Acknowledge the scandalous (course profile)

Hi everyone! I am sharing my course profile below. You know when you’ve been looking at the same document for hours and hours and you’re convinced there’s nothing missing, so you submit it or post it or print all your student copies and THEN notice the typo or lack of clarity, etc.? I am familiar with the ins and outs of the Sask. curriculum ELA courses and my personal classroom format/style, so if there are any “holes” that you feel need more explanation, please feel free to point those out in the comments.

Overview/Course Description

The ELA A30 curriculum includes two major units/themes; Canadian Perspectives and Canadian Landscapes. Within those units/themes are subthemes. I am creating this unit with a focus on “acknowledge the scandalous”, which is part of the larger unit “Canadian Perspectives” and is to be followed by the mini unit focused on the subtheme of “celebrate the glorious” so the term ends on more of a positive note. The target student population is grade twelve students ranging from sixteen to eighteen years of age with varying demographics, including varying Truth and Reconciliation (TRC) and historical and contemporary Canadian Indigenous knowledge. For the purposes of this course, I am pretending to implement it in my classroom at Dr. Martin LeBoldus Catholic High School, which is where I taught prior to my current maternity leave.
EDIT: I am no longer using the curriculum’s term “scandalous” in this course in order to remove any doubts of the horrific and truthful history of Canada. I will use the term “truth” or a variation of that term dependent on context.

Course Format

This course will be formatted in the fashion of blended learning; the majority of the content/course work will be covered and completed in a face-to-face and synchronous classroom setting with the assistance/dependence of technology. Students can use the technology available within the school (we share a computer cart with the class next door) or use their own devices (approximately 50% of my students typically bring their own devices). I typically schedule/plan with the teacher next door to coordinate computer use, however, if there are overlapping days that she and I both need the computers for our classes, there are multiple computer carts available to book from the school resource centre. There will be components students must complete outside of class time asynchronously with specific deadlines, albeit minimal in consideration of students without access to devices or internet connection. If a student has not been granted permission by their guardian to record themselves for school purposes, accommodations will be made. The blended learning method has been chosen in order to supplement content with live teacher commentary and response to questions in relation to the sensitive content and to avoid any misinterpretation of information. 

Course Toolset

For this unit, as well as the rest of the course, students will be able to access all materials on Microsoft Teams (Teams), of which the students are familiar as it is used division-wide and students have been dependent on it for quite a few years now. The course will have a “channel” for the unit, which will include easy-to-follow folders and links to all necessary materials. I also always include a unit calendar so students know exactly what will be covered each day in order for them to prepare properly in the case of an absence or extended leave as well as to aid in managing their personal time in balancing upcoming asynchronous work, extracurricular clubs, employment, and personal time. Teams will also be the primary source of communication between student and teacher. If any concerns arise that go beyond student-teacher communication, communication between teacher and guardian can be managed via email. Instructional tools include a variety of differentiation methods including texts of varying lengths, modalities, and required responses (both formative and summative) for scaffolding purposes. The differentiated tasks and texts also maximize the amount of outcomes and indicators applicable to this course. This is to ensure students of all abilities are able to fully and authentically engage in the TRC focused content. In terms of assessment, task instructions and rubrics will be posted on Teams, as well as explained and discussed in class. Students will also be assessing each other (formatively) on Flipgrid, which will be explained in posted task instructions and more thoroughly in class for full understanding. There will be both formative and summative assessment throughout the duration of this mini unit.
EDIT: In addition to Flip (formerly Flipgrid), this course now also includes online asynchronous discussions using Parlay as well as pre-made videos for specific skills.

Course Content and Learning Objectives

The main and basic learning objectives for this course is to meet students where they are at in their TRC journey and guide them further. For some, it will be an introduction to historical and current context of Canadian perspectives. For others, it will be an extension of what they have already (un)learned. Unfortunately, for some, it will be an intergenerationally lived experience. In being transparent in our staggered spaces of reconciliation, students will be able to learn from one another in addition to the texts I have chosen to help facilitate understanding and to ‘walk’ with them in this collective journey to reconciliation.
EDIT: Although there is a plethora of content I WANT to use, I am focusing on a few to allow for deep understanding/analysis of chosen texts and also to allow for more absorption time for students. Students/people need time to process information instead of being inundated or overwhelmed with it, with a potential side effect of the information having LESS effect than a few specifically chosen pieces and activities.

