Indigenous Perspectives

Fox on the ice or Maageesees Maskwameek Kaapit

Author(s): Tomson Highway and Brian Deines


Social Justice focus: The other of FNMI people/s

Synopsis: This book tells the heartwarming tale of a young family of four and their lovable hunting pup Ootsie, carrying about in Northern Manitoba. Written in a lyrical fashion, told in both English and Cree, the author, Tomson Highway captures the passing of a unique way of life for future generations to cherish. The tale tells of two young brothers, Joe and Cody, spending a frigid but beautiful afternoon with their parents. After a delicious, smokey lunch of bannock and fried fish, the family’s sled dogs spot a stunning red fox across the lake, her fur a stark contrast to the endless white of the deep Manitoba winter. Naturally intrigued, the sled dogs give chase, pulling Mamma and Joe across the lake on a wild ride, as they attempt to catch the fox. Papa has a choice to make- abandon his nets in the water, or surrender his wife, son and sled dogs to the expansive frozen desert. An easy decision, Papa and Cody drop their fishing nets and come to Mamma and Joe’s rescue before they get too far, laughing as they catch the handles of the sled. Just when they believe the fishing nets to have disappeared, the family dog, Ootsie comes running with net in her mouth, saving the afternoon’s cheerful mood.

Lesson Plan: Olivia Amorim

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Othering

Grade: 6

Lesson: Fox on the Ice

Curriculum Areas:

Social Studies:

Heritage and Identity: Communities in Canada, Past and Present

A1.4 explain how various groups and communities, including First Nations, Métis, and Inuit communities, have contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in Canada (e.g., with reference to the efforts of women’s rights, civil rights, Indigenous, or labour organizations, or of advocacy organizations for immigrants, disabled people, or various religious or ethnic groups; the Métis idea of and belief in respectful blending), and assess the extent to which Canada has achieved the goal of being an inclusive society.

A2.5 evaluate evidence and draw conclusions about perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of a few distinct communities, including First Nations, Métis, and/or Inuit communities, in Canada.

Language Arts:

Oral Communication:

1.4 Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas and citing a variety of details that support the main idea.

1.5 Develop and explain interpretations of increasingly complex or difficult texts using stated and implied ideas from the texts to support their interpretations.

1.6 Extend understanding of oral texts by connecting, comparing, and contrasting the ideas and information in them to their own knowledge, experience, and insights; to other texts, including print and visual texts; and to the world around them


1.8 Make judgements and draw conclusions about ideas in texts and cite stated or implied evidence from the text to support their view

Curriculum Expectations:

Learning Goal(s):

  • We are learning to summarize text
  • We are learning to make inferences using text
  • We are learning to make extend our understanding of ourselves and others
  • We are learning to learning to explain our thinking orally and in a written manner
  • We are learning to support our ideas
  • We are collaborating with our classmates

Success Criteria:

  • I can work collaboratively with my classmates to fill out a worksheet collectively
  • I can share my ideas
  • I can use active listening strategies to encourage my peers
  • I can recall previous knowledge from past lessons
  • I can make inferences from text
  • I can make connections between my own experiences and those of others


Students who are permitted assistive tech as per their IEP’s will be permitted to use a google doc to record their answers rather than on a sheet of chart paper


Minutes: 5-7 minutes

Task: We will be discussing previous books, articles we’ve read regarding FNMI peoples as well as any preconceived ideas about them

Assessment: Anecdotal record will be used to record students depth of knowledge and understanding as well as their ability to recall previous lessons


Minutes: 20-25 minutes


  • Students will then be divided into groups and asked to fill out a chart labelled with one side labelled “Similarities” and the other “Differences”.
  • Before reading the book, they will be asked to fill out what the believe the differences and similarities between a Cree family living in Manitoba and their own families.
  • After reading the book aloud with the class, students will be asked to reconsider what they have written down.
  • Is there anything they would like to add or change?
  • Have them add these points in in a different colour marker than their original notes
  • Ask students if they know what “othering” means. Inform students and have a discussion about the definition

Assessment: Anecdotal records will be kept to monitor students active listening skills as well as their ability to work collaboratively. The depth of their insights within their answers will be marked for thinking as well.


Minutes: 10-15


  • Have each group share what they wrote in the “similarities” and “differences” column before the read the book and were only given a brief description as to what it was about.
  • What connections did they make to past literature we’ve studied and discussed
  • Do we often “other” FNMI peoples and communities?

Assessment: Students will be assessed for the completion of their group chart as well as the thoroughness, thought and depth of both their written and oral answers. Students with exceptionalities may be assessed only for their verbal answers or written answers depending on their individual abilities.


  • Chart paper
  • Markers
  • Copy of Fox on the Ice

REFLECTION: Questions to determine the success of your lesson:

  • Were my students successful in meeting the learning goals and success criteria? How do I know?
  • Did my instructional decisions meet the needs of all students? If not, what are my next steps?
  • What worked well and why?
  • What will I do differently in the future when teaching this lesson? For the subsequent lesson?
  • What are the next steps for my professional learning?


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Social Justice Picture Books Copyright © 2019 by Ruth McQuirter, editor and Gurbinder Kaur, contributing editor is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 International License, except where otherwise noted.

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