, what could be better and how to improve. If incorporating more recognition of our diversity in course content* is your goal, parts one and two in this series offer choices based on clear criteria and online examples to make simple but powerful changes, while recognizing the challenges in any curriculum change. For example, our "household curriculum" has its challenges when it comes to waste management when we try to incorporate some of the many languages spoken and written in the greater Toronto area (https://www.cbc.ca/news/canada/toronto/lost-in-translation-2020-waste-management-calendar-1.5400004).  News media all too often presents stories related to diversity dealing with challenges, though you can also find media stories of accomplishments. The latter is often underreported.

We continue our resource quest with examples of online, free, and bilingual work that you can "plug and play" to some extent. All of these are familiar to you and you may have used some of them. These are at a more complex level of implementation thought their surface familiarity may already provide you with a foundation of understanding that will help you and your students.

Historica https://www.historicacanada.ca/ is a portal for you to look for all sorts of classrooms opportunities through useful contents, lessons and units, "Heritage Minutes" that can spur inquiry and visits from people who have gone through the process of immigrating to Canada. Passages to Canada, one path from Historica offers a portal to resources and ideas to support curriculum changes in all CWS and SS&Hs courses grades 7-12.