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Archive for the ‘School Programs’ Category

Developing Local History Kits: Flooding Chilliwack

Posted on: February 14th, 2018 by

Over the last half year I have been working on a third Local History Kit for teachers to use in the classroom. Last spring I worked with our team of SD33 teachers to create lessons around Flooding in Chilliwack. The kit focuses specifically on the floods of 1894 and 1948 which are well represented in our collection.

Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, April 21, 1948, page 5.

Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, April 21, 1948, page 5.

Flooding has affected many aspects of life in the Fraser Valley. Over the last 150 years since colonization it has resulted in major changes to the landscape around us. Dykes surround many areas of our city and the once Sumas Lake is now drained and pumped into the Fraser River, in part for ongoing flood protection. Learning about the historic flooding in the area helps us to understand the efforts that are made today in flood protection and gain a better understanding of the man-made and natural changes in our landscape.

The new kit has students exploring a variety of aspects of historic flooding in Chilliwack. In Grades 1 and 2 students can explore historic photographs to find out how a community comes together during times of emergencies and what changes after a major flood. In Grade 5 students explore the changes to First Nations communities when they were made to settle permanently on reserves, often in unprotected flood zones. In Grade 6 students can look at the consequences of living on a floodplain and investigate emergency preparedness today.

Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, June 2, 1948, page 8.

“Fight to rescue stock” Chilliwack Progress Newspaper Clipping, June 2, 1948, page 8.

The primary source reproductions in this kit span a wide variety of media, from official reports from the Fraser Valley Rehabilitation Authority to personal handwritten accounts. One of my favourite documents we uncovered during our research is a handwritten account of the 1894 flood by Rory Knight, who lived in Popkum at the time of the flood. At the end of his account he writes, “There was no such luck as no school for Gertie and I as we had Miss Harris and we went to school every-day,” [AM 0029]. Being able to share personal and local stories like this is what makes these historical events really come alive for students and helps them connect to the bigger ideas they are studying in school.

If you’re interested in exploring more about Flooding in Chilliwack you can check out our online exhibit Flooding Chilliwack: A History of High Water. I also found K. J. Watt’s book High Water: Living with the Fraser Floods an invaluable resource while beginning our research for this kit, the book can be accessed in our reference library at the archives.

The Flooding Chilliwack kit will be available to book in schools in April 2018. Booking can be done online through our shop or by phone at 604-795-5210.

Pilot Project to take place in the New Year

Posted on: December 20th, 2017 by

If you’ve been to the museum in the last month or so you may have noticed a new face around the office. Lena Yacyshen has joined us as our Classroom in Residence Project Coordinator to help us launch a new education program this spring. Lena is joining us through the Building Careers in Heritage grant which helps to provide new graduates with work experience in heritage. She’ll be helping to coordinate this new project over the next few months.

Lena Yacyshen is our new Classroom in Residence Project Coordinator.

Lena Yacyshen is our new Classroom in Residence Project Coordinator.

The Classroom in Residence Program

This new pilot project aims to offer local students and teachers a chance to move their classroom to the museum for a full week of school. The program is designed following the concept of the Campus Calgary/Open Minds programs in Calgary which have been using local locations as learning spaces for students for over a decade.

The program brings a classroom into the museum for a full week of place-based and hands-on learning. Students will be interacting with the Museum and Archives collection, visiting community members and establishments, and putting what they have learned in the classroom to practical use. The program will aim to foster strong critical thinking and writing skills through careful observation of our local surroundings, while helping students to build a deeper understanding of their community. With our historic downtown and many community and cultural spaces close by, we will be able to learn, explore and reflect at these important spaces.

During their week here, students will be focusing on slowing down and taking time to observe and reflect on their surroundings. Using journals to record their observations, they will have a record of their experiences at the museum and archives to use for further learning back at their schools. By the end of their residency, they will have a strong understanding of Chilliwack’s rich history and of the variety of places they can explore within their own community.

Getting Ready

Students will be using journals to record their observations.

Students will be using journals to record their observations.

Over the next few months, myself and Lena will be getting ready to launch the pilot program. We are working with two SD33 classes alongside the classroom teachers to develop an engaging program for the residency. We’ll be pursuing funding opportunities to bring the classes here for little to no cost and we’ll be looking to connect with the community to expand the reach of the pilot.

Learning from other successful projects such as the museum school program at the Sunshine Coast Museum and Archives, the Beyond Classrooms network in Kingston, ON and the Museum School network in London, ON, we’re hoping to be able to open the Classroom in Residence program to more classes in future years.

What are we looking forward to?