The course content includes a wide variety of information sources such as: 
guest speaker  Youtube content  a movie  small and large group discussions  poem analysis 
podcast episodes  self-recorded video in response to texts  graphic novel  web search  a play 

A30 curricular outcomes addressed
(CR = comprehend and respond, CC = compose and create) 

CR A30.1 


View, listen to, read, comprehend, and respond to a variety of grade-appropriate First Nations, Métis, Saskatchewan, and Canadian texts that address:  

• identity (e.g., Define the Individual, Negotiate the Community)
•social responsibility (e.g., Shift Centres, Blur Margins), and
•social action (agency) (e.g., Understand Beliefs, Initiate Action). 

CR A30.2 


View and evaluate critically information and ideas obtained from First Nations, Métis, Saskatchewan, and Canadian visual and multimedia texts including an advertisement, news broadcast, poster, and film. 
CR A30.3 


Listen to, comprehend, and develop coherent and plausible interpretations of grade-appropriate literary and informational texts created by First Nations, Métis, Saskatchewan, and Canadian speakers and authors from various communities. 
CR A30.4 


Read, demonstrate comprehension of, and apply knowledge from grade-appropriate informational (including editorials, reviews, and articles) and literary (including fiction, script, poetry, and non-fiction) texts from First Nations, Métis, Saskatchewan, and Canadian authors as a basis for understanding self and the multiplicity of voices and perspectives that make up Canadian culture. 
CC A30.3 


Present and express a range of ideas and information in formal (including a panel presentation and a business or community meeting) and informal (including discussions and collaborative work) situations for differing audiences and purposes. 
CC A30.2 (if adopting optional culminating project) 


Create and present visual and multimedia representations including using photographs to explain a range of contemporary course-related perspectives or landscapes. 

-see lesson framework at end of blog post for lesson outlines   

Assessment Strategies

-small and large group discussions
-comprehension & analytical responses
-poem & text* analysis
-peer assessment
*text in this context is any source of information building upon learning objectives & outcomes 

-prepared large group discussion
-comprehension & analytical responses
-poem & text analysis
-participation & engagement (of peer assessment)
EDIT: -unit reflection journals

Special Considerations

Due to the variety of text modalities in this course, and to be mindful of students who do not have access to devices or Wi-Fi access outside of school, most of the course content will be completed during set class hours. This is also to ensure students have teacher assistance if they are having difficulty with any technological issues. 

Due to the course being predominantly synchronous, in the case of attendance concerns students will have full access to all texts and assignments via Teams. If they are unable to access these due to Wi-Fi concerns, special accommodations will be made. 

The lesson framework (see below) is designed to take 20-30 hours. Planning for up to 30 hours for this course offers allowance to adapt the timeline of lessons due to in-depth and authentic class discussions that exceed the timeline outlined below. This ‘wiggle room’ is a significant consideration for the aforementioned learning objectives. It also allows for course time to be spent on a culminating project.

The A30 course is Canadian based units focused on “Canadian Perspectives” and “Canadian Landscapes”, and I have specifically focused my course content on Truth and Reconciliation in terms of text choices and discussions. Due to the course content, age, varying maturity of students, and unknown background of Canadian Indigenous history and reconciliation, this course requires a preamble to students in terms of sensitivity. This is also required to ensure the utmost respect for any Indigenous students and guest speakers in the classroom, which should also extend beyond the walls of my classroom as students expand their understanding in their reconciliation journey.
EDIT: In understanding students will be impacted differently by the course content, I have incorporated private unit reflection journals as a means of communication between student and teacher in consideration of students who may be directly effected by the sensitive content we will be learning/discussing/responding to. 

Rationale for Course Prototype Design Choices

In my high school English classroom, I am able to use the platform of my humanities classroom to have students explore contemporary and historical issues to expand understanding of the vastness of perspectives of the human condition. With that in mind, I designed my A30 units with a heavy consideration of Truth and Reconciliation as I have noticed and discussed with previous students and colleagues that despite TRC education meant to be implemented in all classrooms and an important societal concern, students lack knowledge and depth of understanding on the topic. So, this course’s intent is for an informative, critically analytic, and reflective learning experience aligned with the Saskatchewan Curriculum’s unit description. Additionally, although students may be at different points in their reconciliation journey, I designed this course predominantly synchronous so students do not feel they are on or taking this journey alone and that they are ‘walking’ together through the difficult unlearning and nature of our country’s reconciliation with its Indigenous peoples.

