The Charlottetown Conference — A Multiliteracies Project

Our Multiliteracies Project introduces a video clip resource that provides an explanation of what took place during the iconic Charlottetown Conference of 1864. The even set the Canadian Confederation in motion, bringing together delegates from New Brunswick, Nova Scotia, and Prince Edward Island to discuss the union of their three provinces, although the province of Canada (modern Ontario and Quebec) intervened with their own proposal.  We hope you enjoy our Multiliteracies Project, one we take great pride in and truly enjoyed creating!



TOPIC: Introduction to the Charlottetown Conference as a major step towards Confederation in Canada, using a multiliteracies pedagogical resource.

CURRICICULUM EXPECTATIONS: Describe the internal and external political factors, key personalities, significant events, and geographical realities that led to the creation of the Dominion of Canada in 1867, and to the growth of Canada as other provinces and territories joined Confederation.


  1. Attitudes:
  1. Have the students appreciate the complex and difficulties of achieving Confederation in Canada.
  1. Skills:
  2. Use appropriate vocabulary to describe their inquiries and observations
  3. Analyzing the attitudes and points of view of the different provinces and political figures present at the Charlottetown Conference.
  1. Knowledge:
  1. Identify external and internal factors and events leading to Confederation.
  2. Identify the roles of key individuals and provinces during the Charlottetown Conference, leading to the signing of the British North America Act.


  • Multiliteracies Pedagogical Resource Video.
  • Video-clip True or False Worksheet.
  • Content Circle Graphic Organizer Sheet.
  • Overhead projector.
  • Chart paper/ permanent markers.
  • Canada Revisited Grade 8 textbook.


  1. Distribute Video-clip True or False Worksheet (to be completed while watching the video). (2 minutes).
  2. Introduce a List of Key Terms written on the blackboard: “Fenians, conference, Charlottetown, Confederation, compromise, agenda, etc.) (2 minutes)
  3. Show students Mulitiliteracies Pedagogical Resource Video – to introduce the Charlottetown Conference. (6 minutes)


  1. Take-up Video-Clip True or False Worksheet (5 minutes)
  2. Through a Jigsaw Activity, split the class into groups and assign each group a different province that was present during the Charlottetown Conference. Have them summarize on chart paper the key arguments regarding Confederation of their assigned provinces. (20 minutes)
  3. Have each group present their summaries to the class. (20 minutes)


  1. Fill out Content Circle Graphic Organizer – comprehension summary (‘exit ticket’ to be handed in at the end of class.) (20 minutes)


  1. Teacher observation of individual behaviors during independent group work.
  2. Teacher analysis of chart paper summaries made by each group.
  3. Cooperation and respect throughout the lesson. (anecdotal note taking)


  1. Lessons on the Quebec and London Conferences.
  2. Have students create dramatic reenactments of various conferences relating to confederation.
  3. Test/quiz on Confederation.


Lesson Plan

Praxis Paper:

In lieu of a seventy-five minute lecture on the Charlottetown Conference of 1864, where the teacher is expected to actively transmit expert knowledge of Canada’s Confederation History to a class of passively receptive grade 8s, the lesson offered here seeks to provide a more lively multi-modal student-centered experience, whereby students are expected to actively engage and participate in their own education. Because people are different and learn in different ways, we have also sought to create a lesson incorporating differentiated instruction to accommodate for these differences, and to provide effective and meaningful instructional scaffolding, using a variety of activities so as to engage and activate the multiple intelligence modalities expressed in Gardner’s MI Theory. Moreover, considering that we tend to digest information best when using multiple senses, and that we tend to remember a meagre 20% of what we hear, compared to a significantly higher 50% of what we see and hear, 70% of what we say, and a whopping 90% of what we do and say, we have created in this lesson a more holistic experience that ‘speaks’ to the whole person.

To this end, we have sought to make our impressions more visual, verbal and auditory by creating an interest-building before-lesson ‘hook’ activity using a multi-literacy pedagogical resource tool in the form of a YouTube video. We reinforce this activity with a True or False Worksheet to help keep students focused, on-task, and engaged during the video. Before the video we write a description of key terms on the blackboard to assist language learners who may be unfamiliar with certain content-area-specific words. After the video we take up the True or False Worksheet to ensure comprehension accuracy.

We try to incorporate a social justice perspective in the video – and throughout the lesson in general – by framing the Charlottetown Conference in terms of the power relationships between the Provinces, specifically how a disparity in power and agency among the Provinces influenced and to a certain extent determined their political agendas, and ultimately the final outcome of Canadian Confederation.

After the introductory activities, we move to the during-lesson developmental strategies, which collectively seek to deepen students’ understanding of the subject through collaborative research and presentation. We begin with an engaging and interactive Jigsaw Activity, requiring students to become experts on a designated Province. They are encouraged in this endeavor to use more than just the textbook, so as to link traditional in-school literacies with new online out-of-school literacies. Group work with a multi-literacy research emphasis gives students the social interaction, text-variety and multi-media supports to heighten reading engagement, promoting critical thinking, technical and collaborative skills. Finally, the groups organize and effectively display their research visually on chart paper, presented orally to the class.

The after-lesson activity involves the completion of a graphic organizer, a concluding comprehension summary to be handed in as an ‘exit ticket’ at the end of the class. Incorporating the above strategies in a Before-During-After Study framework helps students construct meaning by initially establishing purpose, activating background knowledge, sustaining motivation, and providing direction; and then by guiding an active search for meaning; and then by finally extending and elaborating on ideas from the texts (C.A.R., 141).

Praxis Paper


Video Clip Worksheet

Content Circle activity sheet


Jeanelle Crowley (103570062)

Amilia Di Chiara (103188843)

Shane Romualdi (103544333)

Ben Stone (101647357)

Jackie Paige (104164994)