Indigenous Perspectives

Stolen words

Author(s): Melanie Florence and Gabrielle Grimand


Social Justice focus: Language barriers for indigenous community

Synopsis: This book is an exemplary instance of demonstrating the impact of the residential school system on the lives of indigenous community. It reflects how their language was stolen from them in their childhood to separate them from their cultural roots. The story has a beautiful setting that embraces the relationship of a young girl with her grandfather and how she helps him find his language once again.

Lesson Plan: David Laing

Primary/Junior/Intermediate Lesson Plan (Abbreviated Template)

Consecutive and Concurrent Programs

Unit/Topic: Language Arts/FNMI

Grade: 7

Lesson: This lesson will introduce students to a series of picture books that deal with the FNMI experience in Canada. The overall unit is a series of lessons and tasks to educate and challenge students on their ideas about the FNMI experience in Canada. This section will focus on residential schools.

Curriculum Areas: History/Social Studies

Curriculum Expectations: Language Arts

Reading: 1. read and demonstrate an understanding of a variety of literary, graphic, and informational texts, using a range of strategies to construct meaning;

1.1 read a wide variety of increasingly complex or difficult texts from diverse cultures, including literary texts

1.3 identify a variety of reading comprehension strategies and use them appropriately before, during, and after reading to understand increasingly complex texts

2. Recognize a variety of text forms, text features, and stylistic elements and demonstrate understanding of how they help communicate meaning;

2.2 analyse increasingly complex texts to identify organizational patterns used in them and explain how the patterns help communicate meaning

2.3 identify a variety of text features and explain how they help communicate meaning

Writing: 1. Generate, gather, and organize ideas and information to write for an intended purpose and audience;

1.1 identify the topic, purpose, and audience for more complex writing forms

1.2 generate ideas about more challenging topics and identify those most appropriate for the purpose

1.3 gather information to support ideas for writing, using a variety of strategies and a wide range of print and electronic resources

Media Literacy: 3. Create a variety of media texts for different purposes and audiences, using appropriate forms, conventions, and techniques;

3.1 explain why they have chosen the topic for a media text they plan to create

3.2 identify an appropriate form to suit the specific purpose and audience for a media text they plan to create

Visual Arts: D1. Creating and Presenting: apply the creative process (see pages 19–22) to produce art works in a variety of traditional two- and three-dimensional forms, as well as multimedia art works, that communicate feelings, ideas, and understandings, using elements, principles, and techniques of visual arts as well as current media technologies.

D1.1 create art works, using a variety of traditional forms and current media technologies, which express feelings, ideas, and issues, including opposing points of view.

Learning Goal(s): Students will have a better understanding of what a residential school was, what the purpose the schools served and what effects the schools had on the students that attended. Students will also learn different and creative ways to present the material they have learned to display understanding.

Success Criteria: Students will answer a series of questions about the picture book, they will then create a 6 word story about the picture book they have chosen. Students will then create a poster or power point slide expressing their 6 word story.

Examples: What was a residential school? Who did it affect? Why were the schools started? What were some of the results of residential schools? How does the book you chose depict residential school life? How did you feel reading your book?


  • extended time limits
  • Alternative settings, a quiet room free of distractions
  • Peer or scribe note-taking
  • Space for movement or breaks

Minds-on: Students will watch a short video on residential schools

Minutes: 10 minutes

Task: I will lead a discussion on the content of the video. As a group we will create a KWL chart to get a better understanding of what students already know and what direction they want to take their learning.

Assessment: Assessment For learning, I will take some anecdotal notes on their current understanding

Action: I will introduce the class to a series of picture books that describe and discuss the residential school program in Canada. In groups of 3 or 4, students will choose and read one of the picture books.

Minutes: 15

Task: Students will work in groups of 2-3 and answer a series of question about the book. They will focus on the themes of the book, why the book was written, what they felt was the meaning of the book, who the audience was intended to be, is this a good format to tell this type of story?

Assessment: For Learning using anecdotal notes.

Consolidation: Students will create a 6 word story on one aspect of the picture book they have chosen. Students will create a power point slide or poster with illustrations to display their story. They will also complete a 2 stars and wish exit ticket, describing what they enjoyed and what else they want to learn. We will also finish the KWL chart allowing students to demonstrate what they have learned.

Minutes: 25

Task: I will be observing student interaction, sitting in with groups as they work and answering any questions that may arise. Students will be working on their poster/slide.

Assessment: Of Learning, to determine how well students have demonstrated achievement in their reading and learning. Students will submit their completed work for marking using a rating scale. We will also complete the KWL chart that we started at the beginning of the lesson.

MATERIALS: Picture books, chart paper, chrome books or Ipads

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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