Alison England and Karen Wight

Recipients of the 2009 Governor General's Award for Excellence in Teaching Canadian History

November 1, 2009
Canada's History speaks to Alison England and Karen Wight about their classroom project, which explores the history of ranching in Longview, Alberta.

Longview School, Longview (Alberta)

“Celebrating our Ranching History, a Longview Community Project” is Karen Wight and Alison England's inquiry-based research project for grade one, five and seven. Karen and Alison believe in the importance of embracing our stories and the people who created them.

Their unit features the Longview community's vibrant ranching history, focusing on the ranch brands and the brand histories. Karen and Alison's students work collaboratively to create questionnaires, conduct interviews and experience a working cattle ranch. Students interacted with guest speakers, local historians, performers and story-tellers from the community. They then showcased their project by planning, organizing and hosting a school and community event, “Party 'til the Cows Come Home”. A pancake breakfast was followed by interactive games based on a ranching theme, an authentic chuckwagon lunch and an afternoon showcase of western entertainment.

Students then shared their learning through an original song, slideshow, speeches and the unveiling of a completed display board dedicated to Longview's ranching history. A website is under development to share this local history with a broader audience.