History by any other name

January 17, 2013 by Sharon Adams

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A heart-warming piece by a Grade 5/6 teacher in Montreal has appeared on the website of the Laurier Centre for Military Strategic and Disarmament Studies. Literacy teacher Alexandra Papazoglou at Evergreen Elementary undertook a class project on Remembrance to improve skills in spelling, grammar and “technological literacy.”  Her story  might provide a little ray of hope to those of us worried about the lack of history in school curricula, by demonstrating how it can be broached through other areas of study. Instead of spelling lists and boring grammar exercises, Papazoglou’s students expanded their literacy skills by tackling a history project. Each student researched the life of a Canadian soldier killed in Afghanistan, wrote reports and produced artwork posted in hallways. These posters sparked discussion in other classrooms. The assignment culminated in a presentation at a school assembly to mark Remembrance Day, which had not been observed in the school for some years. The presentations resulted in “a beautiful collage of who these men and women were,” she wrote. Her mission for the new school year is to create more projects that will strengthen student’s literacy and historical thinking skills “while reaching out to the community with an understanding of war and peace in this country and around the world. Not an easy task but just like them, I am up for the challenge.”

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A MAN ALONE by Peter Court. The wartime experiences of Robert (Bob) Robinson as a British soldier in India and Burma in World War II included facing mutiny in his platoon. A Canadian citizen since 1954, he has taken part in many Remembrance Day marches in West Vancouver. Cost: £12.95, Postage £4. Order from: www.woodfieldpublishing.co.uk. Woodfield Publishing Limited, Bognor Regis PO 21 5EL England.

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