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Unit 3

Voices from the Present


  • Develop an awareness of hate crime incidents in Canada.
  • Recognize the components of a hate crime (e.g., motivated by hate, prejudice or intolerance of someone’s religion, colour, or ethnicity)

Print the UNIT 3 Lesson Plan as PDF


Print the UNIT 3 Glossary as PDF


  • Video 3
  • Lesson Plan
  • Video Discussion Guide
  • Choose Your Voice Student Pledge Certificate
  • Lyrics to One Tin Soldier
  • Recording of One Tin Soldier (optional; not included)
  • Graphic Organizer
  • Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and the Hare
  • Rubric 3

Fact sheets:

  • Thunder Bay’s Crisis of Racism: 2000-2016
  • Weekend Spree of Antisemitism in Toronto Area: 2004
  • The Suicide of Amanda Todd: October 2012
  • Sikh Soccer Players in Quebec Told to Remove Their Turbans: 2013
  • Homophobic Attack in Nova Scotia: October 2013
  • Racial Profiling in Nova Scotia: 2009-2016
  • Racist Vandalism in Ottawa as 6 Places of Worship are Targeted: November 2016
  • Six Slain in Mass Shooting at Islamic Cultural Centre of Quebec City: January 29, 2017
  • Bullying and Homophobia

“Washing one’s hands of the conflict between the powerful and the powerless means to side with the powerful, not to be neutral.”

– Paulo Freire, Brazilian Educator

Unit 3 Lesson Plan

This unit begins with a video and classroom discussion about hate crimes. Students look at a popular fable and song lyrics to further explore the theme and then look at specific incidents of hate using the Fact Sheets provided.


Video Discussion Guide

Ask students to consider and discuss the following questions:

  1. Canadian law applies more significant penalties to criminal acts that are motivated by hate. For example, an individual who commits an assault that is motivated by hatred may receive a lengthier prison sentence than one who commits assault. Why do you think this is the case?
  2. Children at the Montreal Jewish school that was firebombed in 2004 were traumatized by the violence in what they thought was a safe place. Do you feel that your school is a safe place?
  3. Does your school run programs that educate students about acceptance of differences of ethnicity/culture/religion? Are they effective?
  4. Suggest some things that could be done in your school to fight hatred.


1. Read Aesop’s fable, The Tortoise and The Hare

Explain to students that a fable uses people, animals, or objects to tell a moral story. For example, in The Tortoise and The Hare the moral of the story is “slow and steady wins the race.” The people, animals or objects often represent human traits. In The Tortoise and The Hare, the tortoise could represent the human trait of determination and the hare could represent the human trait of arrogance.



2. Distribute the lyrics of One Tin Soldier to each student. Read the lyrics aloud while the students follow along.

  • Explain to students that song lyrics are a type of poetry called lyric poetry, and that poetry is read differently than other language.
  • Try reading the poem aloud in different ways:
    • line by line
    • by punctuation (in sentences)
    • in three voices (a narrator, a valley person, and a mountain person)
  • Play the music while the students follow along (optional – music not included). Play the song more than once to ensure that students are familiar with the lyrics. Consider having the students sing along with the music. If you don’t have access to the music, read the words again in unison with the class.



3. Explore the meaning of One Tin Soldier with students

A number of activities are provided.

Poetic Form:

  • Colour coding: Lyric poetry contains rhythm (a beat) like music does. It also contains rhyme. Using different coloured pencils for each sound, highlight rhyming words.
  • What pattern did you find? Where does the pattern change? Talk about the reasons why the last stanza has a change in pattern.

Adjectives that Describe:

  • Why is the soldier referred to as a “tin” soldier? What does the adjective convey? (cheap metal = cheap life; easily molded, dented and punctured = easily killed) Examine other adjectives in these lines and determine why they are chosen.
  • There won’t be any trumpets blowing, come the judgment day
    On the bloody morning after one tin soldier rides away.
  • And they killed the mountain people, so they won their just reward
    Now they stood beside the treasure on the mountain dark and red

Point of View:

  • An assumption is a belief that a person thinks is a fact. An assumption can be correct or wrong. What assumptions do the valley people make?
  • Have students bring in old shoeboxes. For each group of six students, they should have two boxes – one labeled “valley people” and one labeled “mountain people”. Each box represents the types of things that the group of people value. (For example, the valley people value gold so a student could represent this with a gold chocolate coin or Monopoly money.) Each student in the group should bring in one item for each box that symbolizes what is valued by that group of people.
  • Each group will present their box and the reasons for their choices.

Exploring Narrative Form:

  • One Tin Soldier is written in the form of what type of story? (fable)
  • Circle verbs (action words) for the mountain people. (share)
  • Circle verbs (action words) for the valley people. (cried, draw, mount, kill…)
  • What motive do the valley people have for their anger?
  • What human trait do the two groups of people – the mountain and the valley – represent? (greed and generosity)
  • Write one sentence describing the moral of this story.

Considering Context:

Teaching Consideration

Students might connect events they have heard or read about in the news with the events of the “mountain people” and “valley people” revealed in this song. Emphasize that in the song the “mountain people” and the “valley people” think in different ways and have different values. Sometimes this can lead to people acting in negative – and even violent – ways. What the “mountain people” and the “valley people” needed to learn, and what we all need to learn, is how to find ways of communicating when we have differences in order to live together peacefully. Only when we learn this will we be able to stop the spread of hatred in Canada and throughout the world.




Take a closer look at hate crimes

Jigsaw is a method developed to share information quickly and accurately. The method relies on expert groups who recombine to maximize the distribution of information. For detailed instructions, go to:

  • Divide students into groups of four to six.
  • Refer back to Unit 2 and review the characteristics of an article. Remind students about the 5WHs: Who, What, When, Where, How and Why.
  • Distribute Fact Sheets and Graphic Organizer to each group. Make sure to clarify the distinction among victim, perpetrator and bystander.
  • Each student takes turns reading a paragraph (student one reads paragraph one, student two reads paragraph two and so on). While the student is reading, all other members of the group are recording information on the Graphic Organizer.
  • Groups discuss their Fact Sheet and complete point-form notes on what they have researched, making sure to include information about the systemic nature of the incident (i.e., carried out by a group, not individuals; targeting a group, not individuals). They are now “experts.”
  • Count off 1–5 in each expert group. Regroup all the #1’s, #2’s, etc., into new groups. Each person in the new group shares their Fact Sheet notes until everyone knows all of the incidents in question.

Teaching Consideration

Consider student strengths when forming groups so that students can receive good peer support from other students in the groups. Make sure that students are prepared to work cooperatively. Review the need to listen respectfully and to speak kindly to each other.



Debrief and Consolidate

Ask students to draw conclusions

  • What do these incidents have in common (e.g., majority group and a minority group, all have victims, perpetrators and bystanders)?
  • Why do we call these kinds of incidents hate crimes (e.g., based on prejudice, meant to be hurtful to others, against the law)?




Have students journal about what they’ve learned

Distribute and discuss the evaluation criteria before the students begin to work.

Write a journal entry about how what you learned in this activity might apply to your own life. You may consider incidents you have seen or in which you yourself were a victim. Or you might choose to focus on the need to respect different individuals and cultures.

You may choose to write your journal entry as prose, poetry, or as the lyrics to a song. The audience for your journal entry is a reader your own age. Make sure that the genre you choose suits your purpose. Be creative!



Please see the Curriculum Connections page for the evaluation criteria addressed in this unit.

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