Three Day Road- Culturally Responsive Lesson Plan

Lesson Plan Title: Residential Schools                                                                                  

Date: Undetermined               Subject: ELA/ Social Studies            Grade:  10       Topic: Three Day Road/ Residential Schools

Time: 3 classes

Materials: Pen, Paper, Ears

Stage 1- Desired Results – you may use student friendly language
What do they need to understand, know, and/or able to do?

– Residential school was developed to try to teach First Nation’s children to leave their cultural ways for that of the newcomers.

-Residential school was extremely difficult for First Nation’s children because they had to leave their families and communities for extended periods to go away to school and experienced horrible conditions within the schools including physical, mental, emotional, and sexual abuse.

-Residential school affects First Nations people today because of the ongoing intergenerational trauma that was a direct result of the conditions and abuses endured by the First Nations people

-All Canadians can help the healing process by learning about and understanding the truths about the history and legacy of Indian Residential Schools

-Stories are a powerful device of healing, persuasion, information, and engagement


Broad Areas of Learning:

Developing Lifelong Learners-

Students who are engaged in constructing and applying English language arts knowledge naturally build a positive disposition towards learning. Throughout their study of English language arts, students gain understandings, skills, and strategies to become more competent and confident language users.


Developing a Sense of Self and Community-

To learn English language arts, students need not only to use the English language but also to interact with each other. They use language to interact and to respond effectively with others and to build community.


Engaged Citizens-

In the English language arts, students learn how language enables them to make a difference in their personal, peer, family, and community lives. Language gives them a sense of agency and an ability to make a difference in their community and the world in which they live.


Cross-Curricular Competencies:

Developing Thinking-

Learners construct knowledge to make sense of the world around them. They develop understanding by building on what is already known. This key competency concerns the ability to make sense of information, experiences, and ideas through thinking contextually,

critically, and creatively. The philosophy of learning in English language arts is inquiry-based, and students use their language and thinking skills to explore a range of topics, issues, and themes

Developing Identity and Interdependence-

The ability to act autonomously in an interdependent world requires an awareness of the natural environment, of social and cultural expectations, and of the possibilities for individual and group accomplishments. English Language Arts require students to explore ideas and issues of identity, social responsibility, diversity, sustainability, and personal agency.

Developing Literacies-

Literacies provide many ways, including the use of various language systems and media, to interpret the world and express understanding of it. Literacies involve the evolution of interrelated skills, strategies, and understandings that facilitate an individual’s ability to participate fully and equitably in a variety of roles and contexts – school, home, and local and global communities. To achieve this competency requires developing skills, strategies, and understandings related to various literacies in order to explore and interpret the world and communicate meaning. English language arts requires students to use different literacies, including language literacy, effectively and contextually to represent ideas and understanding in multiple, flexible ways.

Developing Social Responsibility-

This project requires the ability to participate with others in accomplishing shared or common goals. This competency is achieved through using moral reasoning processes, engaging in communitarian thinking and dialogue, and taking action to contribute to learners’ physical, social, and cultural environments. In English language arts, students explore their social responsibility and work toward common goals to improve the lives of others and the natural and constructed worlds.



CR A10.1-

Comprehend and respond to a variety of visual, oral, print, and multimedia texts that address:

• identity (e.g., Foundational Stories);

• social responsibility (e.g., Destiny and Challenges of Life);

• social action (agency) (e.g., Human Existence).

– View, listen to, read, and respond to First Nations and Métis resources and other texts that reflect diverse personal identities, worldviews, and backgrounds (e.g., appearance, culture, socioeconomic status, ability, age, gender, language, social structures, and decision making).

– Identify connections between self, texts, and culture.

– Develop understanding and interpretations of a variety of texts by drawing upon personal experiences and prior knowledge of texts and language.

– Respond thoughtfully and critically to text providing support from text to justify response.

CR A10.4-

Read, interpret, and draw conclusions about the ideas, information, concepts, and themes presented in a variety of literary (including poems, plays, essays, short stories, novels) and informational (including magazines, newspapers, and on-line information) texts

-Read, comprehend, and explain the human experiences and values reflected in various literary and informational texts created by First Nations, Métis, Saskatchewan, Canadian, and international authors from various cultural communities.

– Demonstrate active reading behaviours including:

• establishing a purpose for reading such as to learn, interpret, and enjoy

• skimming, scanning, and reading closely

• identifying and analyzing explicit and implicit messages, viewpoints, and concepts

• relating understanding of a range of texts to personal experiences, purposes, audiences, and other texts

• constructing images based on text descriptions (Key)

• discussing and analyzing meanings, ideas, language, and literary and informational quality in a range of contemporary and historical texts

CC A10.1

Compose and create a range of visual, multimedia, oral, and written texts that explore:

• identity (e.g., Foundational Stories);

• social responsibility (e.g., Destiny and Challenges of Life);

• social action (agency) (e.g., Human Existence).

