Friday, 30 October 2015

Creating Historical Lenses

In June the Canadian history (CHC2D) team met to further adapt personalized and blended learning strategies to a WWII unit. While the Second World War is always a popular area of study for students of CHC2D, there were opportunities to leverage considerable student interest and engagement with new strategies that seek to further enhance their critical thinking skills. To succeed in these goals the team designed the following blueprint.

A Blocked and Blended Approach

Over the past two years the CHC2D team has been able to develop a streamed approach to the 1920s unit of the course. A streamed approach is one where students are offered a number of perspectives, or lenses, from which to study and understand the period. In the 1920s, they could choose between studying the period through the lens of prohibition, the women’s movement, or the economy. This was successful as we were able to use blocked scheduling (2-3 Canadian History classes happening at the same time) to allow students to move to a dedicated classroom covering their perspective. It is this blocked and streamed approach that we will implement for the newly developed WWII unit.

Authentic and Experiential Learning

The next step was to develop three streams that we could offer students for the unit that would provide them with authentic and experiential learning opportunities. We decided on designing streams that would offer students the chance to view WWII from the lens of living history and public memory, the holocaust, or technology/tactics/battles. These options represent varying historical perspectives and multiple entry points for analysis.

Promoting Historical Literacy

Last, we developed new assessment tools that would account for a wide range of student learning. This included integrating methods of assessing the historical thinking concepts, which are critical thinking tools that aim to foster historical literacy.


Working as a team on developing this unit allowed for an immediate and effective exchange of ideas. We are still in the process of making changes to the WWII unit as we prepare for its launch in early 2016 and are excited to communicate the results in future blog posts.

Eugene Henry
History Teacher

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