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Laura Secord School, Winnipeg, Manitoba
Elementary teacher Jacqueline Cleave wants to help her students make sense of the world around them and to equip them with the skills and knowledge they need to be engaged citizens. Cleave led a project to make the Truth and Reconciliation Commission’s ninety-four calls to action more accessible to younger learners. Working together over a two-year period, students in three classes explored the calls to action, researched the issues they address, and then rewrote them in child-friendly language.
The students visited the Canadian Museum for Human Rights, spoke with Indigenous leaders, and conducted their own research to learn more about the history and legacy of colonization and the residential school system and to better understand the need for reconciliation. At the end of the project, the students published a book, Answering the Calls: A Child’s View of the 94 Calls to Action, which features the original and child-friendly texts as well as art and poetry contributed by the students.
Learning about the Truth and Reconciliation Commission of Canada, spending a year wrestling with its findings, and helping to produce a resource to share with schools and libraries propelled students and their school community to move forward on a lifetime journey of reconciliation.
Nominations for the Governor General's History Award for Excellence in Teaching are accepted all year round.