Telling Stories: Narratives of Nationhood

   Home      Lesson Plans        Introduction     Français 

Picturing Canada: Canadian Symbol and Myth

 Related Lesson Plans
Introduction

Robert Harris: Rt. Hon. Sir John A. Macdonald

Yvon Gallant: Afterbirth/ La délivre

Armand Vaillancourt: Song of the Nations

As artists have created work that documents the times and places they have lived, some images of things, places, people, and events have become part of a more general Canadian sense of cultural and national identity.

These images have come to have more meaning than is apparent on the surface. They have become symbols. In other words, the images not only represent themselves, they also stand for something else. For example, some of our Canadian coins depict images of the beaver or the maple leaf. These images stand for the country and for nationhood; they are symbols of Canada.

Nationhood and nationalism are difficult words to define. Artists use symbols to talk about what these words and ideas mean, to talk about what Canada and being Canadian mean to them. Symbols are used in art to explore what is distinctive about the Canadian experience and what is important in Canadian history. Symbols help tell the story of a nation, its people, its environment, and its history. They communicate beliefs, attitudes, and aspirations, showing how a nation represents itself both to its own citizens and to other nations.

Nature, people, places, and events can all be sources for symbols. And symbols can be used in different ways. Sometimes they make people laugh, sometimes they make people think, and sometimes they make people question.


Integrated Learning Units Related to "Picturing Canada: Canadian Symbol and Myth"

A Sense of Community
Grade(s): 1
In this unit students will discuss community; create a simple design of community; create their own community square; create a collage; discuss tartan designs; design a tartan; discuss hats; create hats; discuss leisure time and activities; create drawing; create a class play; have a class meal; and reach out to people in the community.

Celebrating Canada
Grade(s): 4
In this unit students will discuss and define: nation and symbols, such as the national flag, the national anthem and the symbolic role of music; discuss local and national events and festivals; and research festivals.

A Child: Past and Present Rich and Poor
Grade(s): 9
In this unit students will have class and group discussions; use maps; share experiences; research on internet; take photographs; make an exhibit; write; read poem; view artwork; create dramatic piece; create posters; organize presentation; and keep a log.

Outside...North of the 49th Parallel
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will have class and group discussions; research artists; make charts; create drawings; view art work; make collages; and mount a display.

Once Upon a Time...
Grade(s): 2, 3
In this unit students will view artwork; have class discussions; write collaborative stories; make a painting or drawing; analyse and write advertisements; and use drawing software.

That's Entertainment
Grade(s): 2
In this unit students will view artworks, have class discussions, make graphs, visit a website, make puppets, create posters, organize a games fair, and display their work.

Eyes From The Past
Grade(s): 11, 12
In this unit students will view artworks, have group and class discussions and note results, make drawings, and create portraits.

Impact on Your Essence
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view artwork, make drawings, conduct photo research, create a mask, have class discussions, and perform while wearing their mask.

Eye of the Icon
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have class and group discussions, conduct research, record findings, create a visual image, create a sculpture, recall an oral legend, conduct interviews, and tell stories.

Moving Pictures
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view artwork, have class and group discussion, conduct research, write, make a visual representation, share findings, make sketches, and choose and listen to music.

Design Your Life!
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view artwork, have class discussion, analyse and note interpretations, make a collage, make a sketch, display their work, write an assessment, and write a poem or prose description.

Family Portraits
Grade(s): 10, 11
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussions, conduct research, form and draw a still life, create a family portrait, take a digital image and alter it, conduct interviews, use significant family or other artifact to reflect family culture, form a story circle, and write response to art work.

Creative Communication
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will create a sketchbook or journal, conduct internet research, write in their journals, have class and group discussion, create a series of images, view art work, write a short one act play, perform and video their plays, read letters, write communications, and display their work.

The Mystique of the Artist
Grade(s): 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, create a bag to hold their supplies, conduct internet research, exhibit their work with a written statement, have class discussion, make sketches, floor plans and models, write a character sketch, create a short video, conduct interviews and present findings, and host guest speaker

Women's Role in the Mi'kmaq Community Long Ago
Grade(s): 5
In this unit students will view artwork, have class discussion, make model, design and make Talking Stick, hold a Talking Circle, and write and share diary entries.

