By Janet Lee, University of Toronto
Led by professors Marie-Hélène Brunet & Rose Fine-Meyer, and including four graduate students Tifanie Valade, Janet Lee, Manouchka Otis, and Béatrice de Montigny from the University of Ottawa and the University of Toronto, the Framing Our Past 2.0 team was assembled to make an important intervention in history teaching in classrooms. Seeing the scarcity of women’s perspectives in the curriculum and a lack of free, quality resources for public school teachers the team set out to use the ground-breaking historical anthology “Framing Our Past: Constructing Canadian Women’s History in the Twentieth Century” edited by Sharon Anne Cook, Lorna McLean and Kathryn O’Rourke (2006) in order to develop history lesson plans for Canadian history educators. Each lesson plan covers a different historical topic, with lessons in both French and English on topics ranging from the contributions of women journalists to the advent of household technology and electrification. While drawing primarily from the Framing Our Past anthology, the team conducted additional research to gather the most informative and pedagogically effective primary and secondary sources. Keeping in mind learners of different learning modalities our team included many visual, auditory, and multimodal sources. The lessons reflect a plurality of women’s experiences considering the intersections of race, class, and settler status. Furthermore, the team was committed to developing lessons that encouraged transformative learning by connecting historical content to contemporary issues.
One of the most important considerations for our team was making the lesson plans comprehensive for teachers. This meant providing clear connections to curriculum as well as creating classroom tools such as charts, graphic organizers, and activity descriptions. The work was collaborative, with researchers from diverse identities and fields of expertise working together to suggest improvements and additions to each lesson. At the annual OWHN conference October 2022, Framing Our Past team members Janet and Tifanie were able to present a glimpse into the process of research and planning involved in a forthcoming secondary school-level lesson on women’s experiences and the war. The feedback that the team received from members of OWHN was invaluable as it allowed us to modify lessons and reassess what educators might want from the project. Presenting at the conference also allowed the team to do critical outreach and involve several public-school teachers in the lesson planning and dissemination process. We thank OWHN for their substantial support and look forward to publishing our lessons in the coming year.