Between December 7 and 10, our Grade 8s researched Canadian issues pertaining to social justice for their Integration Project. Much like the Grade 7s’ Integration Project
, the Grade 8s worked in small groups to research different perspectives regarding their chosen topic. Each topic required the students to consider it with empathy and compassion. By the end of the week, each group presented their topic to the class and shared how Greenwood students can become allies to the communities affected.
Creating this integration project involved teacher collaboration to provide a challenging opportunity for students. The integrated curriculum included French, English and Canadian Social Studies. Students identified reputable research sources, outlined the “5 W’s” of their events, indicated historical significance of the events, applied their thoughts around Empathy, Equity and Perspective and finally discussed how each student could take social action to become more involved in these important issues. The student conversations tested students' debate, active listening and creative critical thinking skills.
Teachers were impressed by the level of maturity shown by students when discussing such important social issues. The interactions had by students during Integration Week demonstrated caring for others, openness to ideas and an ability to hear the viewpoints of peers in the Grade 8 community at Greenwood.
One of the key imperatives in Greenwood’s new Strategic Plan, Venture Further Together
, is to build a more inclusive space. By integrating social justice into the students’ curriculum, we’re creating an environment that nourishes our students’ empathetic capacity.
Claire Hind, Rachel Scobie and Theo Maceroni focused on Mi’kmaq fishing rights, which drew public attention after violent disputes occurred in 2020. “We’re doing a presentation on all of the different perspectives from the Mi’kmaq, the fishermen and the government,” says Claire. The trio found nuances when they took into consideration the Mi’kmaq’s treaty rights and lobster conservation.
Cory Silverberg, Annie Corrin and Chloe Di Girolamo’s research topic was about the Murdered and Missing Indigenous Women (MMIW). The group felt it was important to give historical context to the issue. Cory, Annie and Chloe discussed how the intersectionality of race and gender also compounds the issue Indigenous women face. “We learned a lot during this project,” says Cory. “I had no idea that this was happening. After learning about how this is happening, I’m going to educate my family.”
Nicholas O’Dwyer, Nathan Glaizel and Alice Celik researched the ongoing debate regarding the pipelines built through Alberta. They discovered the environmental impact of the pipeline project and found ways to be an impactful ally to environmental activists. “You can donate, join a protest and spread the word to people,” Nicholas says “You can also read and watch the news to educate yourself on the topic so you can educate others.”