By creating a lasting memory of their interpretation of the Canadian identity, students synthesize their previous learning as they investigate the social and cultural fabric of our nation. Within the unit, students meet further examples of how the nation’s identity was formed, its economic foundations, and most importantly, its social relevance on the world stage. Students examine the ways in which Canada’s relationship with Great Britain and the United States has changed over time and the impact of that change on the nation. The role of the Catholic faith within the development of this national identity is clearly examined and students are able to place themselves, as Catholics, into the Canadian mosaic. The culminating activity serves as the final assignment in the unit as well as the course and involves the preparation of a newsletter reflecting the various identity issues studied in the course.
Teachers should constantly point out various individuals who have contributed to the creation of our country’s identity so that students have a list of names of famous Canadians before they reach this point in the course. Students should also reach this point with a sense of how Canada and Canadians have helped in the establishment and development of peace in the world. Students should have examples ready to show how we are defined, not only by what we think of ourselves, but by our actions and how others perceive us.
Unit Planning Notes
Ensure that a variety of books and other resources are available in the classroom or students may go to the Library/Resource Centre; however, given the time restrictions, it may be easier to bring the resources to the class. It also means you can prepare for the activities whenever you have time to do so. (See Resources for the unit.)
Prepare a blank timeline for use in Activity 3.
Prepare your own list of famous Canadians as a starting point. Also consider writing a separate list of Canadian inventions and inventors.
Review the special needs of any of your students and review the Accommodations for the activities. Prepare as necessary.
Collect various videos (see Resources for the Unit).
Find the CRTC’s criteria for Canadian content in music for Activity 1.
Plan a field trip, if possible, to a bookstore with a wall of Canadians - you may wish to include this as part of a field trip within another unit. If you do this earlier in the year, it also starts students thinking about identity before they start studying it.
Collect several issues of Maclean’s for use in Activity 1 and Activity 4.
Keep in mind that this unit leads to the culminating activity of the course (the newsletter) (the culminating activity of the unit).