In this challenge, students select stories for inclusion in a collection of short stories to help other students learn about and become interested in Alberta's dynamic history. In preparation for this challenge, assemble a variety of engaging fiction and nonfiction short stories about Alberta's past (see References). To successfully meet the curriculum outcomes, gather and share a wide variety of quality stories that represent the range of cultural and linguistic groups in Alberta's history; e.g., Francophone, First Nations, Métis, Inuit, British, European immigrants, other immigrants. Over the course of the inquiry, encourage the class to read and recommend any additional stories and explain their choices.
Discuss, with students, what the stories they have read taught them about the people and places that have shaped Alberta's history. Invite students to imagine they are assembling a collection of stories that would help other students learn about and become interested in the history of Alberta. Together, discuss what makes a story interesting and educational. Encourage students to identify features of stories they have learned from and enjoyed. From this discussion, develop a list of criteria for inclusion, such as:
- educational; e.g., learned about Alberta's past
- exciting or important conflict
- impressive characters
- interesting event
- tells the story of people who are not always represented.
Assign different stories to students to rate, individually or in small groups, according to the agreed-upon criteria. Consider adapting the charts and strategies described in Considering Options (Support Material) to structure and assess this activity.
After they have rated several books, ask each group to recommend one or two stories for inclusion in the collection and to provide reasons for their choice. Consider adapting the charts and strategies described in Justifying My Choice (Support Material) to structure and assess their logic.
Encourage students to share the stories they have read and discuss ways the stories or events are connected to their life or their community; e.g., Francophones living in the area, students with relatives who have experienced similar events.
Invite students to ask family or community members about stories in their past that might parallel those the students have been reading. Create a sharing time each week called Stories from Our Past, where students relate stories of their family or community's past. You may want to invite students to prepare a written account. Post students' stories on a class website or share them orally in class.
Note: Over the course of the inquiry, encourage the class to read and recommend additional stories and explain their choices.