New Grade 6 curriculum targets Canadian identity

July 2, 2014   ·   0 Comments

In a country as multicultural as Canada, it can be difficult to put a finger on what is our Canadian cultural identity. Sure, there is the stereotype – lumberjacks in plaid, with axes over their shoulders, lots of maple syrup, poutine and coffee. But what is at the root of our culture, the root of our identity?

That’s something the newly revised Grade 6 Ontario Curriculum will look at; helping students to discover their identity and their Canadian identity through the discovery of the country’s past, present and future roots.

“I think it’s a beautiful strand of learning for kids to really dive in and take a look at what it means to be a Canadian,” said Heather Galoska, Elementary Curriculum Leader for the Upper Grand District School Board. “It helps them look at how can we be responsible citizens that take care of each other, help make our communities work and honour where we came from as well as the [cultural] contributions that are still happening today.”

The curriculum remains pretty much the same as it was before, except with an added study for grade 6 students called ‘Canada’s Communities Past and Present’. It provides students the opportunity to look at Canadian identity through groups like the First Nations, Inuit and Metis as well as English and French settlers, and more recent immigrants.

“I think especially with the emphasis of this study on student led inquiry, it really gives our students the chance to ask about themselves, figure out who they are and where they fit in the world,” said Ms. Galoska.

“It also allows them to look at who the people are around them, how they fit in with the world, and how they all come together to make Canada.”

The change in the curriculum was implemented for grades 1 to 5 this past year and has seen a positive response so far. The grade 6-to-8 portion will be implemented this coming September, but it’s the grade 6 portion that will see the most changes.

“The focus is on the skills we need kids to have as far as higher order thinking, critical thinking, critical literacy and all those pieces of the package,” said Ms. Galoska. “The curriculum is more organized and well laid out, so it’s easier to help plan and work from, and provides more information.”

On Tuesday, June 12, grade 6 teachers from across Dufferin and Wellington Counties met with the Curriculum Leaders for the UGDSB at Monora Park to learn about the new study and some practices that could best help their students learn the new curriculum.

“June is a really busy time for teachers, so the fact that they took a day out with us to come and do some new learning at this point in the year is awesome,” said Ms. Galoska. “My colleagues are amazing and were excited to have a day with them. It’s wonderful to see teachers so dedicated to what they are teaching their students.”

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