Curriculum Connections

The Educational portion of A City Goes to War is aimed at Social Studies 11 in British Columbia. Other BC curricula do not provide clear connections to the First World War unless local exceptions are permitted. We have provided some advice on connecting other classes to our website, but we could not anticipate every possibility. If you would like any support in connecting this site to your class curriculum please contact Jim Kempling at Social Studies 11 there are three key Prescribed Learning Outcomes (PLOs) directly related to the historical experience of Canada in the First World War.

a. Describe Canada’s military participation in WWI (e.g. Somme, Passchendaele, Vimy Ridge, Ypres, 100 Day Campaign)
b. Relate Canada’s war losses to the nature of warfare (e.g. trench warfare, attrition, submarines)
c. Explain the war’s role on the home front (e.g. “enemy aliens,” conscription, Halifax explosion, Victory Bonds, rationing, War Measures Act)

In addition to the above outlined PLOs there are general PLOs related to the “Skills and Processes of Social Studies.” They are as follows:

a. Apply critical thinking: questioning, comparing, summarizing, drawing conclusions, defending a position
b. Demonstrate effective research skills: accessing information, collecting data, evaluating data, organizing data, presenting information, citing sources
c. Demonstrate effective written, oral and graphical communication skills
d. Demonstrate skills and attitudes of active citizenship,including ethical behavior, open-mindedness, respect for diversity and collaboration

A City Goes to War assumes you have already provided some introductory lectures for your students on the First World War. The historical Facebook profile is meant to augment or enhance what students have already learned by providing concrete local examples for broad themes of the War in Canada.
There are numerous online introductions to the war if you would like to review them with your students. Have a look at the list of websites in our resources section.

We have chosen not to repeat what has been accomplished by other projects, but instead focus on the idiosyncratic experience of Victoria BC during the war. There are several introductory pages on this site under “Canada at War” and “Cities” which outline the historical context of the War in Victoria BC.

We suggest you review the larger issues of the war with your students then have them engage with the historical Facebook profile. This assignment will reinforce the larger issues of the war with specific examples directly related to an individual historic person. It is our belief that students are more likely to remember and draw on these examples if they are personally invested in the process of learning historical facts. This is useful for exercises such as exams; however, is not our primary pedagogical aim.

While dovetailing our project with the current curriculum requirements has been one of our priorities, we have also tried to anticipate changes in the way history is being taught. In the next two or three years the BC curriculum for Social Studies 11 will likely be reviewed and re-written. It is expected that the changes in the curriculum will emphasize “doing and thinking history” as opposed to “knowing history.” See for example, The Historical Thinking Project. Another good source for understanding the changes and debates in History teaching is Penney Clark New Possibilities for the Past: Shaping History Education in Canada (Vancouver: UBC Press, 2011).

These changes are evident in the new curriculums in New Brunswick and Quebec and the growing influence of the The Historical Thinking Project as well as work been done at UBC’s Centre for Historical Consciousness. We encourage students to both, “know” history through traditional lectures or textbooks, but we also strive to make them “do” history by agreeing, disagreeing or formulating new hypotheses based on primary sources.
The pedagogical purpose to having students “do” history is to have them engage with “the cognitive and cultural factors which shape those (historical) understandings, as well as the relations of historical understandings to those of the present and the future.” (Centre for Historical Consciousness: “About: Definition of Historical Consciousness.”).

This site allows students to engage with the raw material of history. Our primary mandate has been to improve access to the primary sources so that students can “do history.” We believe that by allowing students to form their own opinions based on evidence and critical thought they will become better members of Canadian society.

While the BC curricula call for very specific “Prescribed Learning Outcomes,” (PLO) there is flexibility in how teachers can deliver the material in order to achieve certain PLOs. For example, A City Goes to War could fit into the “History 12” curriculum through “The Study of History” section of the curriculum.( See Ministry of Education, “Introduction,” History 12: Integrated Resource Package 2006 (British Columbia Government, 2006), 4, 16 and 18.)
The PLOs of this section are as follows:

a. Analyse historical documents

i. Distinguish between primary and secondary

1. Assess their reliability
2. Bias and point of view
3. Corroborating and conflicting evidence

b. Interpret documents

c. Demonstrate grasp of historical chronology

i. Assess historical events in relation to their social, political economic, technological, cultural and geographic features
ii. Demonstrate historical empathy

d. Skills are meant to be applied throughout the course

These PLOs are meant to be ongoing throughout the course which begins in 1919, but it may be permissible to wedge A City Goes to War into the curriculum by demonstrating how students could engage with the above PLOs in conjunction with the following exceptions:
“Addressing Local Context” (pg. 9)

e. Teachers and students are allowed to deviate from the curriculum to pursue topics of local interest

“Information and Communications Technology” (pg. 12)

f. Digital skills are seen as a key component of secondary education
g. Specifically the curriculum calls for the “finding, gathering, assessing and communicating information using electronic means, as well as developing the knowledge and skills to use and solve problems effectively with the technology.”

“Media Analysis” (pg. 13)

h. Various skills in interpreting explicit and implicit assumptions
i. Understanding who controls the media and how it influences society

If you have any questions or if we can help connect your class with A City Goes to War please contact Jim Kempling at