For Teachers - Introduction

This web site on conscientious objectors and alternative service during the Second World War is designed for use in classrooms across Canada. 

It uses original records, also known as primary sources, such as pictures, tape recordings, movies, letters, journals, and documents not otherwise available in libraries. The digitization of this unique material makes it accessible to a wide range of people.

Teachers, students, and others are encouraged to use the content in the classroom or in other projects and activities of a non-commercial, educational nature.

Each aspect of the CO experience has a section for teachers. Here the teacher will find suggestions for classroom activities targeting a variety of grade levels and social study skills, as well as the prescribed learning outcomes for social studies as they relate to this site. 

This web site is written at a grade 6 level, but can easily be adapted up or down. Upper elementary children will enjoy the multimedia presentations and the story of Canada’s COs, while the ethical and moral dimensions of being a CO will challenge the more advanced senior student. 

Activities and learning outcomes centre on four social studies skills. (Taken from Kindergarten to Grade 8 Social Studies: Manitoba Curriculum Framework of Outcomes available from the Manitoba Education and Youth.) 

  1. Active Democratic Citizenship
    • make decisions that reflect fairness and equality in their interactions with others
    • use a variety of strategies to resolve conflicts peacefully and fairly
    • recognize bias and discrimination and propose solutions
    • treat places and objects of historical significance with respect
  2. Managing Information and Ideas
    • elect information from a variety of oral, visual, material, print, or electronic sources
    • organize and record information appropriately
    • distinguish between primary and secondary information sources for research
    • create timelines to sequence and represent historical figures, relationships, or events
  3. Critical and Creative Thinking
    • plan topics, goals, and methods for historical inquiry and research
    • evaluate the advantages and disadvantages of solutions to a problem
    • draw conclusions based on research and evidence
    • evaluate personal assumptions based on new information and ideas
    • distinguish fact from opinion and interpretation
    • observe and analyze material and visual evidence for research
    • assess the validity of sources
    • compare differing accounts of historical events
    • compare diverse perspectives in a variety of information sources
    • interpret information and ideas in a variety of media
    • recognize that interpretations of history are subject to change as new information is found
  4. Communication

- listen to others to understand their perspective
- use language that is respectful of human diversity
- persuasively express differing viewpoints regarding an issue
- elicit and clarify questions and ideas in discussions
- articulate their beliefs and perspectives on issues

Take, for example, the Manitoba curricula for grade 6 and senior 3 (grade 11), the two grades where students must take Canadian history. 

In grade six, the Manitoba social studies unit is Canada: A Country of Change (1867 to Present). This unit explores Canada’s changing character, including the role of immigration and the evolving relationship between Canadian peoples and the Canadian government. Through this, students will learn about issues of citizenship, identity, and diversity. The differences between COs and Canadian society provide abundant material. 

In senior three, Manitoba students study the Social and Political History of Canada. Here students learn about the diversity and the role of immigration in the development of Canada, cultural stereotyping and social prejudice, individual rights and responsibilities as they relate to the government and the community, and the unique pattern of local histories as well as their interconnectedness to national and international events. Used as a case study, the history of COs allows the student to explore many of these themes. 

Teachers: If you use the site, please let us know how you found out about the site, what you liked, and any suggestions for improvements. Also, please write us if you have additional activities or ideas for the curriculum section. 

This site was created by the Mennonite Heritage Centre (Winnipeg, Canada) in partnership with Mennonite Church Canada. The Canadian Council of Archives provided funding for the project, as did the Manitoba Mennonite Historical Society and Mennonite Central Committee Canada; the Mennonite Heritage Centre provided significant support through in-kind services.

Content of this web site may be used elsewhere providing specific credit is given to the Mennonite Heritage Centre. A few preferred statements follow:
“This material provided by the Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Canada. © 2004-2016”
“Source: Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Canada. © 2004-2016”
“Photo Credit: Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Canada. © 2004-2016”

We also ask that you contact us when you have used this site in formal or informal ways.  This can be done at our "Respond" section.

©2004-2016 Mennonite Heritage Centre, Winnipeg, Canada.