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OHASSTA Nov 2014 final

Journal of the Ontario History and Social Science Teachers' Association What we (my colleague Sandra Fryer from Peel DSB and I as co-teachers) noticed in the AQ responses was the struggle to “balance” political and military history with social and cultural concepts, events, and themes. This year I noticed more references with the justification paragraphs to topics of “identity” in the Canada lists In addition to "global citizenship” “religions and their historical and contemporary impacts" appeared more often in the world lists than I had anticipated. Let me suggest two useful ways to help you select content that will more likely stick in the minds and hearts of students, at least for a little while. What am I interested in? If I am passionate about a topic or a teaching strategy I might invest more time and thought into expanding its use or application. I have a particular interest in the history of medicine. So I do the extra reading and work at plugging what I learn into such topics as the Black Death, the Spanish Influenza, the ravages of cholera, or the discovery of antibiotics such as penicillin. For example, a google search led me to a generic site for all sorts of great Canadian stuff. My interests noted above took me to Exclusive/Articles/Early-NHL--Spanish-Flu.aspx. If you are a hockey fan, this site might interest you too. Check it out and you will not be disappointed. What is your passion? Given the broad nature of expectations in the Ontario curriculum you can find places to insert topics you care deeply about. And if care about them, that passion can spread to your students. What Interests my students? Do we ask them for ideas or advice? Did they like political/military history, art history, or social history, macro or micro economics, criminal law or human rights, ethics or metaphysics? Are their favourite lessons ones that connect to the present, or ones that have fascinating or just weird facts? Or do they like mysteries, or blogs, or Youtube videos, or connect to something locally or in the news or current pop culture? When in doubt, do what good doctors, psychologists, or even financial advisers do: ask the client. Students prefer to work on things they like. They also like being asked. If you are concerned about content coverage there are two spots to get student input. One is the usual choice of topics in a unit: from research essays to collages to case studies. A second approach is to ask students at or near the end of the course - What lessons/topics did you like and why? - If I teach this course again what lessons or topics should I change, delete, add? Next issue we will look at other ways of helping content stick. References Myers, J. (2009). Working with content so that it works for our students. Rapport, 30 (3). 8-11. Myers, J. (2004). Bringing a little common sense into curriculum implementation. Rapport. 26 (1). 9-13. Myers, J. (2003). Curriculi, curricula: The many faces of curriculum, Education Today. (Summer). 6-8. Myers, J. (1990). The trouble with history. History and Social Science Teacher. 25 (2). 68-70. Seixas, P. (2003) “Historical Understanding among Adolescents in a Multicultural Setting.” Curriculum Inquiry 23(3) (1993): 301-27. Seixas, P. and Morton T. (1913). The Big Six: Historical Thinking Concepts. Toronto: Nelson. Spencer, H. (1859). "What Knowledge is of Most Worth", The Westminster Review (July) online at RAPPORT FALL 2014 13 RAPPORT FALL 201413