This lesson can be integrated into the primary curriculum on many levels. While useful for Social Studies units on Self, Family and School, this lesson is also designed to address the Language Arts curriculum and can be used for teaching about making connections. This unit also addresses Social Responsibility and asks students to consider the qualities and actions of kindness and compassion. Archival Pictures are included for activities that ask students to develop criteria for compassionate behaviours.
This lesson may take a series of class sessions to complete.
It is expect ed that students will:
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This lesson can be integrated into a unit on understanding and showing compassion. Students will explore the ways in which the Aboriginal peoples showed compassion towards the early European explorers.
It is expected that student will:
Step 1: Have the students work in small groups to brainstorm the idea of compassion. What is it? How are they compassionate to others? How are other compassionate to them? How would life be different if people did not display this very important characteristic?
Step 2: As a class, read “A Second Voyage” pg. 141 in Our Beginnings, the Grade 4 Social Studies textbook aloud. Have a class discussion about scurvy and the role the First Nations and how their knowledge of their land and resources helped the survival of many European explorers and settlers.
Look for evidence of:
This lesson can be integrated into a unit on the rights of the First Nations and the impacts of Canadian governance on those rights. Students will be asked to think critically about the rights of Aboriginal Peoples and the ways their lives have been altered as a result of such governance.
It is expected that student will:
Step 1: In the computer lab, have students work in pairs to conduct online research on the Indian Act. They will need to take notes for the purpose of writing a report and preparing a class presentation.
Step 2: After students have made their own notes, have a class discussion on Indian Act to clarify any misconceptions or questions the students may have.
Step 3: Have them work individually or in pairs on the “Indian Act” worksheet.
Worksheet: The Indian Act
Look for evidence of:
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This lesson can be integrated into a unit on Ancient Rome in Social Studies. In particular this lesson fits well when discussing the expansion of the Roman Empire. It can also be integrated into Language Arts and Social Responsibility. This lesson examines perspective. Students will be asked to compare and contrast colonization practices in Ancient Rome to the British Empire in North America. Students will be asked to create counter – arguments with one side supporting the statement the British Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the Roman Empire, and the other side supporting the statement the Roman Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than their British counterparts in North America. This lesson will take several class sessions to complete.
It is expected that…
Teacher discusses the term colonization with students.
Teacher discusses the expansion of the Roman Empire (The teacher may have to dedicate 1 to 2 lessons to this)
Teacher asks students to examine the Roman Empire through textbook and internet links looking in particular at how the Roman Empire colonization practices affected the colonized groups individual/group rights, religion, and values. Furthermore, how was the Roman Empire influenced by the nations they colonized? Students repeat the above activity examining the British Empire’s colonization practices with the Aboriginal Peoples.
Teacher divides the students into two groups. One group will argue the following statement: The British Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the Roman Empire. The second group will argue the following statement: The Roman Empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects than the British Empire were to the Aboriginal Peoples.
Students research and write an essay, which they will use to help formulate their argument for the classroom debate.
Student debate while teacher facilitates.
This lesson links well when discussing the expansion of the Roman Empire. It can also be integrated into Language Arts and Social Responsibility. Once students have discussed the colonization practices of the Roman and British Empires by examining the level of compassion of each, students will be asked to look at the immigrant experience in Canada. Specifically students will be asked if immigrating to Canada has become a kinder and gentler process in present day than in the past. This lesson will take a series of class sessions.
It is expected that…
Teacher recaps the student debate on which empire was kinder and gentler to their subjects.
Teacher poses question: Has Canada become a kinder, gentler, and more accepting country to new immigrants in present time than in the past? What has changed and what continues to remain static in the in immigrant experience. What similar challenges do present immigrants face? What are some of the differences?
To challenge student thinking, it is important that the teacher shows examples of immigrant cultural stereotyping that occurred in newspapers in the past (using the archival material) as well as in the present. For example, how were Indo-Canadians framed in the past and how are they framed in present time in the news media? It’s important that the teacher presents images of present day Canada struggling with the same issues it did in the past, namely racism, sexism, and class. This will allow students to begin to think deeply and critically of the above question.
Students will be asked to use the Multicultural Canada archival collection to understand past immigrant experiences. What obstacles and barriers did they face?
Students will be asked to interview someone that has immigrated to Canada in the last ten years and ask him/her about their experiences and challenges. If a student is unable to find anyone to interview they can look at newspapers that are geared towards recent immigrants such as New Immigrant.
Students compile their research and formulate their argument to the question has Canada become a kinder, gentler, and more accepting country to new immigrants compared to the past?
