Canadian History in the Twentieth Century

Activity 1: Create the Great Canadian Culture List

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Activity 1: Create the Great Canadian Culture List

Time: 150 minutes


This activity gives students an opportunity to discover for themselves just how many truly great people this country has produced. They use a variety of sources (newsmagazines, Internet, and books) to identify various famous Canadians. The Great Canadian Culture List can take a variety of forms (a written list, an organizer, or a pictoral list) and should be tailored to the abilities of the class. The government agencies involved in the protection of Canadian culture (e.g., Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, Canadian Radio-television Telecommunications Commission, National Film Board) are reviewed and the idea of identity as a changing entity should be investigated over the entire century and not lumped into any particular year. Teachers include Canadians from all cultural backgrounds and both sexes.

Strand(s) and Expectations

Ontario Catholic School Graduate Expectations: CGE1i, 2a, 2b, 2c, 2d. 2e, 5a, 5c, 5g.

Strand(s): Communities: Local, National, and Global; Citizenship and Heritage; Social, Economic, and Political Structures; Methods of Historical Inquiry

Overall Expectations: CGV.01, CHV.02, SPV.01, SPV.02, MIV.01, MIV.02, MIV.03, MIV.04

Specific Expectations

CG1.03 - demonstrate an understanding of how artistic expression reflects the Canadian identity (e.g., works of Emily Carr, Ozias Leduc, Daphne Odjig, Group of Seven, Joy Kogawa, Farley Mowat, Michael Ondaatje, Karen Kain, Susan Aglukark, Miyuki Tanobe);

CG1.04 - explain how and why the federal government has tried to promote a common Canadian identity through various agencies (Canadian Broadcasting Corporation, National Film Board, Heritage Canada, Canadian Radio-Television and Telecommunications Commission) and assess the effectiveness of these efforts;

CG2.01 - explain how American culture and lifestyle have influenced Canadians from 1900 to the present (e.g., music, dance, clothing, speech, movies, television);

CH2.02 - describe the contributions of selected individual Canadians to the development of Canadian identity since World War 1 (e.g., Therese Casgrain, Georges and Pauline Vanier, Marshall McLuhan, Chief Dan George, Oscar Peterson, Barbara Ann Scott, Max Ward, Rosemary Brown);

SP1.03 - demonstrate knowledge of the advantages and disadvantages of American participation in the Canadian economy (e.g., branch plants, Auto Pact, North American Free Trade Agreement, fisheries disputes);

MI2.04 - use computer-based systems effectively to organize information for research, report preparation, and presentation.

Planning Notes

  • Have a list of resources or the resources themselves readily available.

  • If opting to do a photo list, have pictures available.

  • Have Canadian music available to play while the students are working.

Prior Knowledge Required

  • Students employ their research skills from prior units particularly using an index.

  • Students review the requirements of Canadian citizenship (i.e., not just born here) from previous discussions.

  • Students are familiar using a CD-ROM particularly the Canadian Encyclopedia.

  • Students are familiar with working in a small group to share information.

Teaching/Learning Strategies

1. Begin by brainstorming as a class what culture is. Identify some Canadians or groups of Canadians who define our culture for us. The teacher should accept all ideas and only at the end try to get students to create categories by which our culture is defined. (See Appendix 6.1.1 – The Great Canadian Culture List.)

2. Present to the students the idea that culture must be protected and nourished in order to develop and grow. Discuss the role of the CBC, CRTC, and National Film Board (institutions introduced to students in Grade 9 Geography) and how we as individuals contribute to our country’s culture. You may wish to have students record some of their thoughts. This could be done as an editorial to include as part of the culminating activity.

3. The teacher may wish to give students a head start on creating their Great Canadian Culture List by first having them investigate a Canadian author, musician, or artist. Students investigate their subject’s cultural background, where they grew up in Canada, their religious beliefs, the Canadian content of their work, and how they add to Canada’s cultural mosaic. Teachers may wish to assign students a particular person to ensure variety and give students a start on their research. Again this can be included as part of Activity 5.

4. The teacher presents to the class what Canadian content means and have students relate this to their own personal experience, i.e., when is a Canadian a Canadian? This can take the form of a paragraph.

5. Students prepare their Great Canadian Culture List as a group. Taking their varied experiences and research, they identify at least five Canadians in each category (see Appendix 6.1.1 – The Great Canadian Culture List). You can do this as timed event, as a homework assignment, or have students create a quiz – either written or photo – to trade with other groups. Teachers guide students to include members of both sexes in each category. Teachers create a pen and paper quiz based upon the lists created by the class.

Assessment/Evaluation Techniques

  • Informal teacher assessment through observation to ensure all students participate in brainstorming sessions.

  • Formative teacher assessment of written work where assigned.

  • Informal teacher assessment through roving conferences as students work.

  • Formative teacher assessment of the Great Canadian Culture List to check for accuracy and completeness.

  • Summative evaluation in the form of a teacher-prepared pencil and paper quiz.

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