Video Lecture: Irish Immigration to Canada (1815 – 1914)

[vimeo 59424512 w=500 h=375]

Irish Immigration to Canada (1815-1914) from Matt Henderson on Vimeo.

UNLV professor Cian MacMahon visited Winnipeg history teacher Matt Henderson‘s senior history class to talk about Irish immigration to Canada between the War of 1812 and the First World War. The 40’ talk may give some interesting background on today/tomorrow’s Social Class & Immigration section of our Confederation discussions, but also delves into the Rebellions of 1837. 

Matt’s class and blog are consistently great reads for Socials classes in Canada, and anywhere.  Hopefully we find our way toward engaging with his upcoming Canadian Oral History project.

Some Call It Insanity, But I Call It Talons – Kelly

I would be lying if I were to say that each day in Talons was not an adventure.  With teachers like Mr. Jackson and Ms. Mulder, you never really can expect what is going to happen.  Despite how linear a lesson or a unit may go, Talons classes, whether is it because of a student or a teacher, have a way of getting rather side tracked.

In Social Studies, we are studying Louis Riel and the Red River Rebellion.  Basically, the entire Socials 10 curriculum is rather dry, even though Mr. J would try to tell you otherwise.  When my older sister was in grade ten, she would force me to read her textbook to her because it was the only way she could guarantee that she would actually do her readings.  That is how painful the curriculum of a normal classroom is.

But, of course, Talons has never been known as normal.

It is really difficult for a lot of the class to pretend to be really interested in things such as the forming of Manitoba, and it is even harder for the remainder of the class to pretend that they are not irritated by the lack of interest.

And this is where Talons projects are born.

Today Mr. J assigned us a group project of ‘telling the story of the Red River Rebellions’.  And let me assure you, it is not an easy task.  Basically, we were told to use a form of a plot guide to determine which aspects of the rebellions were the most important.  With a lot of fighting within groups and imagination, the magic behind Talons happened, just like it does with every do-pretty-much-whatever-you-want-to-within-the-curriculum project, and sparks flew.  Suddenly a very dry subject came to life, whether it was through baking ‘the cake’ of Manitoba, a photojournalism display, creating word clouds with Wordle, or so many other ideas.

I guess all the reason I criticize Talons half-heartedly are all of the reason that truly make me love the program.  A project originates from an English teacher’s attempt at a lesson plan, which later becomes a song.  An assignment about Manitoba turns into four fifteen-year-olds planning to bake a cake.  Simple ideas take hours to discuss, and complex topics take minutes.

And I wouldn’t want it any other way.