By Kelly MacKay and Andrea Kerr 

The following is an abridged version of a blog post originally from The Beast, June 16, 2018 https://thebeastedu.com/2018/06/16/history-lives/

 the beat

 

SketchSketchnote by @andCreative

 

When it is the dark days of data analysis and you are in a basement room at the board office for days on end and an old friend invites you to listen and watch her students live history, you go.  You never once pretend the data means more and you go.

 

Grade 10 history, at a small local high school in Prince Edward County changed me.  I went, I watched, I listened and I rubbed elbows with living history, history as it was being uncovered and history as it was being lived and breathed by students who are supposed to understand very little of the purpose of history.  As it happens they are the only way it will evolve and become what it should…their culture and identity and who they will know to be their predecessors, change makers, innovators and glass ceiling breakers.  At 15 they hold what is dear to many and do it with reverence and grace.  Yes, you drop everything as an educator and you run towards this.

By Risa Gluskin

lullaby

 

If there’s one thing I want my students to remember, it’s that they shouldn’t always believe what they see, hear, or read. This year I changed up my icebreaker again (see last year’s post on Teacher in a Box). After doing Teacher in a Box, I played a 5- minute audio clip from This is That. If you’re familiar with the satirical CBC radio program, you’ll get the connection right away. Most of my students didn’t know what they were listening to when they heard “Canadian lullaby writer has proudly put thousands to sleep with his music.”

By Risa Gluskin

Cortes book

Here’s a contrast: I have been carrying around a perfectly relevant history book all summer. It traces the history of the so-called Spanish conquest of the Aztec people. I have barely put a dent in it despite lugging it to all my appointments, on the subway, even to BC. On the other hand, I recently read an entire book in one day, a book that his little historical relevance at all! Granted, it was raining all day and I was stuck in a hotel in Lagoon City waiting for the rain to clear so my husband and I could continue our bike trip around Lake Simcoe!

By Victoria Piroian

Harry Potter quote redone 

It has been said that those who know the past can predict the future. As humans repeat their mistakes over and over again, we start to see patterns in our beliefs, the ways we solve problems, and our way of life. We can see this in the written works of famous historians. Though it plays a huge role in how billions of people around the world understand our modern society, as well as the way of thinking, that has gotten us here, it all starts from schools. Schools educate youth on history and its importance, and in turn, change the way they write and understand what they read. I have studied the history of humanity in school, and on my own. As a student, I can see the ways in which it changed how I write and interpret what I read. Understanding, and being able to create context, is one of the most important roles of historical education in the international community, which is why we must delve deeper, and make sure we completely understand why.

By Risa Gluskin

mastodon 1600

Photo courtesy of Val Dodge.

 

This summer in British Columbia I came face to face with a mastodon!

 

Not a living one but an ode to one, a life-size artist’s rendering made out of driftwood by Guthrie Gloag. This incredible work of art is entitled “Mourn.” Halfway up a forested mountain (or what seems halfway up a mountain) in a supposedly secret location on Bowen Island, Gloag has recreated a member of an extinct species. It was a jaw-dropping moment as I climbed up one last very steep section to reveal a clearing in which a mastodon was proudly standing atop an outcrop of rock. After being there for about 45 minutes, taking the requisite family photos, I enjoyed the look on the next surprised visitor’s face! Awe.