We started one of the classes talking about who we would like to meet. At least four students mentioned they would like to meet Justin Trudeau because he has been helping many immigrants and refugees.
Then I told them we would learn about famous Canadians. I asked them if they knew any famous Canadians and I told them we would start learning a little bit about some famous people in Canada.
As we were learning about months, dates and birth dates, I used the cards I had prepared with information about famous Canadians and their birth dates. As I believe it is a good idea to raise their curiosity, I didn't explain much about the people and just distributed the cards with photos, names, birth dates and day of death of some. I modeled the conversation using the board and asked students to stand up and ask each other.
When some students read their cards, they came to tell me right away they knew the people and they felt so proud! It was great to listen to their stories with those people. For instance, one of my students talked to Robert-Falcon Oulette and she even showed us a photo with him the following class.
Two other students started googling some people right away. I was very happy when I saw this because this means they are becoming autonomous and doing things because they want to know more, not me!
They asked each other using the information on the cards.
Then my coordinator showed me some books about famous Canadians for ESL students. I saw a great chapter about David Suzuki and decided to use some ideas from the book 10 Canadians I'd like to meet. First, the students saw six pictures about Suzuki's life and discussed a bit about him. The students were curious about why David's family had been sent to a prison camp. I told them they would know why the following day. On a side note: I do this because Rubem Alves, a great Brazilian educator, used to say that educators should get their students to become curious.
Then the students had a listening exercise about David Suzuki the following day. Even though it was not very easy, I decided to give it a try and most students were able to do the activity! They felt so happy!
The following week we learned more about Julie Payette and some students were very curious about her. They googled her name to read more about her and then shared with us the information they had found. We also used some activities about her from book 10 Canadians I'd like to meet.
Finally, we learned about Viola Desmond. First we brainstormed about her using her photo:
Then they tried to put some pictures about her terrible experience in the correct order. I got the text and the pictures from the website: http://www.thewestcoastreader.com/viola-desmond-a-canadian-hero/
As my students really enjoyed learning about these famous Canadians, I am going to continue teaching about them so we can spread good things.
Do you teach about people who make a difference too?