The Voice of the Individual
Grade(s): 1
In this unit students will view art work, design calling cards, have class discussion, make art supply kits, display their work, document an imaginary trip, present their work, create sculpted self-portraits, create a class play, create a visual letter, create a song, begin a pen-pal relationship, and make a class sketch book.

Painting Faces
Grade(s): 4, 5
In this unit students will view art work, have class and group discussion, write a short biography, conduct research, analyse and enact portrait, write interpretation, and create a self-portrait

Real-life History
Grade(s): 4, 5
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, compile and display artifacts, write letters, conduct research, prepare a survey, conduct interviews, write synopsis, collect photos, plan a tour of community, create a display, and visit cemetery and do tombstone etchings.

We are Reflections of Canada _ Our People, Our Places, and Our Landscape
Grade(s): 6
In this unit students will view artwork, have class and group discussion, read poem, make and decorate outline of feet, display work, conduct internet research, share results with class, write an interpretation, make sketches, compile survey questions, survey seniors, make graphs, develop a newsletter, keep a learning journal, and display their artwork.

Symbols of Canada
Grade(s): 6
In this unit students will view artwork, go on field trip, make sketches, press pants or leaves, display their work, make drawings on computer, have group and class discussion, write a character sketch, write a journal entry, create landscape drawing, create and share stories, create a mural, conduct internet research, decorate classroom, and write an advertisement.

Big Things: Public Symbols in Canada
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view artwork, have class and group discussion, search publications, write summaries, write commission proposals, write a letter, create a maquette, and construct a model of a sculpture.

Indi/Visual
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view art work, have class and group discussion, produce photo essays, conduct internet research, read descriptions of landscape, look at illustrated children's books, and present their work.

Time Zone
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view artwork, conduct research, have class discussion, conduct internet research, make presentations, create an exhibition in the form of a collage, write captions, and write journal responses.

Contemporary: An Alternative Magazine
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, publish a magazine, decorate a box to use as their magazine cover, make notes on artworks, present notes to class, create detailed images, bind images, make beads, create chains, write poetry, fiction, reviews, conduct interviews, and present completed magazines to the class in a story circle.

Us and Them
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view artwork, write descriptions, have class discussion, create posters, create paintings, create sketches, create collages, write poetry, write journal entries, write stories, compile results, and display their work.

Technology as Change: The Atlantic Canada Fishery
Grade(s): 9
In this unit students will view artwork, have group and class discussion, chart ideas, make drawings, conduct research, conduct internet research, present their findings, have debate, write journal entries, and display their work.

The Importance of Scribbling and Doodling
Grade(s): 9
In this unit students will view artwork and textual material, write journal entries, have class discussion, keep audio journals, keep video journals, read novels, and contribute to their sketchbooks.

Flower Power
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, make drawings, write a report, display their work, conduct research, participate in creative visualization, take a field trip, explore natural surroundings, make notes, collect plants, and make journal entries.

Canadian Winters
Grade(s): 6
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, compile information, create mosaics, exhibit their work, tour the exhibition, write newspaper articles, present their work, compile a class newspaper, conduct internet research, label maps, draw maps, decorate maps with pictures, host a guest speaker, and organize a winter sport/activity for the school.

The Nationalism Project
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, do newspaper research, present their observations, conduct research, present their findings, create sketches of flags, create flags, and display their work.

Documents of Diversity
Grade(s): 8
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, compile recipes, share recipes, write biographies, conduct research, display their work, host an artist or performer to the class, design a questionnaire, interview recent immigrant, tape record or video tape interview, create an inventory of significant landmarks, create a walking tour pamphlet, and publish their work on the web.

Mirror, Mirror
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view artwork, have group and class discussion, write answers to questions, draw portraits, conduct research, draw to scale, paint portraits, and display their work.

