I think the best way to teach students about Canada is to take the most visual journey possible, the next best thing to actually taking a trip.
When teaching about the Prairie provinces, the book If You Are Not from the Prairie, written by David Bouchard, is a powerful teaching tool both in its poetic language and painted imagery.
I read it slowly to the students, emphasizing the repetitive words, “flat”, “sky”, “grass”, “wind”.
After the reading, as a class, we discuss the pictures, focusing on the horizon, the colours, foreground and background.
After sketching, they outline the bolder lines of their drawing with sharpie pen. In this lesson, I shrunk the artwork on the photocopier, to darken their pencil lines as well.
To finish the project, the students used water colour paints, mostly blues, yellows, greens and browns to paint their pictures.
A few carefully chosen spots in their paintings, such as a barn or flower, are painted with a bright, bold colour, such as red or pink. Lastly, the students use sharpie to print the key word that goes with their picture, such as “grass”, “flat” or “cold”.
The students were thrilled with their finished pieces and others enjoyed them too. Likely a small, but hopefully an accurate glimpse of the Prairies.