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Hedgehog Productions

Education and Outreach

Interpretive programs, online exhibits, lesson plans, books, scripts and presentations. 

My years in children's publishing have taught me how to deliver messages to students (and adults) in a way that is both
entertaining and educational. Stories, whether printed or spoken, are an effective way to win and keep a anyone's attention.

No. 3 Cdn. Stationary HospitalThe Project: Ordinary Canadians In Extraordinary Times, Student Orientation Program, 2003-2009
The Client: The Canadian War Museum, Ottawa, ON
Associates: Janet Uren of WordImage, Ottawa, ON
Assignment: Introduce students to the themes of the War Museum before they start a tour of the exhibits.
Approach: The program introduces students to the stories of ordinary men and women who have experienced war at different times during Canadian history. The 20-minute presentation starts in a simple classroom which has a piece of war art at its centre. An animator, dressed as a character in the painting, enters the room and tells the students the story of the painting and how they became a subject in it. The seven fictionalized accounts range from a young girl caught in the 1769 siege of Quebec to a soldier on leave from the trenches in 1917 and a member of the Winnipeg Rifles fighting to liberate The Netherlands. Students are readily drawn into the stories with the help of costume, props, the artwork and a compelling delivery by a person not much older than themselves.
End Result: From its first year, the program has proven to be one of the most popular sessions on the annual school spring tours of Ottawa. About 60,000 students participate each May and June.
Links: read excerpts of a script.

peace towerThe Project: Outdoors student tour of Parliament Hill, 2002-2006
The Client: National Capital Commission
Associates: Janet Uren of WordImage, Ottawa, ON
Assignment: Create a tour of the grounds of Parliament Hill for students.
Approach: The theme of the tour was the development of Canadian democracy and we used selected statues around the Parliament Buildings to explain how Canada matured from British colony to nationhood. NCC guides led student groups around the Hill, pausing at a series of statues to tell anecdotes, ask questions and lead short group activities. The statue of Queen Victoria illustrated Canada's colonial past. The whispering wall on the east side of the Centre Block was the stage for a mock election whose unfair result was used to explain the need for responsible government. And the statue of John A. Macdonald introduced both Confederation and a simple magic trick.
End Result: The tour was well received by clients and tour groups alike and was used for five seasons.

Eaton dress displayThe Project: Online web exhibits, 2007-2008
The Client: Archives of Ontario
Associates: Janet Uren of WordImage, Ottawa, ON
Assignment: Plan and write web exhibits featuring two of the Archives' most important visual image collections.
Approach: After assessing the extent of the collections and conducting initial historical research, we created an interpretive plan that would tell an interesting story and explain the importance of the collection to visitors. Illustrations and photographs were chosen for both their aesthetic appeal and their historical relevance. After further primary and secondary source research, we wrote text, captions and reference data to support the displays.
End Result: The exhibits are major elements of the Archive of Ontario website.
Links: "Eyewitness: Thomas Burrowes on the Rideau Canal." This is an exhibit of a series of historical watercolours created by a surveyor during construction of the Rideau Canal.
"The Magnificent, The Merry and the Mundane: The Display Windows of the Eaton's Department Stores." This exhibit studies the influences that Canada's largest retailer had on households during the 20th century and how its displays reflect the society of their day. 

Pvt. John F. MouldThe Project: Lesson plans, 2004-2007
The Client: Archives of Ontario
Associates: Janet Uren of WordImage, Ottawa, ON
Assignment: Create a series of lesson plans, matched to primary and secondary curriculum, that would enable teachers to make use of the Archives' online exhibits.
Approach: The plans were designed as "ready-to-go" projects for use by teachers who had little time to prepare a lesson. As such, each plan begins with an overview of the exhibit, a list of teaching objectives, background information, a marking rubric and the activity itself, complete with teaching strategies, discussion topics and website links.
End Result: The series of 16 plans we created was promoted as "Instant Lesson Plans: Just Add Students.. and click!" They serve as the nucleus of a growing number of lesson plans being created by university teacher candidates and teachers who use our plans as a template. While many of the plans deal with history and geography, we also developed sessions for dramatic arts, marketing and creative writing programs.
Links: "The War of 1812." Students gain a general understanding of how the War of 1812 affected different groups of people and then create a persona for themselves and write an account of their own role during a particular event.
"The Story of an Ontario Veteran." Students explore the diaries and photographs of Private John F. Mould and then script a dramatic re-enactment of one of his stories.

Ottawa: A Kids' Eye ViewThe Project: "Ottawa: A Kids' Eye View," a family-oriented guide, 1994
The Client: Bungalo Books (publisher), Firefly Books (distributor)
Associates: J.A. Kraulis
Designer: Frank B. Edwards
Assignment: Create a beautiful illustrated book that takes young readers behind the scenes of the capital's main tourist attractions.
Approach: The book featured the photography of J.A. Kraulis, one of Canada's best landscape and architectural photographers who visited the city over four seasons in order to get a comprehensive portfolio of pictures. I researched the sites thoroughly and wrote a text that put the attractions into a historical context so that young readers would get a complete understanding of the importance of Ottawa as a capital and an interesting city.
End Result: The book was a critical success, found its way into libraries across Canada and remained in print for 10 years.

roll playThe Project: Author presentations, 2009
The Client: Canadian Children's Book Centre, Toronto, ON
Sponsor: TD Bank
Assignment: Tour schools throughout the Mackenzie River Valley, Northwest Territories to talk about reading and literac
Approach: These presentations are part of a literacy program that sends nationally acclaimed children's authors and illustrators to communities across Canada to promote reading. My one-hour presentations were based on reading/writing talks that I give to about 50 schools a year across Canada. Using a multimedia presentation, I show students and teachers how authors and illustrators work together to turn ideas into illustrated stories. The illustrated program is designed to get children from grades one to eight interested in reading and in writing their own stories. While it is curriculum-based, it uses lots of humour, personal anecdotes, photographs and illustrated readings to teach its. 
End Result: Over the past 10 years, I have visited 500 schools across Canada, the United States, Bahrain and Qatar.
Links: Read letters of recommendation and destinations.

roll playThe Project: Roll Play, television scripts, 2007-2008
The Client: Sinking Ship Productions, Toronto, ON
Assignment: Script a series of action stories for a pre-school audience that combines imaginative storytelling with physical movement designed to encourage viewer participation.
Approach: The show is aimed at pre-school children and the scripts must meet a series of challenges. First of all, they must involve animal characters who use actions instead of words to act out their roles. The characters are portrayed by both puppets and children who, separately, act out the stories in a very physical way so that young viewers will act out the stories in their own homes. The stories must be engaging but simple enough to keep youngsters's attention. Because the show was in its first two seasons, new characters had to be invented who were interesting and suitable for puppetry. I wrote eight scripts, including a seasonal special for use during the Christmas holidays.
End Result: The show was nominated for a Gemini award in its first season and is broadcast by Treehouse Television and CBC's French-language Radio-Canada.