On a concrete level, I have specifically chosen a wide variety of text forms for a number of reasons. Firstly, it is a means of differentiation for students with a record of adaptations (ROA). I have also designed comprehension, critical analysis, and discussion of texts with “chunking” in mind, as well as many other ROA considerations to accommodate a variety of types of learners and for best practice. I also varied text formats for student engagement. Not all students, regardless of level of ability, engage with strictly reading as a means of absorbing information and for those who do, I have included a variety as a means of expanding their perception of the traditional English classroom text. Most importantly, I have included a significant amount of texts, as well as assessment tools, that honour the oral tradition and nature of learning of the Indigenous Canadians that we are learning about and from in order for students to connect with and internalize content.  

Lesson Framework

EDIT: This framework has slightly changed. The changes can be seen in the updated course calendar: 834 prototype calendar 

Students will have already  -understood and practiced classroom procedure for efficiently obtaining laptops as a means of effective use of class time given there is minimal asynchronous content 

-had the fishbowl (similar to socratic seminar) discussions and procedures explained to them 

-chosen their fishbowl question (which are the unit’s guiding questions for deeper understanding in the curriculum p. 15) for which they are responsible for preparing a response in correlation with course texts, current events, etc. 

-had the SWIFT method of analyzing a poem explained to them and practiced in a previous unit 

-created Flipgrid accounts and practiced using them and peer assessing in previous assignments 

Lesson 1 


– “What you need to know about Canada” jigsaw 
Lesson 2  -finish jigsaw
-watch “The danger of a single story” 
-“discuss” refers to whole-class discussion unless otherwise noted
-review how to SWIFT 
Lesson 3  -small group SWIFT of “I grew up” poem
-discuss group analysis as whole group 
Lesson 4  -fishbowl #1 (5 people “present”)
TQE explanation and example
-I will be using a variation of the linked TQE method I have found works well 
Lesson 5  -guest speaker on worldview, perspective, and language (Denise Anaquod – a teacher in the school/division)
-fill in TQE chart during her visit to the class ASYNCHRONOUSLY: create and post video of 1-2 of each of your TQE’s (this means 1-2 THOUGHTS, 1-2 QUESTIONS, 1-2 EPIPHANIES)
Lesson 6  – “Discovery” episode of Twisted Histories podcast
-review/discuss questions for understandingASYNCHRONOUSLY: respond to 2 different classmate’s (assigned by teacher) Flipgrid video (to be completed by lesson 9) 
Lesson 7  -’before reading’ questions for “Reserve” episode
-listen to “Reserve” episode
-submit questions for formative assessmentASYNCHRONOUSLY: If yet to complete, respond to 2 different classmate’s (assigned by teacher) Flipgrid video (to be completed by lesson 9) 
Lesson 8  -questions returned to students with formative feedback
-“School” episode (done individually)
       -complete and submit ‘before’ questions
       -listen to episode while completing ‘during’ questions
       -complete ‘after’ questions
       -due on day of lesson 10ASYNCHRONOUSLY: If yet to complete, respond to 2 different classmate’s (assigned by teacher) Flipgrid video (to be completed by lesson 9) 
Lesson 9  -work period
     -complete “School” (submit if finished)
     -finish preparing fishbowl response if applicable 
Lesson 10  -submit “School” questions prior to class beginning
-fishbowl discussion #2 
Lesson 11  -revisit “I grew up” poem
-students are to use new and broadened understanding in reanalyzing poem
     -individual SWIFT and submit for summative assessment 
Lesson 12 -MMIW information 
-start reading Helen Betty Osbourne graphic novel 
Lesson 13  -finish Helen Betty Osbourne
-finish questions 
Lesson 14  -discuss questions
     -small group, then large group 
Lesson 15  -fishbowl discussion #3 
Lesson 16  -intro to Drew Hayden Taylor
-split into groups to begin reading and completing response questions for Only Drunks and Children Tell the Truth (ODACTTT)
  -response questions are to be done in an online word doc so multiple group members can contribute to responses
  -group word doc must be shared with the teacher 
Lesson 17  -continue reading ODACTTT in groups 
Lesson 18  -if needed, time to finish reading and completing response questions for ODACTTT
-begin watching “We Were Children” 
  -preview questions prior to beginning movie 
Lesson 19  -continue watching “We Were Children” 
Lesson 20  -finish watching “We Were Children”
-discuss answers in small groups
-discuss answers as a large class group 
Lesson 21  -fishbowl #4 
Optional culminating project  -visual essay 



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