Susan Haynes

Recipient of the 2007 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

May 31, 2010
Susan Haynes accepting her award at Rideau Hall, 2007.

Havergal College, Toronto (Ontario)

Susan Haynes developed Passport to the Past, a project that invites grade 7 students to research and role–play historical figures. Students create a passport, historical costume using household items, and make a link between this individual and themselves. Completion of this project is done with a Heritage Day oral presentation of students passports.

This project stems out of Susan Haynes' first class in which students define the term “history” as it refers to “History is the story of people, places and events in the past that shapes the way we live in the world today.” Using placemats they explore what history means and who tells the story. Students explore different perspectives through a story about a pioneer and fawn. Linking what the story would be like in the past and what would be look like if the descendents of the pioneer and fawn were to write a story about this event.

Susan Haynes explains to the students that this will be the theme of the course from the arrival of the Europeans to 1850. Later this theme reoccurs in a Black Creek Pioneer Village trip where students take on adult roles in a mid–1800's British region. They write journal entries of “A Day in My Life” using details obtained from a self–guided tour of the Village.

Additional projects come up with the War of 1812 lesson. At the end of the course, students do a final reflection choosing three people, three places and three events that they consider most important to understand Canada and using a concept map as a guide write a response to the question being posed.