“Often when I have classes visit the museum for a 1-1.5 hour program I don’t have the time to answer fully students’ questions about what they see here at the museum and about the work of the museum itself. I’m looking forward to helping the Classroom in Residence take a deeper dive into the resources we have here and gain a meaningful understanding of our community and its history.” – Stephanie

“I am excited to show our Classroom in Residence students that the classroom is not just confined by their school’s physical walls and that learning opportunities are all around us. I am thrilled that Chilliwack and our community’s history will be used as a platform for learning and investigation for students. I believe it is valuable for students to experience education styles that put emphasis on slowing down and carefully observing, while relying on critical thinking and problem solving to complete a task. I also strongly believe this model will get students more excited about education both inside and outside of the traditional classroom, because of the sense of pride students get in applied learning.” – Lena


Find out more about the educational theory behind the Classroom in Residence program by checking out this post by long time educator David Barnum for the University of British Columbia: http://teljournal.educ.ubc.ca/2017/05/open-minds-constructing-learning-in-the-community/ .

Are you a teacher in Chilliwack interested in taking part in the Classroom in Residence program? Feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected]

Learning with Primary Sources

Posted on: October 13th, 2017 by

“[The students] loved that the museum came to them,” commented a teacher who recently rented our newest local history kit, Community of Villages, which contains primary source reproductions from our archives. “Being in my class, instead of in the museum, they felt more freedom to ask questions and to interact with the materials provided.”

Over the past year we’ve been working on creating our local history kits in collaboration with the Chilliwack School District. These kits compliment our traditional 1-1.5 hr school programs as they expand on specific local history topics and allow teachers and students the freedom to explore the materials at their own pace.

Some of the reproductions in the Community of Villages kit.

Some of the reproductions in the Community of Villages kit.

With the new BC Curriculum in full swing this year, these kits focus on helping both teachers and students learn curricular competencies while exploring local topics. The Community of Villages kit specifically focuses on exploring the concept of “Continuity and Change” and helps students learn how to explain why some aspects of their communities have changed over time while others have stayed the same.

Learning with the primary sources in their hands provides a concrete real connection to the past for the students. Each kit comes with specific lesson plans and activity suggestions for a variety of grades, but sometimes all you need is a few simple prompts to get students talking and exploring on their own. Here are a few hints for learning with primary sources from our Community of Villages kit:

  • Sequencing – Have students work together to sequence a series of photographs from oldest to newest. This will get them talking about the quality of the photographs, the clothes people are wearing, the different modes of transportation and so on.
  • Compare and Contrast – Using photographs or newspaper articles, have students compare one from the past and one contemporary example. Have them chart the differences and similarities they can find.
  • Maps – Have students compare a current map of Chilliwack with an historic one. Questions come naturally about the changes in the city over time.
  • Location Mapping – Have students match historic photos to a current map or vice versa. Get them to locate their home or school on the map to see how their area has changed or stayed the same over time.

In many cases, I’ve found that the primary sources speak for themselves and that student’s curiosity is sparked and questions come naturally when they get to interact with the materials first hand.

If you have any questions or suggestions about learning with primary sources, feel free to get in touch with me at [email protected]!

Getting Ready for the 2017-2018 School Year

Posted on: September 6th, 2017 by

It seems like the school year just ended and we were getting ready for our summer programming only days ago, but here we are again with another year of school upon us! Aligning with the new BC Curriculum, we’re excited to be able to offer a variety of programs and resources that help teachers bring relevant local content into their classrooms.

What’s New?

Chilliwack's Chinatowns Kit

Chilliwack’s Chinatowns Kit

Our local history kits, created in collaboration with SD33 teachers, are currently available to book. We have two kits, with a third expected in late 2017.

  • Explore Chilliwack’s two lost Chinatowns with our Chilliwack’s Chinatowns kit, containing primary source reproductions, lesson plans and supplementary resources for your class. This kit is recommended for Grades 1-6, however the primary sources can be adapted for use with a variety of grades. Follow up your exploration of the kit with an exhibit tour of Gold Mountain Dream, exhibit open until Oct. 9th.
  • New this year is our Community of Villages kit. Recommended for Grades 6+, this kit contains 10-12 reproductions for each of five unique communities in Chilliwack: Downtown Chilliwack, Rosedale, Greendale, Yarrow, and Sardis/Vedder. Teach primary source analysis skills with this kit while introducing the historical thinking concept of continuity and change.
  • Currently under development is our ‘Flooding Chilliwack’ kit. This kit focuses on major floods in Chilliwack which have changed the surrounding area into what we know today. Stay tuned for further details!

Starting this week, our school programs are available to book online or by phone at 604-795-5210.

  • Our popular My Community program for Grades 1 and 2 has two new community options available. Learn about key developments and events in your local area with options to focus on Downtown Chilliwack, Sardis, Yarrow or Greendale.
  • Guided Exhibit Tours are available throughout the year. Our current exhibit, Gold Mountain Dream, focuses on Chinese immigration during the gold rush and contains local content on Chilliwack’s lost Chinatowns. Gold Mountain Dream closes Oct. 9th and our new exhibit will open Nov. 2nd.
  •  Back by popular demand is our Family Christmas program. Explore what it would have been like to celebrate Christmas in Chilliwack in the late 1800’s with hands-on activities.

