Through Her Eyes | Katharine McLennan
Learning and Teaching Resource

Katherine McLennan (1892 – 1975) is a prominent figure in Cape Breton history. Daughter of J.S. McLennan, one of the early managers of Cape Breton’s coal and steel industries, through travel, study and private tutors Katharine developed a passion for a range of interests and causes. Through Her Eyes is collaborative project of the Beaton Institute, Cape Breton Regional Library, Fortress Louisbourg Association, and Parks Canada. It is designed to digitize the personal collection of photos, artworks, and diary entries of Katherine and present the collection under five headings, each containing extensive resources that will provide insight into her life, spirit, and community work.

For students, Through Her Eyes provides support for learning in many content areas, including Social Studies, Language Arts, and Arts Education. This resource describes three ten-hour modules containing suggestions for learning and teaching at various levels. In each module, curriculum outcomes are identified, additional resources are referenced, and suggestions for assessment are presented. Using an Inquiry-based learning approach, students will discover and explore the objects presented in the five themes, and will make direct application to topics covered in other disciplines.

While the modules provide a multidisciplinary approach through which students examine issues that affect their lives, it is primarily through the social studies lens that they see the life and times of Katherine McLennan and learn about citizenship as demonstrated by her. Not only through her leadership in the development of the Fortress Louisbourg Museum, but also with her keen interest in the Red Cross, the Cape Breton Regional Library, and the Old Sydney Society, Katherine embodies the qualities of a model citizen interested in doing good for others and giving back to the community through her volunteerism.

It is suggested that teachers read through all three modules to get a sense of the scope of what is possible in the classroom. This may encourage some to take a module from a different grade level and make adaptations to suit the age of the students. In other words, the module becomes a starting point for further inquiry that leads to deeper meaning on a particular topic. Expectations and desired outcomes will vary in this case, and additional classroom resources to support the learning may be different depending on the grade level.

Each module is intended to be approximately 10 hours in length, but this does not limit the teacher in extending the learning beyond the suggested times. Teachers should feel free to branch out into other areas of curriculum, and thus identify SCO’s (Specific Curriculum Outcomes) according to the discipline that is integrated. Above all, it is important that students experience the joy that comes with working through an integrated unit, making connections to other disciplines, taking ownership for their own work, and seeing life through personal and authentic learning simulations.

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