Happy Canada Day! Even though we celebrate Canada on one special day, there are so many lesson ideas you could use to continue to learn about Canada throughout the month of July. Here are a few ideas I’ve come up with.
Use Heritage Minutes
When I got my first teaching position within ESL, I taught a course on Canadian perspectives. I absolutely loved teaching this course and having great discussions about historical and current social perspectives and context.
I jumped at the chance of purchasing the DVD collection of Historica Canada’s Heritage Minutes so I could use something more visual and engaging for my students. I still have these DVDs, but now their whole collection is available free through their website. They also have a radio minute section where it’s only audio if you want students to focus on listening. The website contains lesson guides for many of the minutes and you can search by category.
There are many stories about immigration and even though the time period is different, some of those emotional experiences are still relevant. In one lesson, I had the students pretend they were from that time and write a letter back home, talking about their experiences and life in Canada. When I received the assignments, I realised that many of the students wrote letters about their own current experiences. The next day, we talked about the assignment, and students said they found it helpful to write down what they were going through. I realised this was a valuable experience for them, and it opened up many conversations in the classroom.
What’s Your Canada?
There is a site called Here’s My Canada which was created to celebrate Canada’s 150th. Canadians from around the country submitted videos to talk about what Canada means to them.
In your classroom, have students discuss in pairs, groups, or as a class what they think of when they think Canada. Then, give them time to do a personal reflection of what Canada means to them and have them present this to the class. You could have them take pictures of what they think represents their idea of Canada.
As an extension, have students talk about what they thought Canada was before moving here and if there are differences between the pre and post move.
Do you have any ideas or activities that you will be using in your classroom to celebrate and learn about Canada?