Browse our 2017-2018 school program brochure here and book online!

Can’t find a program that fits your needs? If there is a specific local history topic you are interested in exploring with your students, you can always contact me with your program requests and questions at [email protected]

Looking Forward to 2017

Posted on: December 20th, 2016 by

This past year has been jam packed with Education and Engagement projects. We’ve taken the museum out to events like Canada Day and Party in the Park and updated our hands-on Discovery Bins for children. We’ve been working with School District 33 to create local history kits and completed our first kit on Chilliwack’s Chinatowns. We’ve also updated our school programs to fit with the new BC Curriculum and hosted a number of speakers and events in the museum.

So what’s in store for 2017?

We’re working on developing a new Archives based program for Middle and High School students. This program will focus on introducing students to the archives and how to access and interpret primary sources.

Continuing to work on local history kits with the school district, we are currently focusing on developing resources on the floods of both 1894 and 1948 in the Fraser Valley.

This past fall we’ve been working with a group of Grade 6 students on an education project based on our current exhibit Photography from Obscura to App. Starting on February 9th we will be exhibiting students’ photographs at the museum. These will be on display until June 11th when Photography from Obscura to App closes.

As the host organization for the BC Historical Federation conference in May we are helping to plan a series of interesting workshops, field trips and lectures that will highlight our city and its diverse history.

As the year progresses we’ll be looking to continue scheduling events and activities for all ages. Don’t forget to check our Events Calendar or follow us on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram to find out what’s happening at the museum!

See you in 2017!

Introducing our first Local History Kit – Chilliwack’s Chinatowns!

Posted on: November 17th, 2016 by

I have been working on developing local history resources with an amazing team of SD33 teachers this past year. I am excited to announce that our first kit on Chilliwack’s Chinatowns is now ready for teachers and educators to book!

The Local History Kits came about through collaboration between the Chilliwack Museum and Archives and the Chilliwack School District. When reviewing the redesigned curriculum, the focus on local content and place-based learning created the perfect opportunity to use the resources that already exist at our museum and archives, and get them in the hands of students!

Chilliwack's Chinatowns Kit

The Chilliwack’s Chinatowns Kit comes with primary source reproductions, posters and a teacher guidebook.

The partnership involved a team of teachers across different grades to tap into the resources and connect them in a meaningful way to the new curriculum. The kit includes lessons and activities that are designed to address Big Ideas, Curricular Competencies and Content in a variety of subjects and grades. The aim is that when teachers use this kit in their classroom, students will be developing critical thinking skills while using meaningful, relevant, local materials.

Kits come with primary source reproductions relating to each specific topic, background information, timelines and supplementary materials needed to teach each lesson. They are now available to book here for $15/week or, if you are a SD33 teacher, you can contact the school district office to book the SD33 copy.

We are looking forward to receiving feedback from teachers to help us improve these kits and make them as student and teacher friendly as possible!

Having completed the kit on Chilliwack’s Chinatowns, we are now working on gathering resources on Flooding in Chilliwack, focusing on the 1894 and 1948 floods. As well, we are developing a kit for Grade 7 classes on key developments in our local community. Stay tuned to find out when these kits will be available!

Have questions about the kits or would like to book? You can contact me directly at [email protected]

Back to School

Posted on: September 6th, 2016 by

Students of all ages have been packing up their school bags and heading out to school this week. This past month we’ve been getting ready for the school year as well by reviewing and updating our school programs. We offer programs with a local history twist that align with the BC Curriculum. If you’ve been booking with us for years or are new to the Chilliwack Museum and Archives school programs, we have some updates for you!

New this year:

Learning about changes in Technology over time with our Techno Quilt program.

Learning about changes in Technology over time with our Techno Quilt program.

Our Five Corners program has been adapted to fit with the Grade 1 and 2 Socials Curriculum and expanded to include more communities in Chilliwack. This program is now named ‘My Community’. When booking, teachers may choose a community focus for the presentation, Five Corners and Yarrow are currently available. We will be updating with more options as the school year progresses.

Our Full Steam Ahead program for Grades 4 and 5 has been updated with a new activity to help students learn more about the Cariboo Gold Rush and its impact on our own community.

Guided Exhibit Tours are available for all grades when our new temporary exhibit, Photography from Obscura to App, opens. As well, Guided Walking Tours of downtown Chilliwack will be available in May and June of 2017.

From October – May we will be offering a program for Grades 4+ based on our current exhibit, Photography from Obscura to App. This program takes students on a journey through the changes in photography over time and includes a hands-on activity.

Book online and learn more about our programs here.

Is there a specific local history topic you are interested in exploring with your students? You can always contact me with your questions or program requests at [email protected]

We’re looking forward to the 2016-2017 school year!