The goal of the present learning situation is to raise learners’ awareness of a significant event in Canadian history through the exploration of a folk song commemorating that event. The event in question is the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, which was fundamental in bringing the nation of Canada together. The song commemorating the event is The Canadian Railroad Trilogy by the renowned Canadian singer-songwriter, Gordon Lightfoot.


Learners explore a variety of oral and written texts pertaining to the building of the Canadian Pacific Railroad, which played a major role in establishing Canadian unity as it is portrayed in two songs

1. In the first activity, Preparing the Ground, learners become familiar with some very basic historical and geographical information about Canada related to the topic of the song .

2. In the second activity, Introduction and Initial Response to the “Canadian Railroad Trilogy”, learners are introduced to the song and the context in which it was composed. After listening to the song and reading the lyrics, they develop an initial, personal response .

3. In the third activity, Exploring Different Perspectives, learners do online research to enhance their knowledge of the historical background to the construction of the railroad, and learn about the benefits hoped for and the damages incurred from the perspectives of the different interest groups.

4. In the fourth activity, Refining Responses to the Song, learners return to the “Canadian Railroad Trilogy” and, using what they learned, they explore how the song reflects those different interests and how the techniques used by the songwriter enable him to communicate his vision effectively.

5. In the final activity, Comparing Two Songs Dedicated to the Same Topic, learners are introduced to a second song (Ribbon of Broken Dreams by John Spearn) about the same historical event. They compare the two songs by identifying the similarities and differences in message and purpose and the way each song achieves its intended effect.


Learners at the beginning of the Secondary Cycle One level are invited to carry out listening, reading, writing and discussion activities to enrich their experience and appreciation of aesthetic discourse, extend their real-world knowledge of Canadian history, exercise their critical and ethical judgment both as readers/listeners and as informed citizens, gain experience in researching external resources, and develop a more realistic attitude towards Canada and its past achievements.


CA1 - Interacting orally to explore Québec and Canadian cultural expression
CA2 - Listening to informative and aesthetic texts to explore Québec and Canadian cultural expression
CA3 - Reading informative and aesthetic texts to explore Québec and Canadian cultural expression
CA4 - Writing informative and expressive texts to explore Québec and Canadian cultural expression
EK1 - Types of discourse (informative, expressive and aesthetic)
EK2 - Discourse cues and features
EK3 - Speaking, listening, reading, and writing, strategies, techniques and procedures
EK4 - The writing system
EK5 - Literary elements
EK6 - Language functions
EK7 - Sociolinguistic features
EK8 - Grammar and syntax
OC1 - Communicates
OC2 - Uses creativity
OC3 - Exercises critical and ethical judgment


Plus de 9 h / Travail d'équipe


S'informer / Communiquer / Soutenir la métacognition


Moins de 20 ans / Immigrantes