This unit will span several lessons and class periods. It is designed to expose students to historical, primary source documents and analysis of the information within them. The activities support cross-curricular work. It is recommended that the history teacher, the language teacher, and the teacher-librarian work together as a team to deliver and assess the unit. Time for the unit could then be shared within history, language and library information centre periods.
The history teacher could be responsible for teaching the section on primary and secondary sources. The teacher-librarian could cover the introductory section on research skills. The teacher-librarian could also make available computers in the library information centre and/or computer lab and create a display of different types of primary sources.
If no previous work has been done with primary sources, it is recommended that students read over the introductory sections on Using Primary and Secondary Sources and Research Tips. They provide a good foundation for the research that students will do in the Student Activities section. For further explanation of and activities on primary and secondary sources, students could explore the introductory activities for any of the grade levels of the Ontario History Quest.
Access to computers will determine how the student groups will conduct their work. The ideal environment is to have one computer for every student, and to have all students researching their documents at the same time. Computers in the classroom, the library information centre or computer lab could be used.
For a class of ten students, assign each student a category to work on. Alternatively, have the students work in pairs and either complete only five categories or have each pair of students complete two categories. For a class of 20 students, have students work in pairs to conduct the research and complete the work. For a class of 30 students, have students work in threes and have each student responsible for one document each.
If computer access is limited, it may be necessary to have students share a computer and do the research for the documents within a category together. This cooperative approach may help students who need extra support and those who work better in group or team situations. The group assessment component will be particularly relevant in these instances.
The OTM works largely within a closed Internet environment, providing almost all of the resources that students and teachers need to complete the tasks. In a few cases an external website link is included or the use of a textbook is recommended to provide some background for students studying this period of time.
Within each category there are a number of graphic organizers which the members in each group will use to organize their research and notes. In preparation for this unit, teachers will need to print each of these graphic organizers and make the appropriate number of copies. The complete list is located in the Teacher Resources page.
The students will be creating a magazine but it is up to the teacher to decide which format of magazine the students will produce. There are three options for magazines. The first is the print magazine. It is created using paper, pencils, pencil crayons and markers and is published by collating and stapling all of the sections or articles together. The second format is an e-zine or an electronic magazine. It is created using software on the computers at the school and can either be saved as a file on a computer or uploaded to a host website, perhaps the school website, to be shared with others in the school and community. The third format is a radio magazine. It involves each group recording their section using computer applications like podcasting software. Each group will still need to do the research and write a script to guide their recording. The tasks in a few of the categories would need to be modified, as they do not easily lend themselves to a radio magazine (see specific categories in the Teacher Guide for more detail). Time, access to computers and familiarity and availability of software will all play a role in determining which format is best for your class.