Conference 2017


Friday October 20, 2017

Vancouver Technical Secondary

Our Conference Theme this year is

Making History: Perspectives on Historical Thinking in the Revised Social Studies Curriculum


 Workshop Proposals, Exhibitors and Sponsors: Apply HERE

The BCSSTA is proud to announce our Keynote  speakers as

Gwynne Dyer

Gwynne Dyer is an historian and independent journalist, has published several books and has had his articles widely syndicated for many years.



Fabio López Lázaro

Fabio López Lázaro is an associate professor at the University of Hawaii. Since 2013 he has been the Editor-in-chief of the Journal of World History and Director of the University’s Centre for Research in World History. Prof. López Lázaro’s research investigates archival evidence for the medieval and early modern maritime, commercial, and imperial connections between the Mediterranean, northern Europe, and the world. The focus of his most recent book and articles has been the analysis of how the close relationships between seventeenth-century capitalists, empire-builders, and maritime predators (“pirates” and “privateers”) were instrumental to the creation of the world’s network of modern states and corporations.






Mark Leier

Mark Leier is an award winning Labour Historian at Simon Fraser University. His research interests include: the history of anarchism, labour, and contemporary issues. He has written on the IWW, labour bureaucracy, a labour spy, and the anarchist Michael Bakunin to study popular movements and ideas on the left.

Roxanne Panchasi

Roxanne Panchasi is an award-winning associate professor of History at Simon Fraser University. Her areas of interest cover a wide range of cultural objects and moments from the French past. Her early research included subjects as diverse as the emergent science of handwriting analysis in nineteenth-century France and the “uncanny” rehabilitation of wounded soldiers during and after World War I. She teaches a range of subjects at the undergraduate and graduate levels including courses on modern Europe, modern France, and historical methods. She also regularly teaches in the Honours program in History.


Here are the arguments of the keynotes – food for thought!

Narrative is important. All historians recognise that without it, events cannot have context and meaning. The broader the context, however, the more detail must be omitted, and the less accurate the narrative becomes. This deters people from offering very broad interpretations of history that might expose them to attack, and such interpretations are understandably rare in high school history curriculums. But teachers are free to offer them in the classroom, and I think they should – with appropriate warnings about their fallibility, of course.

Does history matter any more? Undergraduate enrollment in history is dropping at universities across North America and history departments are losing faculty positions. In response history departments are highlighting the skills of research, critical thinking, and writing. But these skills are taught in virtually every discipline in faculties of arts and social science and there is nothing extraordinary about the craft of the historian. After all, we expect the baker to know how to mix ingredients, the tailor to sew a straight seam, the carpenter to get things plumb and level. What does matter is the last of the six historical concepts outlined by Peter Siexas and Tom Morton, the “ethical dimension,” and this talk will suggest teachers and other historians make the value of radical democracy the primary building block of our work.

In a 2002 article that appeared in “Perspectives of History: The Newsmagazine of the American Historical Association,” the association’s then-President Lynn Hunt offered her objections to two forms of “presentism”: “(1) the tendency to interpret the past in presentist terms; and (2) the shift of general historical interest toward the contemporary period and away from the more distant past.” Presentism is bad (for) history, right? In my History teaching, however, making thoughtful, critical connections between past and present is one of my most important “educational goals”. So what are the differences between the forms of presentism that might lead our students astray, and the types of engagement with “the now” (and here!) that enhance- and are enhanced by -historical learning? What are the constructive possibilities of past-present thinking in the History classroom, and what are some specific examples of exercises/assignments that work this set of skills?


My talk examines the commonplace characterisation of historical investigations as a “soft science,” in comparison to “hard sciences” such as chemistry. Instead of focusing on the history of this characterisation, the question I tackle is the heuristic, epistemic, and political distortion caused in most people’s minds by this misleading characterisation. I challenge this by offering a reflection on the way all sciences require the analysis of evidence of events-over-time, a thinking process which constitutes, in my understanding, the essential diachronic requirement for any philosophy of History as a meaningful discipline. Science, all science, is therefore simply impossible without historical investigation, even if it is performed in the context of “hard science’s” typical activity of controlled experimentation, an activity which is an impossibility for historians to perform—so most would say—and which, moreover, one might be justified in characterising as the archetype of our society’s deeply embedded modernism. Taken together, these two observations indicate that the stakes inherent to such widespread characterisations are high. I end by exploring the political consequences of the distortion of History as a scientific discipline for the intellectual lives of practitioners of “Social Sciences,” “Social Studies,” and the “Arts and Humanities,” and for our social lives as citizens of a troubled globe.



