Project Profile

Project Title:
Faith Walk
School Name:
Robert Service Senior Public School
School board / First Nations school jurisdiction:
Toronto District School Board (TDSB)
Project Theme:
Grade Level:
Subject Areas:
Community Partners:
Various local religious buildings including:
Church, temple, Mosque, Khane, Synagogue
(sites have not yet been contacted)

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Faith Walk

As part of our social justice literacy unit we will take the students on a "Faith Walk". Students will travel to different religious buildings in their neighbourhood and speak with different religious leaders, in order to understand the similarities we all have (focusing on the "Golden Rule"). Students will also share what they have learned with other staff and students.

Update (September-08-13)

Our project was originally planned during the 2011/2012 school year, as a way to engage students and parents in the community. We were going to focus on finding commonalities/similarities and for students to have a greater understanding of the community they live in.

When we started the project during the winter of 2012 we came across many road blocks we didn't expect:
1) We had a very difficult time getting parents involved in the process (we had on 2 people on the parent council)
2) We had a difficult time getting student "buy-in", as many were reluctant to share about their cultural beliefs and some did not want to listen to anyone else's.
3) We had few resources in the school for teachers to use to start/build upon these tough big ideas.

After a tough meeting with the grade team, we agreed to postpone this aspect of the project until Sept 2012 and focus on planning a unit of study to kick off the year that would explore these tough issues and the idea of the "golden rule".

Update (September-08-13)

With our project now on hold until Sept 2012 the gr 8 team started planning a unit that would include such things as inclusion, respect, global rights, citizenship etc.

We used a a sample interdisciplinary unit that was developed by the Model Schools for Inner Cities dept (Toronto District School Board), as a starting point. It combines big ideas from Gr 8 Geography (Distribution of Wealth, Equity of Opportunity and Access to Resources) and combines them into literacy and math teachings. We also started using current event articles that dealt with global/equity issues ("What in the World" Level 1 & 2 - published by Les Plan).

We felt the need to incorporate these teachings throughout the year, before introducing the Faith Walk second term.

At the end of the school, the teacher who had spear-headed this project left the school, and the rest of the gr 8 team decided to carry-on with the project.

Update (September-08-13)

Sept 2012 - June 2013

This was a very difficult school year. The grade 8 team were excited about the new long-range plans and the interdisciplinary unit that was being used, so that was business as usual. But we were not sure if the Faith Walk was going to happen.

As were taught the students during first term, we also realized that the students lacked back knowledge about various countries/experiences/political issues, etc that others experience. We thought the most important issue may be getting appropriate resources for the students to read/learn from.

As part of our unit, we had students read through and evaluate new books for personal reading and subject specific texts. This became very successful. Students loved knowing that their voices were helping to shape the purchasing decisions for their courses and other students in the building.

Once we had all the feedback, we placed a large order for new resources that included books about character education, graphic texts, novels about social justice issues, biographies, high interest picture books, etc.

Update (September-09-13)

Sept 2013 - after a meeting with the new teachers at the school and the guidance counsellor, we are interested in trying to complete the Faith Walk as part of the Me to We club that is being started this year.

We are hoping that a smaller group of students who are focused on community service and helping others will be a more intimate group for us to try the faith walk with first, and who may be able to help us with the planning for a larger walk in the Spring.

Also, find attached a picture of some of the book titles students selected for purchasing.