VICKY: Hi everyone, my name is Vicky Walker and I teach social sciences at Superior Collegiate High School in Thunder Bay, Ontario. Right now we are completing a project on connecting The Tragically Hip with Canadian identity and history. I have four students here: Lauren, Laila, Derek, and Cameron and they are going to talk about their projects and what The Tragically Hip mean to Canadian identity.
LAUREN: My project, I made a website, so that whoever wanted to look at it could listen to The Tragically Hip while seeing how it connected to this history… I just thought it was better to interact than, say, just writing what I thought down.
LAILA: I made a rap about residential schools. I wanted it to be in the mind of a native and what they thought about it.
DEREK: I wrote a report on the value of using analogies to our identity and history and the Tragically Hip and specifically their lyrics. So I gave examples of their lyrics and how they were used. For students, like us, who may think the history is unrelated to their daily lives and they may think why should I learn that, why should I care about that? But with giving an analogy gives much more positive results for our up and coming students.
CAMERON: I took a look at the lyrical content and took Gord Downie’s lyrics that he used to paint a picture and I tried to formulate some ideas and I converted them all to some paintings that I’m really excited about.
VICKY: And we’ve had other students also create paintings and Indigenous identity as well. The students actually completed, as you can tell, a number of styles of projects. Part of the goal was to allow the students the freedom to choose the format they want, so it’s a true collaborative inquiry project. We get students working together, students working independently, and I think it produces some .. allows students the choice and the freedom to really explore Canadian history and identity in a way that actually appeals to them. This allows them to really, truly enjoy studying history in a different manner than has ever been done before.
This is actually a culminating activity that will be concluded at the end of this September and is worth fifteen per cent of their final mark. And they have a chance to revise this and edit this throughout the term until they are happy with the final product.
To connect up with the curriculum expectations there is a significant, overall expectation that students should be able to connect different events throughout Canadian history to examine the development of Canadian identity through that. This is applicable to not only grade ten Canadian academic [history], but can also be used in civics classes or even other courses such as English, art, music, drama.
Later on in the year, we are going to be examining Gord Downie’s Secret Passage through residential schools and looking at Indigenous identity in more depth.
CAMERON: New Orleans
DEREK: I agree and also New Orleans is Sinking is also my favourite.
VICKY: Myself, the David Milgard story, the history and law teacher is coming out.
LAUREN: I would have to choose Ahead By A Century.
VICKY: Oh, that's a good one. We've been pretty immersed in the Hip and watching a lot of Hip songs in class too.