Here’s the Schedule for the Day – check out the Panel Discussion!

8:00 – 8:45am Registration & Package Pick up Exhibitor Hall and Registration Desks
8:45 – 9:00am Opening Statements & Introduction of Executive Main Auditorium
9:00 –   10:30 Mark Leier, Roxanne Panchasi, Fabio Lopez-Lazaro, Gwynne Dyer Keynotes & Panel Main Auditorium
10:45 – 12:00 Q&A with Keynotes


Morning Workshops

Main Auditorium



12:00-1:15 Book signing & LUNCH

AGM in staff cafeteria

Cafeteria, Staff Cafeteria (AGM) and Exhibitor Hall
1:15-2:30 Afternoon Workshops Classrooms
2:30 – 2:45pm Closing and Prize Draw Main Auditorium
Après Social

AND Here’s the Workshop schedule (with room numbers in case you forget where you’re going)!!


                             WORKSHOP SESSION: A     (10:45AM to 12:00PM)


“Comfort Women” & Violence Against Women in War & Peace – Mini Unit for New Draft 10 -12 BC Curriculum           

Students will learn about the issue of “Comfort Women” and look at the issue through the lens of colonial, military, state, race, class and gender oppression. Since the 1990s, the “Comfort Women” issue has been at the forefront of the global movement combating violence against women during times of war and peace.

Brenda Ball & Thekla Lit   ROOM: 406


BC History Mobile Museum

Highlights of the presentation include:

Large extensive visually engaging displays

Power Point Presentation, Hands-on area and Question Period

BC Aboriginal Timeline with First Nations Mapping and Traditional Territories

Tool Technology used by Aboriginal peoples in the Pacific Northwest

Discussion of early Fur Trade exchanges with explorers and Aboriginals exploring Trade, Bartering, Monetary Systems

Authentic early Pioneer, Gold Rush and Railway worker artifacts

Authentic First Nation Aboriginal artifacts including: arrowheads & tools, stone & glass beads, wood and fiber perishable artifacts including carvings, basketry and much more!


Tony Hardie  ROOM: LIBRARY


Developing Humanitarian Thinkers: Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL)

Young people are increasingly affected by today’s armed conflicts and stories of humanitarian crises.  The Canadian Red Cross Exploring Humanitarian Law (EHL) resource educates students about international humanitarian law, the rules of war that ensure respect for life and human dignity.  This workshop presents teachers with an adaptable, easy-to-use toolkit, encouraging critical-thinking and dialogue on issues such as child soldiers, weapons technology, and refugees.  You’ll discover the importance of rights and protections for those impacted by war while taking part in a hands-on group activity: planning a refugee camp.  You’ll walk away with lesson plans and new curriculum maps linking EHL to Social Studies 10, Asian Studies 11, 20th Century History 11, Social Justice 12, Genocide Studies 12, and Law 12.  This workshop is presented by the Canadian Red Cross with support from the Government of Canada.

Joanne Abshire & Danielle Zagar  ROOM: 414


Integrating The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts Into Mobile Games and Interactive Stories Through Participatory Design     

This session presents different strategies for integrating the Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts with location-based games and interactive stories using participatory design. Explore how students can create mobile media activities that connect local histories and significant places to current issues. See examples of how classes have researched digital archives and personal histories to create immersive digital projects. Create your own simple story using the desktop editor. Strategies for creating inquiry-based companion activities will also be presented.

Craig Brumwell   ROOM: 413


Model UN Debate as a Social Studies Strategy

The process of Model UN (MUN) Debate will be introduced using presentation, an interactive method and a question and answer session. Participants will be introduced to the benefits of MUN for students and a Model UN debate session on a topical issue will take place. The workshop will use proper Rules of Procedure and introduce key points about research, position papers, process of debate and debate resolution. A backgrounder and pertinent materials will be provided. MUN-style debate can be used across subjects and grades. No experience in MUN is needed for this workshop.

Deirdre Moore     ROOM: 407


Reconciliation between Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth through participation in reciprocal exchanges

To reconcile and to establish mutually respective relationship between Indigenous and non-Indigenous people, we have to acknowledge the historical truths of the residential school system.  One method of reconciliation is participation in reciprocal youth exchange programs.  Youth spend one week in each other’s community and learn their traditions and customs. The reciprocal youth exchange program exposes youth to intercultural understanding within Canada. During the one week youth exchange, youth foster a better understanding of a different place, culture and language.  The exchanges promote youth engagement and play a role in culture revitalization. Colonization attempted to assimilate Indigenous people and destroy their culture and language. Through participation in exchanges youth foster relationships with each other and develop a strong respect of another culture.  These youth exchanges play a role in decolonization, as they provide a platform for both Indigenous and non-Indigenous youth to connect and develop a mutually respectful relationship with each other on common ground.

