Indian Residential Schools: resources to support teaching and learning

Posted on: January 23rd, 2016 by jnovakowski 2 Comments

Leanne McColl and I hosted an after school professional learning session to share a resource to support grade 5 teachers and teacher-librarians in the teaching and learning about Indian Residential Schools. For the past few years, alongside efforts of the Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Canadians have been learning about the travesty in Canadian history stemming from the Indian Act, particularly enacted through the mandated attendance of children at Indian Residential Schools.

The First Nations Education Steering Committee (FNESC) has developed educational resources to support teachers in the teaching of this shared history, which is now included in the elementary and secondary Social Studies curriculum.


Although available for purchase through the FNESC website (, these teaching resources are also available to download for free, as pdf documents. The grade 5 resource is available here:

We looked through the components of the resource – enduring understandings, essential questions, literature connections, experiential learning, using primary documents, etc. We shared the literature that is referenced in the resource and teachers also prepared their own “memory bag” to correspond with the lessons in the resource.

IMG_2074 IMG_2075

Teachers at the session had many questions which we discussed as a group and shared our ideas. Other resources were provided to the teachers such as the Project of Heart document and Aboriginal Worldviews document – links to these can be found here:

Project of Heart ebook

Aboriginal Worldviews and Perspectives in the Classroom

Our session concluded with sharing FNESC’s Starleigh Grass’ Ted talk about reconciliation. The video can be viewed here:

Reconciliation and Education – Starleigh Grass

Due to the popularity and interest in this session, we hope to offer another one in the spring!


2 Responses

  1. Graham says:

    Thanks for sharing these resources Janice. Growing up in Ontario left us with different regional talking points (at least within social studies class).
    Appreciate it!

  2. […] a follow-up to an after school Leanne McColl and I held for grade 5 teachers (see post HERE) on Indian Residential Schools, I visited two of the grades 5&6 teachers at Cook Elementary to […]