Laurie Cassie and Sharon Moy

Recipients of the 2014 Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching

November 3, 2014
Canada's History speaks to Laurie Cassie and Sharon Moy about their history project centered around John McLay's novel, On Mountain Rock.

David Livingstone Elementary School, Vancouver (British Columbia)

Laurie Cassie and Sharon Moy created an exceptional journey for their student to explore the history of Canada. Their students come from a wide range of cultural backgrounds. Laurie and Sharon wanted their students to learn reading and writing skills while at the same time building on their background knowledge of Canadian history. Through a blended humanities program based on social studies and literature, the pair used the novel On Mountain Rock and asked students to answer the essential question “How does author John McLay bring Jasper in 1954 to life?”

To answer this question students had visits from guest speakers, examined documents and diaries, and watched video clips. Students designed their own display boards for the public. The culmination of the project included an eight day trip by train to Jasper where they displayed their research for the community with the support of Parks Canada. The combination of experiencing the natural beauty of Canada, travelling by train and connecting history with an engaging novel developed a sense of appreciation for and understanding of Canadian history.