Jamie McCullough     ROOM: 415

The Electoral Reform Referendum and Voting Systems in British Columbia

The workshop topics will be:

  • BC Electoral Reform Referendum Oct 20, 2018
  • Why Change our Voting System in BC?
  • Why Proportional Representation?
  • How does Proportional Representation Work?
  • How do Ranked Ballots Work?
  • Pragmatic PR – Examples in BC
  • The Right to Representation Story

A presentation will be followed by a question period. Participants will be given access to a modifiable lesson plan and other resources.

Bob MacKie & Tony Hodgson     ROOM: 405


The influence of the media on truth – past and present

Bias and false news in the media shifts public perspective and can actually alter events as they transpire. In this workshop, we will investigate the role of the media in past events, and how to teach students to better understand current events reported in the media. The media’s influence on topics such as the Holocaust, indigenous oppression, the Bosnian War and Armenian genocide will be explored through Voices into Action, an award-winning resource free online. We will then delve into contemporary issues like Islamophobia, hate and the spread of racist doctrine. Voices into Action aligns with the new BC Curriculum. This valuable tool will teach today’s youth to question history, reflect on their own biases and acquire a valuable lifelong skill – media literacy. Through a variety of lenses, critical thinking, lessons and discussions, they will be lead to seek truth and become more responsible citizens.

Jodi Derkson      ROOM: 409


Try Judging / Essayez de Juger

Try Judging / Essayez de Juger is a multi-media educational programme designed to integrate into high school curricula wherein law and civics are taught.  Students play the role of judges in Canada’s judicial system, and thus offered opportunities to explore important concepts such as the Rule of Law, judicial independence and impartiality within the context of five interactive case studies.  Our workshop will focus on why this resource was created in the first place, how it is structured for usage by teachers and students, a look at the website, and will give participants an opportunity to actually try the resource, thus experiencing what their students will experience (in other words, participants will put themselves into the shoes of their students putting themselves into the shoes of judges!).  And there will be handouts….Make sure you bring your laptop…don’t leave home without it.

John Gann      ROOM 219: Computer Lab


Words & Media Matter: Teaching the Japanese Canadian Internment

Originally funded by an Ed May Social Responsibility in Education Grant – around the hastingspark1942.ca website, wherein it describes the incarceration/internment of her 22000 Japanese Canadians, and temporary housing at the Hastings Park grounds.  We have expanded our project to include media literacy and euphemisms, with obvious references to current trends in public xenophobic discourse.  We want to workshop these newer lesson plans at the Super Conference.

Natalie Wai & Sara McGarry     ROOM: LIBRARY COMPUTER LAB


Empower students to explore their world

Educators and students have access to free tools to ask, acquire, analyze, communicate and take action, with strong connections to critical thinking skills. Explore our many ready-made lessons that are available for educators and students to use ArcGIS Online across various grades and subjects. The resources enable educators and learners to use this technology within moments, or to explore further and create their own stories. Learn how to incorporate this Web-based tool into your teaching to support students to construct understandings through an inquiry stance.

Jean Tong           ROOM: 411




                            WORKSHOP SESSION: B                 (1:15PM to 2:30PM)

Canada and UN Peacekeeping: Navigating Through History and Change               

PM Trudeau famously said, “Canada’s back!” when it came to our participation in UN Peacekeeping.   But since then there has been only a deafening silence.  In this presentation, former CBC journalist and UN Peacekeeping Communications Director George Somerwill  reminds us of Canada’s historical role in the UN but asks the important question, “How can Canada continue to show leadership in this critically important activity in a world which is increasingly turning inward?

