Parent information regarding Heritage Fair


Updated: Jan. 4/19

Heritage Fair is project based learning that may take place in Grades 4 – 8. Topics are related to Canadian Heritage and must be about a Canadian person, place or event. The best projects are by students with strong interests/passions for their topic AND already have some prior knowledge about theie topic.

The project must clearly show the link between topic and importance to Canadian Heritage. That is, the student needs to be able to tell others information about their topic and demonstrate how and why their topic matters to Canada and Canadians. The student’s opinion needs to be supported by facts and valuable opinions of others.  Inquiry questions help the student dig deeper into learning and presenting.

Here is a fantastic aid to help students develop their own inquiry questions: Inquiry Question Sheet

** We have discovered with our previous 8 years of experience, that students have to be able to tell others the important facts about their topic and tell others why their topic matters to Canadians BEFORE they write. When a student can do this, the writing that follows will be in their own words; it won’t be ‘stuff’ copied from Google and other resources. Understanding will naturally be improved greatly because the student has to be able to talk about it first. AND when presenting the final project, the student already knows all about what they have written –> this makes it possible to develop a very engaging presentation.

Please read this document to better understand the workflow and reasoning why students should do almost all of their writing at school:

Classes usually begin sometime between January and February. Some classes may 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 work at home 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 and other judges to determine who which students move on to represent Ardagh at the Regional Heritage Fair at the Simcoe County Museum. Judging criteria used is the same for all students.  

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; it is MUCH 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 15-20 students. In eight years of participating, eight of our students have earned top honours to be eligible to attend the Provincial Heritage Fair.  Nearly 30% of Ardagh students have earned other awards of distinction. I think this has happened because our students are given opportunities to develop and demonstrate critical thinking in areas of reading & researching, writing, creating and presenting through projects such as this.

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