Sunday, October 21, 2012

Heritage Minutes

When I was growing up in the 90's, Canadian TV had a series of historical minutes shared during commercials. Each minute shared a vital part of Canadian History. Ask any kid who grew up in the era to name even one, and they'd name at least ten. They still air I believe, but nowhere as frequently as before.

They taught us about the Halifax Explosion, Laura Secord, the Bluenose, Avro Arrow,  Jackie Robinson and so many other things.

And every single one ended by saying: "A part of our Heritage".

It's been announced that the collection is growing once again. It's hard to believe they started with 13 short films, expanded to more than 70 and now there will be even more. Most are available online.

While I now lean towards teaching Elementary school, I used to think I'd teach high school History, and I thought it would be neat to use these videos in the classroom.

Have you?
The Historica Institute (who owns and creates the films) has a series of lesson plans available for use. their lessons are labelled for either intermediate (grades 4-8) or secondary (9-12), so none would be useful to me in my ideal classroom in their current state, but there is no reason I can't be influenced by a lesson and modify it to fit the ability and expectations of a lower grade level.

I'd like to match up a few books suitable for younger grades with a few of my favourite heritage minutes.

The Bluenose:

This book tells the story of the unique bond between Captain Walters and his schooner the Bluenose. The ship is a Canadian icon and an icon of nautical competition, unbeaten between 1921 and 1939 in the races for the International Fishermans Cup. Its success galvanized a young nations national pride, and the ship remains an important symbol in Nova Scotia today. Walters skill and devotion to his ship helped the Bluenose hold off all challengers, even at the end of its illustrious career. Sailing for Glory also brings to life the danger and adventure of the life of a North Atlantic fisherman in the days of sail.

Underground Railroad:

The heroic struggles of the thousands of slaves who sought freedom through the Underground Railroad are vividly portrayed in this powerful activity book, as are the abolitionists, free blacks, and former slaves who helped them along the way. The text includes 80 compelling firsthand narratives from escaped slaves and abolitionists and 30 biographies of "passengers," "conductors," and "stationmasters," such as Harriet Tubman, William Still, and Levi and Catherine Coffin. Interactive activities that teach readers how to navigate by the North Star, write and decode a secret message, and build a simple lantern bring the period to life. A time line, reading list, glossary, and listing of web sites for further exploration complete this activity book. The Underground Railroad for Kids is an inspiring story of brave people compelled to act in the face of injustice, risking their livelihoods, their families, and their lives in the name of freedom.


Asport loved the world over and growing in popularity, basketball is fast becoming the winter alternative for soccer for many kids. No wonder: the sport brings together dynamic manoeuvres and fast-paced athletic grace. The third book in the How Sports Work series, How Basketball Works follows the award-winning How Hockey Works, and How Baseball Works. Now author Keltie Thomas and illustrator Greg Hall present a slam dunk look into the science of basketball. Whether readers are fresh on the hoops or pounding the hardwood for a pro career, How Basketball Works will inspire anyone's game. Engaging, energetic text looks at what makes a basketball the shooting, passing and slam-dunking tool it is; the parts of the court; game wear; skills such as the jump shot, passing and blocking shots; and more. The vibrant design comes with humorous illustrations featuring both boys and girls as well as striking photos of pro heroes and heroines past and present. There are "Quick Hit" factoids, "Star" highlights with stories of the pros, "Tips" for improving the player's game, fun "Try This" activities to develop skills and "Legends of the Game" pages. A "Rules and Regs" section and glossary are packed with the lingo and need-to-know information to make any reader an expert at the basics of the game. Ages 8-12.

Flanders Fields

Early on Christmas morning the guns stop firing through the ruined landscape. A young soldier peers through a periscope over the top of the trench. Way out in no man's land, he sees a small red shape moving on the barbed wire. A brightly colored robin is trapped, one wing flapping helplessly. Now in paperback, In Flanders Fields tells the story of a young homesick World War I soldier who risks his life to cross the desolate space and rescue the robin from the barbed wire that separates the opposing forces in their trenches. Brian Harrison-Lever's striking artwork and Norman Jorgensen's dramatic narrative make this an eloquent, moving counterpoint to the senselessness and inhumanity of war.

What books would you match up with any of the over 70 Heritage Minutes?


1 comment:

  1. Thanks for posting this... had totally forgotten about these...remember watching them on TV too! I did use them when I taught grade 6/7...I had a video with the clips on it and a teacher's guide. Now that I've moved down to grade 3, it's been shelved, but you've made me think of revisiting the clips to see which ones might be appropriate for the gr. 3 curriculum.

    Classroom Capers


You Love me, you really love ME!

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...