-Create spoken, written, and other representations that include:

•        coherence, logical progression, and support for ideas

•        clear patterns of organization

-organize information using appropriate forms (e.g., charts, diagrams, outlines, electronic databases, storyboards)

-draw logical conclusion from information and consider how to best present to identified audience

CC A10.2

Explain and present to a familiar audience the key ideas and events (actual or based on a text studied) through an appropriate combination of charts, diagrams, sound, models, drama, and print.

-Use props, visual aids, graphics, and electronic media to enhance the appeal and accuracy of presentations.

-Analyze, organize, and convert information into different forms (e.g., charts, graphs, drawings).


PGP Goals:

1.2       ethical behaviour and the ability to work in a collaborative manner for the good of all learners– Students are put into groups in which they need to work in a collaborative environment. In this way, students that may struggle have a support system that they can use to increase their learning and comfort.

1.3       a commitment to social justice and the capacity to nurture an inclusive and equitable environment for the empowerment of all learners–  It is important to recognize injustices throughout history such as this. The first step to reconciliation is to admit to the mistake and recognize the merit of legitimizing the survivor’s stories so that the truth can help future generations and foster healing between the relationships of all members of society.

2.1       knowledge of Canadian History, especially in reference to Saskatchewan and Western Canada- This lesson is based upon history in relation to Saskatchewan as well as Canada as a whole.

2.3       knowledge of First Nations, Metis and Inuit Culture and History (e.g., Treaties, Residential School, Scrip, and Worldview)- Three Day Road is written by an Aboriginal author and contains FNMI content. Therefore, knowledge of FNMI content is essential to both the novel as well as the lesson material (residential schools). This is a direct inclusion of FNMI content.

2.4       ability to use technologies readily, strategically and appropriately– Use of electronic resources such as YouTube to show differing perspectives to my own allows students to see the breadth of the effects of residential schools on the Aboriginal peoples. It also allows a more intimate view by showing real survivor stories that I simply do not have.

3.2       the ability to use a wide variety of responsive instructional strategies and methodologies to accommodate learning styles of individual learners and support their growth as social, intellectual, physical and spiritual beings– Use of group work as well as the Jigsaw Teaching strategy helps to accommodate all learners and, furthermore, helps to ensure the success of all members of the classroom.

 4.2      the ability to incorporate First Nations, Metis, and Inuit knowledge, content and perspective into all teaching areas- FNMI content is in both the book that is being studied as well as the students responses to this content. Furthermore, FNMI knowledge is important in adequately interpreting and recognizing the truth behind the residential school stories.

4.3       the capacity to engage in program planning to shape ‘lived curriculum’ that brings learner needs, subject matter, and contextual variables together in developmentally appropriate, culturally responsive and meaningful ways- The inclusion of the speaker allows the students to see that this has more effect than simply within stories. This emotional connection with the speaker makes the students “live the curriculum” and work towards reconciliation as well as decolonization. In this way, the students take what they are learning from this unit and apply it to their everyday life becoming more active and engaged citizens within both their local and global communities.

Stage 2- Assessment
Assessment FOR Learning (formative) Assess the students during the learning to help determine next steps. 

KWL charts to track students prior knowledge as well as the knowledge they gain from the lesson. Journal entries (as a continuation of the reading journal) in the same style as the students did during the reading of Three Day Road

-1 or 2 quotes that are important (to the chapter, book, characters, or reader) and an explanation of its importance (sentence or point form).

-Paragraph about the readers thoughts, connections, and reactions to the videos (Rosenblatt’s The Reader, The Text, The Poem- What do the words on the page do in the mind of the reader)

-(Minimum 10) Point form notes on what the reader has learnt about the characters, setting, time period, major events, etc… throughout all videos altogether (not 10 per video)

Assessment OF Learning (summative) Assess the students after learning to evaluate what they have learned.

This lesson is building to the Eye Witness Account/ report that answers the 5W’s and H for facts about what happened and uses descriptive details and then the presentation of these writings orally to the class as a “story.”

-Oral and symbolic tradition- mini-unit wrap up. Students present their personalized story orally to the class (or, if a student is reticent about this activity, with the teacher outside of class time) touching on the above details. Thus, students create a presentation from their “eye witness” account writing. (The Elder would have used descriptive details in his/her account of the events and, thus, is the scaffold of this project). Students create a picture journey (see picture story assignment) for the students to follow as they tell their story (visual stimuli).

Marking will be based upon: coherence, accuracy, understanding (of audience and material discussed), and detail. The extent of which will be co-created with my students and, thus, a rubric will be created based upon these topics linked into the outcomes and indicators within the curriculum.

