Heritage Fair is project based learning that may take place in Grades 4 – 8. Topics are related to Canadian Heritage and can be about a Canadian person, place or event. Without a doubt, the best projects are ones where the student has a strong interest/passion for the topic AND already has some prior knowledge about the topic. The project must clearly show the link between topic and importance to Canadian Heritage. That is, the student needs to be able to write/discuss why their topic matters to Canada and Canadians. The student’s opinion needs to be supported by facts and other opinions of value. Other inquiry questions help the student dig deeper into learning and presenting about their topic.
Classes begin sometime between November and February. Some classes decide to provide other options for students such as Science Fair, Genius Hour and other project based learning opportunities.
Completion tends to take 2-3 weeks of regular classroom work time (research and writing and presentation planning) with 1 week of at home work time (typically this is to finalize/’prettify’ the final appearance of the project.) The top projects from participating classes have the opportunity to present to Ardagh Bluff’s Principals to determine who will move on to represent Ardagh at the Regional Heritage Fair.
Research ability evolves over time. During the initial years, Mr. Greg Harris, Teacher Librarian will provide many reliable websites and book resources for students. It is not worthwhile for students to spend excessive time looking for information but more worthwhile for students to collect reliable information from these sites and work with it. As time goes on, Advanced Google Searches and use of Archives is developed. By Grade 8 most students should be able to find reliable information on their own quickly with some support (e.g., Statistics Canada and Archives.) Parents and guardians are welcome and invited to help their children find/gather information.
The writing and transferring of thinking into writing for the majority of the project should take place at school. The reasoning is regular conferencing between student and teacher allows the teacher to provide feedback regarding critical thinking, reading, planning, and writing. Providing feedback and assessment throughout the process is a valuable part of the conferencing and learning process. When the writing takes place at home these learning opportunities are lost.
In April, some students have the opportunity to present at the Simcoe County Museum in the Regional Heritage Fair. Traditionally, Ardagh Bluffs sends about 20 students. In 6 years of participating, four of our students have earned top honours to be eligible to attend the Provincial Heritage Fair. 20 – 30% of Ardagh students have earned other awards of distinction. This reflects the ability to demonstrate tremendous critical thinking, creating, writing, researching and presenting abilities through this project on behalf of our students.
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