E-mail: help@ohfa.ca

Heritage Fairs
and the Ontario Curriculum

Making the Historica Fairs program an integral part of your social studies, history and geography programs is an excellent way to ensure that students “acquire the fundamental knowledge and skills that will enable them to carry out increasingly complex investigations”.
(The Ontario Curriculum Social Studies Grades 1to 6 History and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004, p.14)

The research/inquiry/problem solving process is an integral part of the Historica Fairs program and provides students with a chance to reinforce their understanding of the knowledge and skills taught in the classroom. “Many educators have found that student learning improves when schools adopt a consistent model of inquiry and research across all grades and subjects.”
(Literacy for Learning The Report of the Expert Panel on Literacy in Grades 4 to 6 in Ontario, 2004, p.36)

The chart below describes in more depth how Heritage Fairs promote the cross-curricular and integrated learning goals of the guidelines.

The Ontario Curriculum
Social Studies Grades 1 to 6 History
and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004
Heritage Fairs
Teaching Approaches
Teaching Approaches

Teachers must provide grade and age appropriate activities that encourage mastery of basic concepts and the development of inquiry/research skills. Furthermore, student learning should transfer into the world outside the classroom, allowing students to make connections to wider issues and problems.Consideration should be given to including guest speakers, as well as visits to local museums, archaeological digs, geographic features, art galleries and festivals.

(The Ontario Curriculum, Social Studies 1 to 6 History and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004, p.14)

The planning skills, processing skills and the processes themselves are taught and assessed throughout the school year. The Heritage Fair program provides motivation and opportunity for the application of research and inquiry skills. The Fairs model encourages teachers to celebrate processes used in class by taking research outcomes to a public venue for students to share their results and receive recognition for their products. Field trips and guest speakers enrich the research process and often are an excellent source of primary sources.

and Integrated Learning
and Integrated Learning

Teachers should ensure that all students have ample opportunities to explore a subject from multiple perspectives by emphasizing cross-curricular learning and integrated learning.Students need to be provided with opportunities to learn and use related content and/or skills in two or more subjects.Students need to be provided with opportunities to work towards meeting expectations from two or more subjects within a single unit, lesson, or activity.

(The Ontario Curriculum, Social Studies 1 to 6 History and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004, p.14,15)

Heritage Fair projects are multi-dimensional. Students use a variety of primary and secondary sources from appropriate disciplines during the research and inquiry process and then incorporate oral, written and visual communication tools such as graphs, charts, maps, original primary sources, artwork, to communicate the results of their research. Role playing and technology presentations are also encouraged. Teachers can build mandatory requirements that meet specific expectations from any number of subjects into the completion of research.

Literacy, Numeracy and Inquiry/Research Skills
Literacy, Numeracy and Inquiry/Research Skills

Many of the activities and tasks students undertake should involve the use of written, oral and visual communication skills. The curriculum also builds on and reinforces certain aspects of the mathematics curriculum. In all grades students will develop their ability to ask questions and to plan investigations to answer those questions. They need to learn a variety of research methods in order to carry out their investigations.

(The Ontario Curriculum, Social Studies 1 to 6 History and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004, p.17,18)

Oral, written and visual communication skills are at the forefront during Heritage Fairs preparation and performance. Students practice these skills constantly while discussing their topics, collecting their research data, sorting, organizing and choosing their story messages and in the telling of their stories. Mathematical skills are reinforced during the research process as students study and analyse graphs, charts and diagrams, utilize mathematical data and/or communicate their research results using similar mathematical tools. Questions are the beginning of any research or inquiry process. Students will develop their questioning techniques as they focus and plan their research and organize interviews. Students will learn to refine their questions as they proceed with their investigations. Jot notes, information retrieval charts, KWL charts are only a few of the organizational tools, students can use to organize and collect their research findings. The use of multiple primary and secondary sources in print and media and the proper identification of such sources are built into the Heritage Fairs assessment process.

Role of Technology in Social Studies, History and Geography 
Role of Technology in Social Studies, History and Geography 

Information and communications technology can be used to connect students to other schools, at home and abroad, and to bring the global community into the local classroom. Whenever appropriate, students should be encouraged to use ICT to support and communicate their learning.

(The Ontario Curriculum, Social Studies 1 to 6 History and Geography Grades 7 and 8, 2004, p.18)

Internet research is becoming more and more relevant. The Canadian Encyclopedia is an excellent research tool. It is relevant and reliable and has a junior edition for younger and less able readers. It also provides links to other reliable internet sources on the same topics. Over 200 Video Minutes cover a wide-range of topics from exploration of Canada to Canadian sports heroes. These short videos can be used for inspiration as well as another research source. Technology is often an important feature of the presentation methods employed by students communicating their research results. Word processing, powerpoint presentations, graphics, animation, video production are examples of the creative and unique presentation methods used by students at Heritage Fairs.

Antidiscrimination Education in Social Studies, History, and Geography
Antidiscrimination Education in Social Studies, History, and Geography

The learning activities used to teach the curriculum should be inclusive in nature, and should reflect diverse points of view and experiences to enable students to become more sensitive to the experiences and perceptions of others. Students also learn that protecting human rights and taking a stand against racism and other expressions of hatred and discrimination are essential components of responsible citizenship.Students are expected to demonstrate an understanding of the rights, privileges, and responsibilities of citizenship, as well as willingness to show respect, tolerance, and understanding towards individuals, groups, and cultures in the global community and respect and responsibility towards the environment.

(Ontario Curriculum Social Studies 1-6 History and Geography 7-8 – 2004 p.17)

The Heritage Fair Program encourages students to ‘tell their story’. As the student learns about Canadian History in its various forms they are encouraged to make connections to their own lives and the lives of those they know. Many Heritage Fairs include Citizenship Ceremonies which reinforce the rights and responsibilities of citizenship.When students hear about and witness the lives of others they better understand the world around them. When they learn about the past through textbooks and hear it through speakers and see it through archival footage, or hear it from a neighbour or friend, tolerance and understanding builds. The Heritage Fair Program offers opportunities for students from all across Ontario and the nation to gather to share their stories. Students are urged to engage in research that unfolds the stories of the text. As students learn about the past, and apply it to the present they are better prepared to deal with the future. Authentic learning takes place and leaves its mark.



Flora Fung has developed some great resources for teachers of grade 10 who would like to involve their students in the Heritage Fairs program. 
Click on the links below to download her curriculum resources.