Stage 3- Learning Plan- Motivational/Anticipatory Set

-KWL chart on Residential schools- what they know, what they want to know, and (at the end of class) what they learnt- I personally like KWL charts because they give a concrete understanding for both student and teacher about where the students are at and the knowledge that they are bringing into the classroom. Furthermore, KWL charts provide a running record of student learning and insights as they are used throughout the unit. (I am hoping that by the time they are in grade 10 they would have touched or, in detail, covered residential schools and their impact on Canadian culture and the Aboriginal peoples themselves) Depending on the responses from the students, my instruction can be adapted to include a more in depth analysis of Residential school impact.

-The videos can also be considered engaging materials as well.

-A quick precursor that this material can be uncomfortable but is still very important would be beneficial to all students as well as the recognition that this is Treaty 6 territory.

Main Procedures/Strategies:

  1. 20 minutes worth of video content looking at the Residential schools themselves as well as their impact. I am showing the students these videos because I am not the authority on this knowledge. I want them to learn from those that can provide for them the context and real life experiences (the truth) that I can only touch on especially because of my inclusion in the dominant culture. Acknowledging this fact is important to show that these are not my stories but that I support the people whose stories they are.

It Matters: The Legacy of Residential School by The WSO Canada (YouTube).- (Approx. 5 mins)

-This resource is a quick blurb about residential schools from another perspective rather than simply “white.” It also looks at the persecution of the Sikh people as well and what they think about the residential schools as well. These resource looks at two stories of oppression and shows that this is not an isolated incident and we need to be better.

– The Impact of Residential Schools on Aboriginal Healthcare | Dawn Tisdale | TEDxComoxValley- (Approx. 10 mins needed)

-Ted talks are an excellent resource. This talk looks at a more personalized account of learning about residential school. This will connect with the students because they will be learning about residential schools in the same way as this young woman. Good use of storytelling to get a point across.

Heritage Minutes: Chanie Wenjack-(1 minute)- Written by Joseph Boyden

New Heritage Minute explores dark history of residential schools-(approx. 2 and a half minutes)

-These two resources give a quick glimpse into residential school life and are fairly hard hitting. They take a peek into another residential school survivor’s stories.

2a. 15 minute Discussion-

Why did we watch these videos?

What emotions do these videos foster? Why?

How have the relationships between Aboriginal and non-Aboriginal people in Canada been broken?

2b. 10 mins- Break into groups of 3 or 4 and then come together to share answers to the class (jigsaw method). Each student has to write in their journal about their group’s discussion. Each group gets a question with a change to discuss before and after the speaker.

How do the stories we have just viewed apply to Three Day Road? What are the similarities? Differences?

How do these stories apply to us as individuals? A class? A society? How have Canadians been denied a proper education about First Nations societies and their historical relationships with Canadians?

How do these stories apply to reconciliation? What is reconciliation? What positive actions can be taken to bring about reconciliation?

-This lesson is a precursor to the Elder talk. I believe that going through this lesson will allow the students a better background to what the Elder is saying and will provide context for the students. Hearing the personalized account of the Residential school will (most likely) foster heavy emotions and this has to be told to the students beforehand.

Day 2-

I would like to make this a place-based lesson and have the kids go listen to an Elder at Wanuskewin Heritage Park or another outside area. In this way, it gets them out of the classroom and more connected to the land and the stories that come from it. This, in my opinion, would be very powerful sitting behind the school with the school in the backdrop. Students would still be outside but in full view of the type of institutions that the Elder/ stories are talking about.

The important thing here is the connection between the learning and listening in connection with the land. This sort of “roots” the learning into the students and gives them a better connection and understanding of the stories we have listened to throughout this mini-unit as they begin to understand how a people that were in connection with the land were ripped from it.

1.      Talk by an Elder (approx. 30 mins). Leading with the presentation of tobacco and the asking if they will share their knowledge with the students on their experiences with Residential Schools. Thanking of the Elder.

2.      Discussion on what the students learnt from the Elder. How does this apply to the questions you are discussing from last class?

3.      Journal entries about what they experienced in the Elder talk (using the same journal format as laid out in the formative assessment section) (approx. 10 mins). I also want the students to write about the 5 W’s and H (Who, What, Where, When, Why, and How) from the Elders talk in preparation for the personalized Eye Witness Account/ report.

Day 3-

1.      10 minutes to discuss any changes the students need to make within their presentation- Group presentations approximately 10 mins each (depending on the amount of groups)

2.      See Closing.


-Guest Speaker

-Flexible timeframes

-Possible place-based education and/ or field trip opportunity (out of desk/ conventional classroom) Ex. Wanuskewin Heritage Park, Brightwater, the parks and/ or trails along the river that are part of the Meewasin Valley Authority.

-See Unit Adaptations and Differentiation

Closing of lesson: (Last class) (Each day has a mini closing throughout the plan)

Finish KWL chart about what the students have learnt as well as how this ties into the wrap-up project. Use the rest of the time to write in journals.


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