CRRP | William Burgess
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CRRP Sample Projects

CRRP Initiative Projects


The following projects were created by educators who participated in the initiative.  They are samples of the types of inquiry questions and related activities that these educators engaged in over the course of the year.  These projects reflect  questions and actions educators took to address those questions related to teaching and learning in their respective contexts and some of the components connected to their understandings of CRRP.  Some of the educators provide resources that they found helpful along the way.

William Burgess Projects #1
Mike Kelly, Erica Hayes-Bouyouris, Brad Niven & Angus Tannis

Focus / Big Idea

What is the difference between Sameness vs. Fairness (equality vs. equity)

Component of Equity Continuum

-Classroom Climate and Instruction

Initial Inquiry Question

How can we provoke students to recognize inequities in their local and global community?

Final Inquiry Question

How can students continue to build on their own prior knowledge to help them recognize the difference between fairness and sameness and take action to promote fairness in their communities?

Grade Level / Subjects

Grade 1-3

Curriculum Links

Langugage: Reading, Writing, Media

Learning Skills (collaboration, responsibility, initiative)

Activities / Actions Taken to Move the Inquiry Forward

Comics distinguishing the differences between sameness and fairness


Games that demonstrated the differences between sameness and fairness (band-aid game, food game)


Read alouds and classroom discussions to identify the difference between sameness and fairness as well as focus on identifying actions that they can take to promote fairness

Resources / Research That Supported Your Professional Learning (Titles & Authors)

“Rethinking Elementary Education” Christensen, Hanson, Peterson, ed.


“Reading, Writing, and Rising Up.” Linda Christensen


“Equity Continuum: Action for critical transformation in schools and classrooms.” Ontario Institute for Studies in Urban Education

Classroom Resources That Supported The Inquiry Journey With Students

“A Chance to Shine.” Steven Seskin and Allen Shamblin


“Those Shoes” Maribeth Boelts


“Gandhi’s Glasses” Students in Model Schools for Inner Cities.


“The Other Side.” Jacqueline Woodson


As well as teacher generated resources


Videos/ public service announcements about body image, bullying, media awareness


“Eye of the Storm” video


Comics promoting fairness

William Burgess Projects #2
Jenny Saltmarsh, Donna Service & Stacy Langdon

Focus / Big Idea

Identity and Student Voice

Component of Equity Continuum

Classroom climate and instruction:

Issues of social justice- anti-racism, anti-classism, anti-sexism, anti-ableism, and anti-homophobia- are central to the classroom curriculum and building students critical thinking skills.

Initial Inquiry Question

How do the students in grade 4 and 5 feel the media portrays their age group? (ads, commercials, movie, text)

Final Inquiry Question

How might student work around identity through spoken word and arts help students engage more in their learning and develop a clearer understanding of how identity is multidimensional?

Grade Level / Subjects

Grade 4/5 –Language , Media, Drama, Phys-ed, Social Studies, Art

Curriculum Links

Language Arts (reading, writing, oral communication)

  • Draft and revise their writing using a variety of informational, literary and graphic forms.
  • Reading: literature circles ( Maniac Magee, Loser, Stargirl, Sadako and The Paper Crane, Schooled, Freak the Mighty, Parvana’s Journey, Underground to Canada, Orange is in No Man’s Land, Iqbal, Among the Hidden, Wonder, Ellie, Sounder, Bud Not Buddy, Role of Thunder Hear me Cry.

Media Arts

  • Analyze and interpret a variety of texts ( ads, videos, magazines).


  • collage making, collecting a variety of mediums ( newspaper, magazines, paint, artifacts).


Social Studies

  • Ancient Civilizations: early African Civilization, Ancient Greece, Egypt (grade 4), First Nations  (grade 5)




Fox and Rabbit Game. Atoms Game.

Activities / Actions Taken to Move the Inquiry Forward
  • Investigation of power and privilege using current and relevant contexts ( news media)
  • Transfer understanding of voice, equity, identity to personal life experiences (e.g., playground issues)
  • Empathy component to be discussed and ongoing review
Resources / Research That Supported Your Professional Learning (Titles & Authors)


Classroom Resources That Supported The Inquiry Journey With Students


Skin Again

The Skin I am In

The Other Side


Ruby Bridges

Don’t Say Aint

The Princess Boy


News Articles:

NBA Clippers

Free the Girls

Russia and Olympics



Ruby Bridges

What would You DO? (Youtube)

Body Image Clips

William Burgess Projects #3
Jane Dover, Angela Cekrezi, Pauline Pao, Tim Luu

Focus / Big Idea

To ensure that all the children see their identity as important, valuable, and represented in the classroom.

Component of Equity Continuum

Classroom Climate Instruction:

Students see their lives and others represented in the materials, books, pictures, teachers, etc. within the classroom and school.  The curriculum speaks to the lives of the students in the classroom and does not mandate a “one size fits all” curriculum, based on white middle-class societal view.

Initial Inquiry Question

Can you find something in the classroom that reminds you of you?