You Are What You Wear
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view photos, have group and class discussion, conduct research, chart their findings, write word portraits, create dialogues of conversation, view clothing advertisements, and design poster advertisements.

Art and Sole
Grade(s): 1
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, create small busts of themselves, participate in creative movement, dance in a circle, make drawings, plan a special meal, host guests to the classroom, serve food, perform songs or poems, have a simple meal, and design and decorate shoes.

Acadie - Alive and Well!
Grade(s): 3, 4, 5, 6
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, write stories, share stories with class, collect stories in community, create an old-fashioned radio show, make a mural, listen to music, and write letters.

Where Canada Began
Grade(s): 3
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, review promotional material, make posters, take pictures, compose songs, prepare a presentation, conduct research, write letters, make large sketches, make a visual tableau, and display work.

Canadian Landscapes
Grade(s): 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct internet research, record their results, present their work, take digital pictures, make a landscape painting, and create a slide show display on the computer of their work.

We are Canadian!
Grade(s): 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, compile lists, share their work, prepare presentations in the media of their choice, constructively critique artworks, write poetry, and create a web page.

Atlantic Canadian Culture
Grade(s): 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct research, play a trivia game, present their findings orally or visually, conduct internet research, make journal entries, plan for a multicultural fair, make a drawing, and display their work.

Castle Builder
Grade(s): 5
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, conduct research, make journal entries, design castles, make drawings to scale, make papier-mâché castles, and plan a medieval fair.

Children of Yesteryear
Grade(s): 5
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, write a short piece, conduct internet research, create a fashion timeline, play games, write letters, make paints, make paintings, write artist's statements, have field trip to local historical village, and host senior visitor in class.

What is Canadian?
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct internet research, plan and create an artwork, analyse artwork, make sketchbook or journal entries, produce abstract sculpture, hold a debate, interpret messages, and exhibit their work.

Through the Looking Glass
Grade(s): 10, 11
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, construct time-lines, compile photos, conduct research, share their experiences, create self-portraits, keep a journal, take photos, make photomontages, write poetry, display their work, and participate in peer assessment.

The Four Seasons
Grade(s): 1, 2
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, make pictures, write poems, display their work, chart responses, look at books, play charades, and take a field trip.

Community and Me
Grade(s): 1, 2
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, listen to stories, write themes, make notes, conduct interviews, graph results, chart findings, and plan a career day

The Sexton and the Compass
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct research, make drawings, present findings, draw maps, display their work, create a board games, and role play

Totem Poles - Storytellers of Long Ago
Grade(s): 3
In this unit students will view art work, have class discussion, make drawings, conduct research, share their findings, write stories, role play, and design and make totem pole models

Acadians Through the Portrait
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, make sketches, conduct internet research, improvise dialogue, make time lines, and have a debate

Change
Grade(s): 10, 11, 12
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct internet research, present their work orally or in writing, conduct research, and make journal entries

Tools and Methods of Work
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, share their findings, conduct internet research, invent machines, make drawings or paintings, and prepare an exhibition

What Is Me?
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have discussion, conduct research, make posters, share their findings, hold a debate, create personal crests, display their work, and create masks

Our Fledgling Society
Grade(s): 7, 8, 9
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, write journal entries, write a response, take photos, make booklets, make collages, conduct internet research, conduct research, write captions, and write letters to a pen pal.

Something Fishy
Grade(s): 4
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, present their findings, play math version of Go Fish game, make drawings, make prints, display their work, go on a field trip, and start an aquarium

Exploring Confederation
Grade(s): 10, 11
In this unit students will view art work, have group and class discussion, conduct research, present their findings, conduct internet research, participate in a debate, role play, perform monologues, create a tableau, write speeches or monologues, paint a mural, perform in period dress, video tape presentation, write a visionary document, host speaker to class, conduct interviews, write essay, make sketches, make drawings, and keep a visual log or journal.

Robert Harris, the Artist, the Person
Grade(s): 10,11,12
This brief biography provides a chronological account of the life of Robert Harris. Additionally, various self-portraits accompany this overview to illustrate the changes in the artist throughout his rich life.