When people first begin to speak, they start with nouns. That is, they name things. It is such a basic thing that it is easy to lose sight of what an intriguing and powerful thing it is to call something by "its" name.
Place names carry stories, history, culture and values. Learning the history that lies behind the familiar names of Western Canadian places is one way of learning about the people who have lived here. Every student can be charmed by the everyday names of the streets, buildings, roads and monuments that are part of their lives, and they can play a big role in helping others learn about where these names come from.
In our own community, names are not just history. Do long time members of the community know the roads, streets, buildings, and the landscape by the same names as we see on the maps today?
As we raise questions using old maps, historical documents, local histories and lore, we know that other questions, issues and debates will arise. As we pose these kinds of questions to students, we can call on what their families and neighbors know about the community. What names remain puzzles for everyone? That's where the heart of the inquiry will lie: What is there about naming that intrigued these students?
Further explanation of teacher planning, resources, assessment, curricular connections can be found at the following external link:
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