The Writing on the Wall: An Outreach Kit on Chinese Canadian Historical Wrongs

About the kit

The Writing on the Wall: An Outreach Kit on Chinese Canadian Historical Wrongs

The objects included in the Writing on the Wall outreach kit are reproductions from the Royal BC Museum and the BC Archives. Two reproductions of wall fragments containing graffiti (or poems) are used to capture the interest of students. To learn more about the wall fragments and to answer the inquiry question “Does this graffiti deserve a place in the collection of the Royal BC Museum?” a selection of primary source documents (photographs, legislation, letters, head tax certificates and an advertisement) are also included. In addition to learning more about Chinese Canadian experience, students will also learn how to use primary sources as evidence and how to determine historical significance. 

This resource was developed for the Ministry of International Trade and Responsible for Asia Pacific Strategy and Multiculturalism by the Royal British Columbia Museum in partnership with Open School BC, the Ministry of Education and the Legacy Initiatives Advisory Council.

How to Order

The kits are available for loans to BC schools and organizations only. There are limited copies are available so plan accordingly. 

Request Outreach Kit

What's in the kit?

  • Wall poem fragments*
  • Video and video player
  • Time Shuffle card game
  • 11-by-17-inch wall poster to keep for your classroom
  • Educator's Resource Guide
  • Primary sources

Curricular Connections

NEW Grade 5 Social Studies Curricular Competencies:

  • Social Studies inquiry process
  • Evidence
  • Sequence

NEW Grade 5 Social Studies Content:

  • The changing nature of Canadian immigration over time
  • Past discriminatory government policies and actions

NEW Grade 9 Social Studies Curricular Competencies:

  • Use social studies inquiry processes and skills to ask questions; gather, interpret, and analyze ideas; and communicate findings and decisions
  • Explain and infer different perspectives on past or present people, places, issues, or events by considering prevailing norms, values, worldviews and beliefs

NEW Grade 9 Social Studies Content:

  • Students are expected to know discriminatory policies, attitudes, and historical wrongs.

Social Studies 10:

  • B3 Evaluate the influence of immigration on Canadian society from 1815-1914
  • B4 Describe the factors that contributed to a changing national identity from 1815-1914

NEW Draft Curriculum for Grade 10 Social Students Curricular Competencies:

  • Assess the significance of people, places, events or developments, and compare varying perspectives on their significance at particular times and places, and from group to group
  • Recognize implicit and explicit ethical judgments in a variety of sources
  • Make reasoned ethical judgments about actions in the past and present, and determine appropriate ways to remember and respond

NEW Draft Curriculum for Grade 10 Social Studies Content:

  • Students are expected to know discriminatory policies and injustices in Canada and world, such as the Head Tax....

This activity relates to concepts introduced by the Historical Thinking Project. Two main ideas are addressed: using primary sources as evidence (how do we know what we know?) and historical significance (how do we decide what and whose stories to tell?).

Before you use the kit

You are clearly the kind of teacher who goes the distance for their students. You’ve taken the time to plan ahead, check out this kit and work the subject into your schedule. As such, you are most likely familiar with the new resource Bamboo Shoots: Chinese Canadian Legacies in BC for Grade 5 and 10, created by Open School BC (Ministry of Education) on behalf of the Ministry of International Trade. This kit is not intended to replace those lesson plans but to supplement them. If you have done one or all of the lesson plans, then you are ready to go ahead.

Using the kit

The kit provides your class with a unique opportunity to look closely at primary resources, the core material for understanding our past.

Big Ideas Explored

  • What makes an object or document historically significant?
  • How can students engage with evidence from the past in order to think critically about how we understand history?
  • What are the limitations of primary sources?

When the kit arrives…

  • Explain to your students your goals/ intentions for ordering the kit
  • Start a class KWLQ chart or discussion about Chinese Historical Wrongs before you open the kit
  • Play the Time Shuffle card game (decks included in the kit) to familiarize your class with key events in Chinese Canadian history.

During the week…

  • Use the Royal BC Museum’s Learning Portal to see digitized versions of additional primary resource objects. You and your students can create your own playlists and see what other students have done.
  • Use the Activity Ideas to continue the learning in other creative ways.
  • Have the students research the materials in the kit further.

When the kit leaves…

  • Make sure all the materials are returned (a checklist is included).
  • Keep a copy of the poster featuring the wall fragment for your classroom.
  • Fill out the evaluation form and return it with the kit.

Encourage your students to treat the material respectfully. Ask them to brainstorm about proper object-handling behaviour. Some suggestions:

  • Always handle objects with two hands.
  • Do not have food or drink near the material.
  • Do not put the material at risk by using it outdoors or busy environments such as large school assemblies.
  • Wash your hands before handling paper.

Get in Touch

Kim Gough
Learning Program Developer

You are here