Lessons & OER

OER Commons:  Female Identity Construction in Comic Books and Graphic Novels

Best Practices for Visual-based Design ion Distance Education

OER Commons: Canadian History Lesson Using the Question Formulation Technique (QFT)

This lesson is about the historical processes leading up to the British North America Act of 1867 and Canadian Federation. Aboriginal Peoples’ contributions to Canadian history have been underrepresented, sometimes wholly ignored, in textbooks and K-12 schooling. This lesson aims to have students discover and reflect on these contributions, which will reorient Canadian history.

This lesson will be for students in grades 7, 8 or 9.

 Pedagogical Approach:
This lesson will incorporate the Question Formulation Technique, as well as the K-W-L process (what we already KNOW, what we WANT to know, what we have LEARNED).

Learning Objectives:
a. Practice using cause and effect reasoning to determine how events are related and why they occurred.
b. Become familiar with key historical events and activities, and the different parties involved.
c. Reflect on why Aboriginal contributions have been underrepresented in “official” accounts of Canadian history.

Focus Question:
“Aboriginal Peoples had an important role in the historical events leading up to Canadian Confederation.”
The focus question will include a visual prompt, such as the open source Cartouche from William Faden, “A map of the Inhabited Part of Canada from the French Surveys; with the Frontiers of New York and New England”, 1777

Students will work collaboratively in groups, and will utilize Google Docs to create shared documents. Students will begin by setting up a K-W-L table in Google Docs. In the “K” column of the table, each group member will list what they already know about the topic. Students will be instructed to utilize the information in column “K” to help inform/inspire the questions they will then list in column “W”. In the “W” column, group members will contribute as many questions as they can come up with, without discussion or editing.

The groups will then be asked to analyze their questions. This will include reflecting on duplication between questions that ask the same thing but are stated differently; changing any statements into questions; reflecting on the different information that can be obtained through open-ended vs. closed-ended questions; how open- and closed-ended questions might facilitate obtaining the information desired; and how the questions draw from and build on the information listed in the “K” column. To facilitate this reflection process, groups will be instructed to write each question in both open- and closed-ended phrasing.

Groups will then work on prioritizing their questions, to move from divergent to convergent thinking. Groups will follow this guideline from the teacher/instructor:  Identify the three most important historical events/activities that may have had different outcomes without Aboriginal Peoples’ involvement. The objective will be for groups to undertake internet research to collect sources that provide information that answers their questions, and to incorporate these sources into a presentation (Prezi, Screencast-o-Matic, WordPress blog, etc.) that will be shared with the rest of the class. Web 2.0 tools will be utilized so that each group member is able to contribute directly to creating/building the presentation, and also so that other class members can conveniently review and provide feedback. Using Web 2.0 tools will also enable students to utilize visual and audio resources, in addition to text-based resources, and to visually organize their presentation.

Once the questions have been prioritized, groups will then work on their presentations, as well as listing information that is learned in the “L” column of the table in their Google Docs document.

Students will then be instructed to reflect on their learned information, to assess what they have learned against the questions in the “W” list; to reflect on how they learned it, including how their questions and the new information learned builds on the knowledge in their “K” list; what learned information does not make sense or may need further exploration; and on the authenticity of the information sources utilized (this is a particularly important skill for learners in the digital age, to help them learn to determine what information is valid and worth learning in an environment with multiple and competing information sources). For instance, whose voice is embedded in the information source (Aboriginal or colonial), and how does this impact the information’s validity and comprehensiveness?

The teacher/instructor will then utilize these reflections and questions to guide continuing instruction and assignments in this course unit, as well as to assess what students’ have learned and whether learning objectives for the lesson have been met.

A final stage to the lesson will be an online discussion forum, moderated by the teacher/instructor, in which students will reflect on the question formulation process. For instance, how did they feel about the process? How did the process enhance their learning? How can this process be used in different classes, etc.? This discussion forum will also provide the teacher/instructor with a venue for rewarding students (with praise) for engaging in question formulation, as a means of reinforcing the skill.

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