Title: Being a Canadian Citizen
During Canada’s Citizenship Week, which is celebrated during the third week of October, multiple activities can be organized to help students recognize the value of citizenship and immigration. ‘Thinking About Citizenship’ activity provides an excellent opportunity to review the rights and responsibilities of Canadian Citizens and discuss the challenges of immigration. It also allows for cognitive engagement and the development of students’ critical thinking. Students might be encouraged to do some preliminary research about the immigration history of their family, their friends or community members, make some comparisons, and reflect on what might have influenced one’s success or failure. In class, these stories might be discussed in the light of the criteria of the Immigrant and Refugee Protection Act. Students might find it interesting to rate their family members or friends against the point system. The handout ‘Immigrating to Canada: Who Gets In?’ might help to structure the discussion. Students might have drawn the conclusion that such factors as education, knowledge of one of the official languages and professional experience might held accountable not only for getting the winning points for immigration, but also might stipulate the successful integration into Canadian society, access to education and successful careers. While discussing the language and knowledge requirements for becoming a Canadian Citizen, students might be offered to complete (in writing or orally) ‘Mock Citizenship Test’ (handout), which includes questions regarding knowledge of Canada’s history, the rights and responsibilities of a citizen, voting procedures, etc.
The topic of the lesson allows for raising students’ awareness of the language (vocabulary, complex syntax, grammar, etc.) that can be used while discussing the issues related to the topic. (See handout ‘Activities for Language Learners’) Students’ critical thinking is prompted by the questions in the handouts and teacher’s scaffolding. Opportunities for affirming students’ identities are created by having students express their opinions in groups, whole class discussions and in writing their own (family, friends’, members of community) stories of immigration.
Activities ‘Stories of Immigration’ allow establishing connections with the community and provide ample opportunities for engaging students in authentic communication with the guests from the community. Teachers might organize ‘Host a Passages to Canada Event’ by inviting through the Dominion Institute a speaker to make a presentation on the following topics:
· Why did you choose Canada?
· When did you first feel that Canada could be your home?
Students take notes during the presentation; they are told in advance to prepare questions to the speakers. Also, before these presentations, they can access the biographies of the presenters at www.passagestocanada.com. This authentic communication might be extended by having students reflect on the speaker’s presentation and contribute his/her story to Passages to Canada online Archive. (Have students log on to www.passagestocanada.com , click on the Passages to Canada Archive and complete the Submit a Story form). The authors of the resource suggest the following questions for guiding students’ reflections:
· Why did the speaker choose to immigrate to Canada? And, if applicable, when did the speaker feel that Canada was home?
· In your opinion, what was the most memorable part of the speaker’s presentation?
· How did the speaker’s story affect your perception of Immigration?
The above event might be followed up by organizing poster presentations that will be reflective of the guest’s story, or some other story of immigration.
· Students will have a better understanding of the country immigration policy and learn to appreciate the contributions that immigrants make to Canada.
· Students will be able to discuss the rights and responsibilities of Canadian Citizens, analyze the challenges of immigration and critically reflect on the factors that might contribute to more successful integration into Canadian society.
· Students will be able to increase their vocabulary on the topic and learn some language patterns to be used in oral and written discourse on the topic
· Students will be able to synthesize the material and present in the form of the story to be published online, or to get it ready for poster presentation
· Students will develop the feeling of belonging to a very special and diverse local (classroom) community and a greater community of Canadian citizens.
To ensure the above, teachers need to structure the lessons by orchestrating the sequence of activities, making use of handouts, guiding the activities and scaffolding students’ thinking by prompts, offering some linguistic explanations as soon as they see that the flow of the lesson is in danger because of some misunderstanding or misconceptions.
Students will be involved in whole class discussions, group work-- (ethnical grouping for the research ptoject and poster presentation), and pair and individual wok.
- Whole class discussion
- Individual and group research
- Note taking
- Individual and group work
- Collaborative writing (for online posting)
- Integrating technology into the classroom
- Oral and poster presentation
Teachers will be doing ongoing assessment of students’ contributions to the class discussion through observation and using evaluation checklists. To guide students’ work on the research project and to get an idea of the teacher’s expectations and marking policy, students will be given scoring rubrics and/or checklists for evaluation of their participation and the quality of the final product. The scoring rubric descriptors will be discussed with the class so that everybody is clear on the requirements of the research project and is aware of the value of each component. Teachers need to create rubrics for poster presentation as well.
The Canada’s Citizenship Week activities can easily be adapted to various age groups.
'While Passages to Canada Speakers’ Bureau' are best suited for high-school students, 'A Year-Round Activity Guide about Citizenship -- Planting the seeds'—is an excellent resource for Grades 4-6. It is designed for Social Science and Social Studies Teachers and Community Youth Leaders working with young people aged 9-12.The resource is aiming at empowering young people with the concepts, understanding and skills they need to be responsible, caring and active citizens.
Passages to Canada. Speakers’ Bureau. School and Community Group Resource Guide.
Fascilitating dialogue among immigrant community leaders, students and community groups. A project of the Dominion Institute.
'Planting the seeds'
'A Year-Round Activity Guide about Citizenship'
For Grades 4-6 Social Science and Social Studies Teachers and Community Youth Leaders working with young people aged 9-12
“Adding English: A Guide to Teaching in Multilingual Classrooms” (Coelho, E., 2003, Pippin Publishers)
Submitted by: Tetyana Ryaboshapko