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Lessons (2013)

Curriculum Framework (2013)

Framework Click Here

The following lessons are more current covering what has happened from the 2002 curriculum until now 2013. The areas covered are Education, Comparisons, Survivors, Reconcilation and Healing for each grade level.

Click on the lesson title below to receive the complete lesson plan inclusive of activities, worksheets, readings, handouts, tests, quizzes, assignments, rubrics, and so forth.

Grade 9 
  • Traditional Knowledge Systems: Prior to European contact, First Nations people had their own education system and their own belief systems in how children learned their traditional gender roles, gained spirituality, became part of their community, interacted with nature and so forth. It is important to be aware of the way First Nation people taught their children in order to compare and understand the impact of residential schools had on these children and of generations to come. Students will learn about Traditional Knowledge Systems, have the opportunity to identify with pre-colonial First Nations children and participate in a traditional sharing circle.
  • United States Boarding Schools: Residential schools or boarding schools as referred to in different countries, not only happened in Canada, they also happened in other countries affecting many Indigenous Groups around the world. European contact made for many struggles that arose between First Nations people and the European settlers. Educating "Indians" through assimilation became the goal, "kill the Indian, save the man", Colonel Richard Pratt's philosophy behind the creation of U.S. Indian Boarding Schools in the 1870's and the (attempted) destruction of the Indian culture began. 
  • Residential School Survivors: For over 100 years, the main goals of the residential schools were to assimilate and civilize First Nations's children. Ways in which the schools tried to "kill the Indian in the child", resulted in lifelong struggles for residential school survivors, their family members and communities. Students will learn about the impacts caused by residential schools. Students will learn about traditional types of healing, specifically art. Students will reflect upon art by Survivors and have the opportunity to share information about themselves through their own piece of art.
  • The Day of the Apology: With years of persistence, courage, strength and determination, Aboriginals presented the Canadian government facts and dire issues facing former residential school students. This resulted in a formal apology by the Prime Minister of Canada, Stephen Harper. On June 11, 2008 awareness of a very dark chapter of Canadian History came to light. Apologies and admittance from the Canadian government regarding its role in the forced asimilation of First Nations, Inuit and Metis children and the serious intergenertional impacts of the legacy of residential schools was brought forth to all Canadians. Sadly enough, this was the first time some Canadians had ever heard of residential schools, that happened over 100 years ago.
  • Healing Programs: The legacy of residential schools in Canada lives on through generations of First Nations children returned home. They brought with them various abuses they experienced that have impacted their families and their communities for generations to come. Fortunately, the Canadian government and other organziations saw the need to establish various healing programs to aid residential school Survivors, their families and their communities.


Grade 10
  • First Nations Control Over First Nations Education: NAN First Nation Vision - ...through access to a wholistic education, which integrates traditional and contemporary knowledge, values and teachings, members will be empowered to contribute to the sustainability of our culture, language, traditions and well-being of their family, community and the broader society. Highlighting successes in Aboriginal education shows the determination of educators and as well as the resiliency of Aboriginal culture to survive through the centuries. Many issues and concerns still exist regarding Aboriginal education. Students will have the opportunity to learn about and celebrate some of the success as well as contribute ideas for the future of Aboriginal education.
  • Australia Boarding Schools: Residential schools or boarding schools as referred to in different countries, not only happened in Canada, they also happened in other countries affecting many Indigenous Groups around the world. Similar atrocities were placed upon Australia's Aborigines. Most shocking were the blatant attempts to "breed out" Aborigines altogether. Through comparison and contrasting charts and paragraphs, students will learn about Australia's forced removal of "fairer skinned" Aborigines and compare Australia's dark history to that of Canada's.
  • Intergenerational Impacts: One part of the legacy of residential schools is they have impacted generation after generation of Aboriginal peoples in this country. The role and impacts of residential schools on Aboriginal traditional knowledge and mental, emotional, physical and spiritual well-being are linked to colonization and cultural genocide. The goal of residential schools was institutionalized assimilation by stripping Aboriginal peoples of their language, culture and connection with family. Although assaults on the first peoples of this land have been devastating and intergenerational, it is the pride that we celebrate the resilience and tenacity of the holisitc well-being of Aboriginal peoples. We are still here. (modified, by Cheryle Partridge)
  • Church Apologies: 'In the 1870's, the government of Canada partnered with Anglican, Catholic, United and Presbyterian churches to establish and operate boarding and residential schools for Aboriginal (First Nations, Inuit and Metis) children...The intent of the residential school system was to educate, assimilate and integrate Aboriginal children into Canadian society'.  As early as 1986, the churces directly involved with the administration of the residential schools have apologized to the Aboriginal people of Canada. These churces have also been a part of the reconciliation and healing process. In this lesson, students will have the opportunity to explore the apologies given by three church groups and write reflective paragraphs. Students will also explore the healing initiatives and discuss the lack of apology from the Catholic church.
  • Honouring Survivors: Since before Prime Minister Stephen Harper's Apology in June 2008, the process of healing has begun for former residential schol Survivors. Events, walks, conferences, curriculum and exhibits have been inspired by the courage and strength of Survivors and to honour those who are no longer with us. Most significantly are the memorials, which have been created and erected. During this lesson students will have the opportunity to explre and teach their classmates about the different ways residential school Survivors have been and still are being honoured in Canada. By designing their own memorial/monument, students too will honour those who have been so greatly impacted by the residential school experience.