George Somerwill           ROOM: 412


Curricular Resources for Educators: Integrating Global Citizenship and the SDG’s

During this interactive workshop, IGE (Insight Global Education), along with partners, will introduce methods of integrating global citizenship and global competencies into the classroom. We will first examine the expectations for Socials teachers in recognition of the new curriculum, and then proceed to discuss ways to integrate these themes and theories into the classroom. Collectively, we will explore the Sustainable Development Goals, providing insights as to how teachers can tackle this complex framework with their students through engaging, experiential methods. Teachers will have the opportunity to participate in a brief simulation on access to public services. We explore how integrating contemporary global issues can satisfy both content and intended outcomes as prescribed in the new curricular documents.  We will provide all attendees our currently available curricular resources (at absolutely no cost) providing initial opportunities for educators to blend experience based learning with global competencies

Craig Vandermeer & Danielle Zagar      ROOM: 306


Doing Sourcework with Students

What is Social Studies often missing that other courses seem to have figured out? Students need to come away knowing how to actually do something. The inclusion of historical thinking concepts in the revised curriculum (alongside other multi-disciplinary thinking and the sometimes forgotten skills component of Social Studies) has given teachers fresh opportunities to develop capacity in their students for evidence-based investigation, inquiry, and research — the “doing” part of Social Studies. The presenters will use examples from a new “Sourcebook” publication from Pearson Education for Social Studies 9 to show ways of doing “Sourcework” with students, with applications to all levels of Social Studies. Think of sources for Social Studies the same way one thinks of manipulatives for Math — they provide a context for both exploring content and demonstrating competence, plus they double as learning prompts and assessment tools.

Glen Thielmann & Rob Lewis   ROOM: 405


Education as a Practice of Freedom

“Education either functions as an instrument which is used to facilitate integration of the younger generation into the logic of the present system and bring about conformity or it becomes the practice of freedom,”-Paulo Freire

This workshop begins with an introduction to the ideas of “critical pedagogy” and “praxis”, as well as to the critical theories of Paulo Freire and bell hooks, which understand education as a vital tool to foster social movements. In the second segment of the workshop we focus on anti-oppression theory, human rights, and social justice education. Through participatory activities and popular education techniques, we will focus on developing reflection and action strategies for use in and outside of the classroom.            Ayendri Perera     ROOM: 403


Global Solutions – Critical Inquiry and Problem Solving based Curriculum             Global Solutions – A Critical Inquiry Curriculum

Global Solutions is BC MOE aligned inquiry-based program that allows students and teachers to investigate and innovate to develop solutions to complex global topics – ex. Birth Registration.  This 75 minute workshop will provide secondary teachers with an introduction to approaches and tools for delivering an inquiry model which focuses on enhancing student skills in critical thinking, problem solving, rigorous research, presentation and collaboration.  Teachers need to know that the Global Solutions program is free of charge, includes training and a student symposium, and is designed for public schools. http://www.thelearningpartnership.com

Pat Foreman & Wayne Axford         ROOM: 411

Inquiry into Injustice: Tracking a Legacy of Colonization

In this workshop, participants will get to experience “The City Game,” one of our activities in the innovative Raise It Up educational framework, and discuss how it can be easily integrated into the new inquiry based curriculum. Raise It Up is based on acknowledging the value and worth of our youth, and the importance of developing life affirming qualities such as self-esteem, personal responsibility, empathy and critical thinking. Raise It Up uses thought-provoking and engaging activities created specifically for youth to become informed about the root causes of violence and motivate young people to be active citizens in making their communities safer for everyone.  Raise It Up lesson plans on media literacy, colonization, sexism, racism and homophobia are of particular relevance for the new draft curricular competencies and content of Social Studies 10, BC First Peoples 11, Contemporary Indigenous Studies 12, and Social Justice 12.

Ariana Barer     ROOM: 406


“Doing” History: Putting Primary Sources to Work

This workshop presentation will provide a brief overview of Historica Canada and its programs, and feature educational resources that are available to teachers including The Canadian Encyclopedia, The Memory Project, and the Education Portal.  Drawing on the importance of primary source analysis as a learning outcome in the B.C. curriculum, the presentation will offer strategies for teachers to engage their students with primary sources in the classroom. These strategies will be drawn from recent learning tools produced by Historica Canada, including Think Like a Historian: The Battle of Vimy Ridge and the forthcoming Responsible Government Education Guide. The workshop will feature our printable 3D Primary Source Pyramid, which is a hands-on classroom tool for students to learn the 5-steps of primary source analysis. Accompanying educational resources and learning tools will be provided to participants.

Katharine MacNevin       ROOM: 414


Primary Voices: Teaching Through Holocaust Survivor Testimony

This workshop consists of a presentation about the online teaching resource Primary Voices: Teaching Through Holocaust Survivor Testimony (30min) developed by the Vancouver Holocaust Education Centre (VHEC) followed by an interactive part (30min) during which participants are encouraged to explore some of the lessons and activities offered on the website. In addition, there is the opportunity for a Q&A and to providing feedback (15min).

