Magazine article Teach

Teachers Reaching Teachers [with Flying Colours Multimedia Kit]

Magazine article Teach

Teachers Reaching Teachers [with Flying Colours Multimedia Kit]

Article excerpt

Which of the following would most of your students answer correctly, (a) or (b)?

1 (a) What is the corporate symbol for Nike?

(b) What is your province (or territory)'s official flower?

2 (a) What are the lyrics to Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer?

(b) What are the lyrics to O Canada?

3 (a) Complete this motto: "You deserve a...."

(b) Complete this motto: "A Mare Usque...."

4 (a) Name an animal which represents one of your school/local sports teams.

(b) What two animals are portrayed on Canada's national Coat of Arms?

If your class would fare better with the (a) questions than the (b) questions, you're not alone. Elementary and secondary teachers across the country are wrestling with their student's erratic grasp of Canada's history and character. So, they asked Canadian Heritage for help -- for something fresh, flexible, fun -- to use in their classrooms.

Heritage's Canadian Identity Directorate responded by commissioning "With Flying Colours". It's a multimedia kit, designed in consultation with educators from across the country, and with a guide created by a Canadian teacher/writer. It was produced in the spring of 1997, and by mid-July had been requested by and shipped to 11,251 schools across Canada.

"With Flying Colours" contains a video, an audio cassette, a CD-ROM, black-line-master student pages, decals, a poster, and the guide so teachers can use all these resources effectively. The video contains two programs, one for 8-to-11-year-olds, and one for the 12-and-up audience. The cassette has excellent vocal renditions of "O Canada" in English and in French, as well as a lovely instrumental version. These are being heard over an increasing number of school PA systems across the country.

The guide not only introduces teachers to kit components, but also contains dozens of appropriate classroom activities. The kit's components were prepared for students in three age groups: 4 to 7, 8 to 11, and 12 and older. A calendar at the front of the guide also suggests points in the school year at which to use these activities.

Some of the activities require the use of kit materials, but many are standalones, or community-based. The activities for each age group are divided into nine symbol-related themes, including: the flag, the maple leaf, Coats of Arms and O Canada. As well, fun themes like the beaver ("Nice Fur But A Heck of An Overbite") and more subtle topics like our democracy and citizenship ("Being Canadian: Rights and Responsibilities") are offered. "With Flying Colours" was a mammoth undertaking, and Canadian Heritage needed fast feedback on it. In June 1997, the Corporate Review Branch conducted a telephone survey with the approximately 300 teachers who had already received the kit and had a chance to use it.

The results of the survey were both interesting and useful. Although some kits hadn't yet been catalogued or forwarded to teachers, just over one-quarter of those who received the kit had already used it. Of the teachers who hadn't used it, three-quarters had inspected its contents thoroughly. Nearly all the recipients were planning to put it to good use in the fall. The general consensus was that the kit definitely filled a need for educational material about Canada. One French Immersion teacher in Ontario was particularly pleased to get "such good material" in French. The teachers who had used "With Flying Colours" said it was "well-organized, current, comprehensive, easy-to-use and appropriate for different age groups". They felt its quality was "great", and liked its multimedia format. …

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