Grade  11
  • Importance of Education: This lesson focuses on the importance of both traditional and western education of First Nation students. The class will take part in an initial discussion on the topic. Students will classify and organize information about tradtional learning in First Nations culture. Students will create a life map focusing on past, present and future education in both traditional and western education. The life map is a reflection, as well as, a goal setting activity to show students the importance of education. Education in this lesson is considering the passing on of knowledge, skills and beliefs from one person or source to another person. The lesson concludes with students being asked to reflect through paragraph writing on topics dicussed throughout the lesson.
  • China/Mongolia Boarding Schools: Residential schools or boarding schools as referred to in different countries, not only happened in Canada, they also happened in other countries affecting many Indigenous Groups around the world. The teacher will first familiarize studetns with the physical location of China and Magnolia on a world map. Students will improve reading skills by focusing on explicit and implicit information. Students will annotate a resource provided by highlighting explicit information and to make inferences. Once students become familiar with boarding schools in China/Magnolia and surrounding area, they will create a visual to compare and contrast ideas with Canadian residential schools. Students will create an eight frame visual to illustrate similarities and differences of schools around the world.
  • Canadian Society: This lesson focuses on past and present relationships of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada. Students will reflect on prior knowledge to answer questions and take part in class discussions. The class will read, analyze and discuss several resources that focus on hardships experienced by First Nation peoples while attending residential schools, as well as, present day relations based on apologies presented by the government of Canada to Aboriginal peoples. Students will take part in a letter writing activity; working with a partner students correspond with each other by sharing difference perspectives and knowledge. The lesson encourages students to express ideas and form opinions through discussion and letter writing.
  • Residential School Settlements: Students will review and broaden their knowledge around the term 'Reconciliation' through an introducatory brainstorm session. Students will then take part in a virtual 'scavenger hunt' in a computer lab by exploring two Web sites that will familiarize them about the Indian Residential School Settlement Agreement. Students will continue their learning by reading an article involving a specific example of one aspect of the agreement. Finally, students will gather and organize information from the article by writing a formal information paragraph.
  • Speaking My Truth: The class will form a sharing circle for the introductory discussion of this lesson. The sharing circle will teach the students that when sharing ideas, thoughts and emotions with each other, students must listen and respect one another. The teacher will set rules for the circle that should not be broken. Students will discuss, using examples from their own lives, some important ideas about the past, present and future of Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people of Canada. The goal of the activity is to understand that we must know where we come from in order to understand where we are going. The teacher will then read some real life stories recounting events of First Nation peoples and their experiences growing up in Canada. To end the lesson, students will plan an interview by creating questions, dicussing the effectiveness of the questions by collaborating with their peers and teacher, and finally, will conduct an interview with a family or community member.


Grade 12
  • Options and Opportunities: Part of the legacy of residential schools is lack of trust and respect for education. As educators we need to encourage First Nations youth to stay in school, as it will provide options and opportunities. This lesson will expose students to varying career choices that are available to them. Students will make connections to their feelings and their future while defining key terms related to the subject. Students will explore feelings and their future while defining key terms related to the subject. Students will explore a wide range of education, career options and successes of First Nations people in Canada. Students will explore and evaluate a wide range of education and career options available to them by conducting research on four different careers of their choice. Students will then share the information they gathered to the class.
  • Maori Boarding Schools: Residential schools or boarding schools as referred to in different countries, not only happened in Canada, they also happened in other countries affecting many Indigenous groups around the world. This lesson will inform students about the colonialism and decolonization of the Maori people in New Zealand. Students will identify the location of New Zealand on a world map, they will review and define terms, and they will read to become informed about Maori people. Students will be assessed when asked to write a compare and contrast paragraph identifying the similarities and differences of the First Nation peoples in Canada and the Maori people of New Zealand.
  • Community: This lesson will take several class periods to complete. Students will make a personal connection to the theme by initally writing a diary entry. Students will revisit the entry at the end of the lesson and write another entry to reflect on learning, as well as, a changing of opinion. The class will become familiar with successful communities across Canada and discuss what makes the communities successful. Finally, students will choose a community event and organize all aspects of the event in great detail. In the end, the class may want to pursue one or several event plans and carry it out in their community.  
  • Class Action Lawsuits: This lesson will give students the opportunity to acquire several individual and group skills. The class will reflect on and discuss prior knowledge regarding Class Action Lawsuits in Canada. The Indian Residential Schools Settlement Agreement (IRSSA) is the largest class action settlement in Canadian history. On May 10, 2006, the government of Canada announced approval by all parties of the IRSSA. Each student will be responsible for reading through a related article and working with a group to gather important points of information. Initial groups will split to form new groups where students will teach each other about the article they researched. Communication skills will be utilized during this part of the activity. In the final stages of the lesson, students will be given a quiz to recall information from the article and show what they learned from each other.
  • Stolen/Lost Children: This activity will allow students the opportunity to learn more about residential schools. Through a video and article, the focus will be on cases where children went missing or their lives were lost while boarding at the schools. Students will extend their learning into a personal connection by creating a multi-media presentation honouring the lives of children lost to residential schools. This lesson has a content-based section for learning and a creative expression section for students to make a personal connection to the content.