Ilona Shulman Spaar     ROOM:  LIBRARY COMPUTER LAB


Using Historical Reasoning to Create Space for Reconciliation and Healing in the Classroom

This is an innovative workshop by a reflective, practicing, and experienced social studies teacher. It will provide teacher-participants with a framework from which to approach genuine reconciliation in their classrooms at any grade level. Our new BC curriculum acknowledges that Indigenous knowledge and concerns are relevant to every discipline. This is most especially true in social studies. We have an emerging opportunity and responsibility to re-envision how we think about and teach Indigenous and colonial issues, how we approach our shared past and our present relationships.  Part of this workshop will be spent presenting this framework and offering examples of teaching with it. But this is also an interactive workshop: participants will engage in a group physical activity as well as discussion with consideration of our various experiences and perspectives. Teacher-participants will learn how to use themes and concepts from the teaching of Indigenous-Newcomer Relations to cultivate their students’ historical reasoning and engage their learning, both their intellect and their affect, with an intention to create space for healing and reconciliation.

Elliot Fox-Povey     ROOM: 409


Using Visual Timeline Cards to Teach Historical Thinking             

This hands-on workshop will introduce participants to a new resource from The Critical Thinking Consortium entitled “Snapshots in Time” that features visual timeline cards focused on significant events in Canadian history. Participants will be introduced to research findings, and teaching and assessment strategies that highlight how to use visual timeline cards to teach students to think historically using the following historical thinking concepts: historical significance, continuity and change, cause and consequence, and historical evidence.

Lindsay Gibson           ROOM: LIBRARY


When Our Textbooks Are Wrong: Using a Holistic Big Six in the Pursuit of a Diverse Narrative using South Asian Contributions in the World Wars

Resources we use in our classroom are incomplete at best, and at worst, wrong. This workshop will present a collaborative session to investigate minority contributions to the World Wars. A teacher resource package is under development to highlight missing contributions of colonial India to the Allied victories. The Duty, Honour & Izzat, a ground-breaking community-based project developed in partnership with Simon Fraser University, incorporates historical artefacts and new graphic heritage displays within a portable exhibit that has travelled across the province and has been featured at the Canada War Museum in Ottawa. The exhibit has drawn together many new dialogues amongst diverse audiences to highlight omissions perpetuated in Euro-centric historical texts about the Great War 1914-1918. Teachers are invited to participate in the review and formulation of materials to build a framework for any inquiry into any historical event/series. These materials will be transferrable across the full variety of new curriculum.

Annie Ohana & Steven Purewal      ROOM: 407


Asia Pacific Foundation Teaching Resources for Grad Electives

Get acquainted with the new tangible, dynamic, well researched and organized resources of the Asia Pacific Foundation.  Pre-packaged material that’s ready to use in the classroom!  Most useful for Asian Studies, 20th C History, and (new) Social Studies 10 teachers.

Christine Paget & Erin Williams   ROOM: 415


An Approach  to Critical Thinking: Philosophy of all things!            
The remodeled BC curriculum emphasizes critical thinking as one of its core competencies. The challenge of Integrating critical thinking components across disciplines lies, among other things, in the fact that critical thinking is a broad, inclusive notion that can be approached in many complementary ways. In this interactive workshop, we will explore an approach that focuses on developing a systematic inventory of concepts that are needed to verbalize the assessment of cognitive judgments—i.e., a metacognitive vocabulary—that has sufficient versatility to apply to matters of facts and values alike. This approach is typically implicit in philosophy curricula, and the new grade 12 philosophy curriculum is no exception. Moreover, we will explore cases that reveal how this philosophical approach can be integrated in other discipline across the social studies curriculum.

Dale Martelli & Nic Fillon      ROOM: 413



Field Excursion to Powell Street Area to experience History of the Japanese Diaspora based on an interactive film project
The excursion to Powell Street will feature teachers using an interactive map; clicking on any location will trigger a 3 to 5 minute video that can be watched live at the location, smart phones required:

Nusri Hassam
Nikkei Stories 日系物語


Labour History Walking Tour

The walking tour will focus on downtown Vancouver, where the stories and history of working people are revealed as we explore the early development of the city and province. The walk will focus on highlights that are profiled in the lesson materials for the acclaimed film series; Working People: A History of British Columbia as featured on the TeachBC site. The primary focus will be on historical events from British Columbia’s early years in Confederation up to the end of the Second World War. Resource materials will be provided and suggestions for developing field experiences will be explored on the tour.

Wayne Axford


Also, in case you are wondering (we know you are!), here is our amazing lunch menu!










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