Final Inquiry Question

Can you find a character in a book that looks like you?

Can you find a family in a book that looks like yours?

*Can you find something in the classroom that makes you think about your traditions?

Grade Level / Subjects

JK/SK – Language

Activities / Actions Taken to Move the Inquiry Forward
  • Read alouds and discussions that reinforce our big idea
  • Visual Arts:
  • Role on the wall body outline

(Inside of body: What is important about you? Outside of body: Describe your appearance)

  • “The Best Part of Me” photos

(What is the best part of you?)

  • Self portraits drawing

(What is the colour of you?)

  • Communication with Home:
  • Letter sent home to engage/include parental involvement in the classroom
  • Requested family photos to display in the classroom
Resources / Research That Supported Your Professional Learning (Titles & Authors)

Rethinking Early Childhood Education – Ann Pelo


Rethinking Multicultural Education – Wayne Au


Beyond Goats and Charity: Theories & Practice for Systemic Change (OISE/CRRP)


Equity E-Bulletin: Asian Heritage Month


African Heritage Conference – White Privilege and Male Privilege

Classroom Resources That Supported The Inquiry Journey With Students

The Best Part of Me

The Princess Boy

The Colours of Us

Golden Domes

The Family Book – Todd Parr

Who’s in My Family –

And Tango Makes Three


Princess Grace – Mary Hoffman

Oliver Button is a Sissy

The Other Side –

Mirror – Jeannie Baker

These Hands – Margaret H. Mason

The Herd Boy – Niki Daly

The Snowy Day – Ezra Jack Keats

So Much – Trish Cooke

The Name Jar – Yangsook Choi

Desmond and the Mean Word – Desmond Tutu

Looking Like Me – Walter Dean Myers

Night Shift Daddy – E. Spinelli

Skin Again – Bell Hooks

My Mom is a Foreigner, But Not to Me – Julianne Moore

Mom and Dad Glue – Kes Gray

It’s Hard Not to Stare


Parental Visit – Mother with prosthetic leg sharing her different abilities/physical difference


Conversation with Parent – discussion about the unintentional messages that some picture books can convey when viewed by young children who may not read the words (eg. She felt the images  in ‘Boo’ by Robert Munsch reinforced negative stereotypes about black males, while her child had chosen it because he identified with the main character)

Our Next Step

-Continue to encourage sense of self through read alouds (Infuse more books with characters who are South Asian, mixed and of differing abilities because we found that those groups were under-represented in our classroom resources).

-Encourage more parent involvement

– If possible ensure diversity in classroom placements

William Burgess Projects #4
Katherine McKeown & Anila Kulla

Focus / Big Idea

Connecting kindergarten children to their own empowerment as learners.

Component of Equity Continuum

Student Voice

Initial Inquiry Question

How do we determine instructional importance by allowing student insight (voice) to drive the conversation?

Final Inquiry Question

How can we teach children to differentiate between “a voice” (oral) and “voice” as empowerment?

Grade Level / Subjects


– Language (oral explanations, determining author messages in read alouds),

-Mathematics- completing simple scales to measure level of caring, involvement etc.

-Visual Arts – drawing pictures/diagrams to express thinking

Curriculum Links

See Above

Activities / Actions Taken to Move the Inquiry Forward
  • Using an accountable talk wheel to track level of oral engagement for each student during discussions in a large group
  • Frequent teacher student conferences as we transcribe their explanations (responses to the many graphic organizers)
  • Selected read alouds and follow up discussions around “voice” as action vs. just talking


** all results encouraged us to reset our compass moving forward as we kept revising and reflecting on HOW to generate thinking about  identifying/connecting with inner power (voice) to learn and take action

– in the end, we realized there continued to be confusion around the word “voice” as the children kept interpreting it literally as talking and sound

The read alouds all focused on “power”, which we eventually stayed with as talking could be one of many examples of using power.

Resources / Research That Supported Your Professional Learning (Titles & Authors)

**the bulk of this inquiry was student conference driven as we carefully transcribed their explanations based on a series of graphic organizers that kept evolving from the results that preceded them.

These graphic organizers invited the students to fill in various scales as self reflections (again that kept evolving as we steadily morphed our question to get at accessing voice as empowerment beyond volume/sound).


-as the inquiry progressed, we abandoned the “engagement scales and accountable talk tracking wheel and introduced three read alouds which became the launching point to drill further toward the concept of voice as power to take action


These stories were (in order of presentation)


Splat the Cat by Rob Scotton

 to illustrate “voice” as true sense of value and belonging resulting in a willingness to help solve problems in the classroom community


The Lion and the Mouse (traditional fable)


** wordless version to make it more open to individual interpretation (deliberate choice)

  • tiny mouse, regardless of size, is big and strong through action taken to rescue lion (voice as power)


The Little Hummingbird

By Michael Nicoll Yahgulanaas

– another rich example of how a tiny hummingbird has strength of heart and mind to take action and extinguish a forest fire drop by drop as the other animals helplessly look on