Queen Alexandra Gr 6/7

Arts Education, Language Arts, Social Studies


Queen Alexandra Elementary School, Vancouver, BC



Kate Giffin and Jamine Hickman



Rupinder Sidhu, Khari McClelland



Grade 6/7


Sources of Inspiration:

Vancouver Biennale Legacy: Echoes at Kitsilano Beach



The students looked at Echoes with a critical eye and thought about social justice and inequality including thought provoking questions like Who gets to sit at the table and who gets left out? Students responded to the BIG IDEA by linking it to deeper roots such as racism, child labour, child soldiers, poverty, hunger and wrote poetry about what students thought about these topics. They learned that art is not a one-way communication but that it can communicate both ways. Students created poetry, music, and body percussion as part of a year-end large scale play on global social justice issues for the general public in the community and neighborhood schools.



Global Citizenship and Social Justice


Guiding Question:

What are you waiting for? How do we welcome everyone to take a seat around the table (Inclusivity)?


Curriculum Access:

Language Arts, Social Studies, Arts Education


Learning Process:

The students have been using inquiring learning to gain insight on the rights and responsibilities of children both globally and in Vancouver before their field trip to Echoes. The students met the artist, (Michel Goulet, Quebec, Canada) on-site and were challenged to reflect on what role they plan to play in this world – a passive observer or a leader for change. Seeing the chairs all lined up rather than gathered around a table, the students are asked to think about: What are you waiting for? Are you just going to sit back while all of this is going on? On the topics of equalities, Echoes also inspires the question on Who gets to sit at the table? Can we make room at the table for everyone? This exploration with Echoes was followed by a series of workshops with two artists to further their inquiry on social justice through body percussion, beatboxing, poetry composition and performance.


Student Creations:

Students wrote long and short poems, complicated body percussion, and a song about lifting up people to bring Awareness to what else is going on in the rest of the world. The end result was a very tightly put together sequence of intricate body percussion, beautiful music and moving poetry.


Taking Action:

The two Grade 6/7 class students researched, wrote and created a play, Open your eyes, change the world exploring a variety of social justice issues that affect children around the world. They used music, movement, drama, spoken word and multi-media elements to speak for the young person whose Human Rights are being violated, who are being silenced and who are waiting for the rest of the world to respond with compassionate action. They hope to bring awareness about these problems and to inspire other young people and their own class to be part of the solution by making informed decision in their daily life.



Sep – Mar

Through reading and research,

  • Examine children’s rights and responsibilities
  • Learning about poverty and its effects
  • New issues affecting young people in Vancouver and around the world
  • Teachers worked with Judy Halburt and Linda Kiaser from Ministry of Education to bring inquiry based learning to the classroom


  •  Brainstorming and Freewrites
  •  Creating poetry
  •  Learning the how-tos of body percussion
  •  Vocal techniques and projection
  •  Beatboxing
  •  Create character for drama performance
  • Write script


  • Bringing all the work together (practice, practice, practice) and rehearse for the final play performance.


  • Presented four 45 minutes public performances at Van Tech Secondary School (parents, community members, students from other schools attending).
  • Students hosted a Q and A session after each performance to share their learning and action plans with the public.




After learning about how multinational companies exploit child labour in developing countries, I will make changes to my purchase decisions.

Through working on the big scale performance production, I learnt how to work with other students and not to step on someone else’s toe.