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Grade 9 Charter of Rights and Freedoms

Rick Mercer Rant Assignment
David Scott- Grade 9 Humanities

To gain a better appreciation of how The Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms is relevant to the lives of our grade 9 students, we asked our students to explore a court case where a Charter right or freedom was violated. The specific learning outcomes we sought to target in the Alberta Grade 9 Social Studies Program were as follows:



9.1.6 assess, critically, the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the legislative process in Canada by exploring and reflecting upon the following questions and issues:
  • In what ways has the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms fostered recognition of individual rights in Canada? (PADM, I) 
  • How does the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms support individuals in exercising their rights? (PADM, C, I)
Inquiry Task: Based on a recent court case involving the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms, create a Rick Mercer style rant video outlining whether you think the outcome fostered recognition of individual rights in Canada.

Click here for an example of a Rick Mercer rant

Steps in the process:
  1. To prepare students for this exercise we began with a series of short lectures and some textbook work on the impact of the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms on the legislative process in Canada and how the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedoms supports individuals in exercising their rights.
  2. We then asked groups of two students to choose a current event involving a court case related to the Charter and present this to the class. 
  3. Once students had done this, they were asked to choose one of these court cases and create a Rick Mercer style rant (see examples attached) exploring the relationship between this issue and whether the outcome fostered recognition of individual rights in Canada.
  4. We then introduced students to a series of Rick Mercer rants and explored the unique nature of this medium (e.g., intersperses short punchy sentences after longer ones for effect, tilts the camera when making a key point, uses rhetorical questions to make his point, creates a ‘straw man’ to help bring down an opposing argument). While doing this we asked students to consider how he hooks in his audience, outlines his position, and uses humour, sarcasm, exaggeration along with carefully chosen arguments and supporting evidence to back up his central position. 
  5. Students were then asked to write a 350-450 (500-600 if working with a partner) word script that included the following elements:
  • An explanation of the charter issue you are exploring; work to hook the reader in.
  • Explain how a particular right or freedom guaranteed in the Charter was violated. When doing this, use specific language and rights from the Charter to support your position. 

  • Discuss whether you think the outcome of this case fostered recognition of individual rights in Canada.
 6.  At this stage in the process we had everyone hand in a rough draft of their assignment for a formative feedback loop. They received full marks out of 8 for handing this in on time. Students who didn’t hand theirs in on time had to stay in at lunch to finish their work.
7. Once students had refined their script, before we let them go out to film we showed them the rubric and discussed various strategies to enhance their work within the various criterion.

Here is the rubric for this assignment borrowed from the Alberta Assessment Consortium:

Level

Criteria

4
Excellent


3
Proficient

2
Adequate

1
Limited *

Explains impact and relevance of Charter on our lives

/8
Provides an insightful explanation of the impact and relevance of the Charter in relation to a current event in Canada today.
Provides a thoughtful explanation of the impact and relevance of the Charter in relation to a current event in Canada today.
Provides a suitable explanation of the impact and relevance of the Charter in relation to a current event in Canada today.
Provides an irrelevant explanation of the impact and relevance of the Charter in relation to a current event in Canada today.

Formulates and supports position

/8

Formulates a strong and clear position and provides compelling evidence to support position some of which is based on specific language from the Charter. 
Formulates solid position and provides convincing evidence to support position some of which is based specific language from the Charter.
Formulates a position that may not be clear and provides simplistic evidence to support position, which may not include evidence from the charter.
Formulates an unclear position and provides inconclusive evidence to support position.
Employs rhetorical devices to communicate position

/8
Adopts rhetorical devices like wit, slippery slope argument, sarcasm, analogies, and exaggeration to make the viewer strongly relate to your opinion.
Adopts rhetorical devices like wit, slippery slope argument, sarcasm, analogies, and exaggeration to make the viewer relate to your opinion.
Some rhetorical devices like wit, sarcasm, analogies, and exaggeration may be absent making it hard to relate to your opinion.
Adopts rhetorical devices like wit, sarcasm, analogies, and exaggeration to make the viewer strongly relate to your opinion.

Communicates information

/8
Communicates information in a skillful manner to engage the viewer. This includes speaking clearly and fluidly, with conviction and in an animated way.
Communicates information in an effective manner to interest the reader.  This includes speaking mostly clearly, fluidly, with conviction and in an animated way.
Communicates information in a straightforward manner that generally holds the attention of the reader.
Communicates information in an ineffective manner that does little to sustain attention of the reader.
Filming 
and Editing of rant

/8

Filming and editing is excep-tionally professional employing camera tricks similar to Rick Mercer’s rant, camera is steady, sound is clear, and any cuts between takes are seamlessly integrated.
Filming and editing looks professional employing camera tricks similar to Rick Mercer rant, camera is steady, sound is clear, and any cuts between takes are seamlessly integrated.
Filming and editing lacks professionalism employing few camera tricks similar to Rick Mercer rant, camera may not be steady, sound not clear, and any cuts between takes are less than seamlessly integrated.
There are major issues with the filming and editing in terms of sound, transitions between cuts, movement, or other.


Although his rants follow no set formula, you will notice a number of characteristics common to each of his rants:

-He begins by introducing the topic by relating how this issue relates to our lives
-Then he states his position on the issue by first showing how the opposing position is ridiculous, or employs a slippery slope technique to show what would happen if this policy was pursued in the extreme (i.e., if we give the government access to our hard drives next they will want to record our phone conversations), or how the future would be intolerable if we took this position. 
-Ends with a funny, affirmative statement.      

Student Exemplars are coming....


1 comments:

  1. Through the detailed description of your creative approach to engaging students in developing a deep understanding of the Charter of Rights and Freedoms you provide an opportunity for other teachers to build on your ideas. Demonstrating an understanding of complex issues associated with the charter through a well-thought-out rant is a very intriguing challenge for your students. I am looking forward to seeing some of the student exemplars.

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