Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Political Drama
Ask students about the reasons why people send "Dear John" letters or break up with people in a letter or an email. How would it feel to receive a "Dear John" letter?
Inform students that Paul Martin, the minister of finance from 1993 to 2002 received a "Dear Paul" letter (a play on words for a "Dear John" letter), to let him know about the end of his time in cabinet.
Outline the Opportunity
Direct students to the topic Paul Martin: Prime Minister in Waiting on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them view the clip "The feud boils over" and read the accompanying Did You Know? section.
Students can use the 5W's (who, what, why, when, and where) and How to guide their research as they investigate the circumstances surrounding Martin's departure from his position as minister of finance. They will use their research to prepare a list of points that they can share as they respond to Martin's departure and subsequent replacement in the form of a simulated phone-in radio broadcast.
Have one student act as the host of the radio show, while the others "phone in" and express their opinions "on air." You may want to make an audio tape of the broadcast and replay it.
Revisit and Reflect
After the simulation (or the re-play), ask for a consensus among students: How do they feel about Martin's departure and subsequent replacement? Did any of them change their mind after hearing one another's opinions?
Students can write a letter from Martin to Prime Minister Jean Chrétien responding to the "Dear Paul" letter. Ensure that students follow the protocols for writing letters of this type.