It is expected that the student will:
“Love and compassion are necessities, not luxuries. Without them humanity cannot survive.” – The 14th Dalai Lama
Read the following quotation giving time for students to silently reflect:
Have students compose a short journal entry about the quotation and offer these prompts:
Conduct a class discussion on what students think of when hearing “hero of compassion.” Ask students if they can name a hero of compassion; for example, the Dalai Lama or Bishop Desmond Tutu. Remind students that these are significant examples; a hero of compassion does not have to be as accomplished as these two men.
Ask students to look through The New Canadian Newspaper to identify a particular struggle for the second generation Japanese Canadian community and/or read or listen to the transcription of an oral history from a south Asian immigrant to Canada. A struggle can be experiencing internment for the Japanese, discrimination at the workplace etc. Students will be asked to find one article or transcription which exemplifies a struggle of Japanese-Canadian and Indo-Canadians. After identifying a struggle, students will be asked to research a compassionate hero of Canada who helped ease the struggle. The hero can be of the past or present.
Once students have found a compassionate hero, they will be asked to share the information they collected with the class in an innovative manner (e.g., PowerPoint, skit, interview, monologue, debate, etc.) focusing on how they feel the hero they found is a hero of compassion.
Ask students to share what they know about Bishop Desmond Tutu. Add to what they say so that it is clear to students who he is. Display this quote:
“If you are neutral in situations of injustice, you have chosen the side of the oppressor. If an elephant has its foot on the tail of a mouse and you say that you are neutral, the mouse will not appreciate your neutrality.”
Students will be assessed on: how they critically they think about past struggles of oppressed groups in Canada. They will be asked to find a Canadian hero of compassion, and be able to justify why he or she qualifies as such. See rubric on critical thinking.
Students find a local person who they think exemplifies a hero of compassion, this may be a volunteer worker, etc. Students interview their hero of compassion and present their findings to the class. While presenting students address, among other things, why they chose that specific person as well how he or she acts in a way that is compassionate in the community.
Students find examples of people/non-profit organizations which aid new immigrants in their city, province or country.
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It is expected that the student will:
“It is that long-term change that I think we must see if we are not to lose hope.”
-- Howard Zinn
Display the quotation giving time for students to silently reflect. Have students compose a short journal entry about the quotation and offer these prompts:
Conduct a class discussion on what students think of the quote by Howard Zinn. Ask students what real-life examples they thought of upon reflecting on the quote. Ask students what compassion means to them, and how it relates to the quote.
Students are to create a positive-negative timeline as a culminating activity to a unit. The theme of the timeline is a history of tolerance and intolerance in Canada. Based on certain policies, events and figures students have learned about, such as immigration policies and interactions between Aboriginals and Europeans, students choose events and figures they think are historically significant, both tolerant and intolerant. On the timeline, students include a short description of the event (which they will find through researching or from their textbook). As well, students will, by searching the Multicultural Canada website and other sources, use historical photographs, headlines from newspapers, excerpts or quotes from newspapers and transcribed interviews, to add to the events they have included in their timelines; this will make the timeline more interesting to read.
Students rank their timeline events according to their perceived historical significance. The most significant positive ranking being a +5, and the most significant negative ranking being -5. For example, a student may include the barring of Sikh immigrants in Canada aboard the Kamagata Maru, ranking it as a -5. Students will write short paragraphs justifying the rankings they assigned and attach them to the respective events. The teacher may decide how many events should be included in the timeline.
Timelines can be constructed in a way the student chooses, perhaps using graph paper, construction paper, or computer.
Conclusion: Students present their timelines to the class, explaining why they choose certain events and why they gave certain rankings. When the timelines are complete, they may be displayed on walls throughout the class or high school.
The teacher once again displays the quote by Howard Zinn on the board. The teacher debriefs with student what they have learned from creating a timeline. The teacher asks students to comment on the quote, in relation to the timelines they have constructed. Ask students if they have any new insights.
Students will be assessed on how they critically they think about historical events in Canada. They must assess the significance of events by ranking them and justifying their decisions. The timeline will be assessed using the rubric on critical thinking.
Students create a timeline of tolerant and intolerant events and people specifically focusing on British Columbia’s past and present.
Students write a persuasive essay based on what they have learned in the class, as well as what they have learned from doing this project. Students must decide whether Canada has become more or less compassionate over the past century.
Lesson adapted from Lea Hansen-George’s Lesson: A Timeline for Change, from www.tolerance.org 
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