Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Mock Television News Program
Ask students to share any experiences they have had
watching documentaries and live broadcasts of major political events, such as
elections, news conferences, and party conventions.
Ask: What is a sound bite?
Provide the students with examples of sound bites and describe how they can be
used in context or taken out of context, and what effect this has.
Ask students to watch one television news program during the week and keep a record of any sound bites that they hear, listing who spoke and what was said.
Discuss the Meech Lake Accord debate with the students, outlining the main purpose of the meeting and the main sources of dissent. Model how to write one or two sound bites that might have come from the debate.
Outline the Opportunity
Have students browse through the clips on the CBC Digital Archives website on the topic Constitutional Discord: Meech Lake. Invite them to work in groups to invent and write "sound bites" that represent each key development in the Meech Lake Accord debates. They can choose to invent quotes from key political figures, such as Prime Minister Brian Mulroney, Quebec Premier Robert Bourassa, former prime minister Pierre Trudeau, New Brunswick Premier Frank McKenna, Newfoundland Premier Clyde Wells, Bloc Québécois leader Lucien Bouchard, federal MP Jean Charest, Ontario Premier David Peterson, Manitoba Premier Gary Filmon, Manitoba MLA Elijah Harper, and Parti Québécois leader Jacques Parizeau.
They might include invented quotes
from real or invented interviewers and political commentators as a way to
provide background information, analysis, and impressions of the main
developments in the negotiations and their results. They can also include
invented quotes from "ordinary Canadian citizens," such as aboriginal people,
pro-independence Quebecois, and Newfoundlanders, in order to represent a range
of different views on the Meech Lake Accord. (Remind them to attribute all the
Have students read aloud and tape the sound bites, and, if they wish, create visual aids, such as photographs or drawings. Invite students to present their work. Conclude with a class review of the main events during the Meech Lake Accord debate, and briefly discuss the reasons for the failure of the Accord.
Revisit and Reflect
Have students discuss their views about the roles that different political leaders played in the events leading up to the failure of the accord, how they would evaluate them (either negatively or positively), and their reasons for doing so.
Ask: Do you think sound bites give an accurate summary of someone's position? How can a sound bite be used to influence a listener or viewer?
Students can write fictitious sound bites from three
political figures who are commenting in 2010 on the failure of the Meech Lake
Accord and its importance in Canada's history.