By Kurt Bartlett

City School

City School,


I had no idea what to expect walking into an alternative school on only my second practicum. I had done some reading about alternative schools in my time at OISE, but nothing I could have read could have prepared me for how challenging, awesome, exciting, and interesting it is to be in an environment like that.

Many of the alternative schools in the TDSB exist for students that don’t “fit” into a “standard” school for a variety of reasons. Maybe they’ve had trouble with attendance. Maybe they have anxiety about class sizes. Maybe they want to be in a smaller community. Or maybe they want more freedom in how they learn. Alternative schools provide all of these alternatives, which can provide quite a challenge for teachers (and teachers to be, in my case). They also provide a friendly and inviting community that makes you feel welcome the second you walk through those front doors.

To make the most of my time teaching history and political science at this alternative school, I worked on creating several strategies that would help the class and I get on the same page. Far be it for the teacher-candidate to tell anyone how best to teach, but I believe by following and retooling these strategies at various points during my practicum I was able to make the most of my experience teaching. 

Lessons by students of John Myers at OISE


grade 7


In this issue of Rapport you will find four lessons for Grade 7 History from Unit 2. They are part of the series of lessons by students of John Myers at OISE.


Grade 7 History UNIT 2, 1800-1850: CONFLICT AND CHANGE

Lesson 1 by Philip Lloyd


1812 New Header Bento 972 x 140


LESSON TITLE: The War of 1812 and the Contribution of Aboriginal Peoples


TIME: 80 minutes (2 class periods)



  1. The students will gain an understanding of the significance of the War of 1812 as examined through different historical perspectives (British, Canadian, America, Aboriginal)
  2. The students will learn how to express historical significance and meaning in an artistic form (poems)
  3. The students will begin to understand how the lack of acknowledgement for Aboriginal perspectives in our history has contributed to strained relations with Aboriginal peoples today
  4. The students will practice how to work collaboratively with their peers and decipher which pieces of historical information are the most significant

Specific Curriculum Expectations


B3.1 Identify factors leading to some key events and/or trends that occurred in and/or affected Canada between 1800-1850

Historical Thinking

B2.5 Evaluate evidence and draw conclusions about perspectives of different groups on significant events, developments, or issues that affected Canada and/or Canadians

“Non-Academic Outcome” – related to Habit of Mind #8: Transference Beyond the Learning Situation

B2.6 Communicate the results of their inquires using appropriate vocabulary and formats appropriate for various audiences



Formative Assessments

  1. The research each student brought to the first lesson
  2. The poem that each group presents to the class

Summative Assessments

  1. The 300-word reflection
  2. The recreated poem



Remember, the purpose of this lesson is to NOT to have students have a comprehensive understanding of the War of 1812. Rather, the main objective is to show students the importance of different historical perspectives can dictate how we remember history. It is to show the necessity of meaningful integration of each perspective into the historical narrative.



In previous lessons, students will have already begun to look at historical events through multiple perspectives. They will have learned about previous interactions between Aboriginal peoples and European settlers. They will also have analyzed the contributions of Aboriginal peoples within the Seven Years War.

Before coming to class, the students will be expected to have reviewed websites that provide a background to the War of 1812 (#1, #2, and #3 as shown in “Resources”). The class will have been divided into three (approximately 3 groups of 9).

Group A will come to class having answered:

  • Name two significant causes of the War of 1812.


Group B will come to class having answered:

  • Name two significant battles and/or moments of the War of 1812 and why they are significant.


Group C will have come to class having answered:

  • Name two significant consequences of the War of 1812.



  • Have both computers and hard copies of the resources students will be expected to read.
  • Provide students with a worksheet to follow along when I am speaking.
  • Walk around the room as I am speaking.
  • Have a mix of independent and group work.
  • Ensure the groupings are purposeful.
  • Do not require a student to present their poem to the class if they are extremely uncomfortable.



Background to the War of 1812



Aboriginal Contributions to the War of 1812




Minds-On (10 minutes)

Each student will share one of the two (1) causes, (2) battles, or (3) consequences they identified for homework. Two squares and one horizontal line will be drawn on the board. One square will be labeled “Causes” and other “Consequences.” The line in the middle will be labeled “Timeline” which is where students in Group B can include their information on the battles.


Introduction (15 minutes)

The teacher will provide a very brief overview of the War of 1812, citing the research the students have completed. The teacher will provide greater depth on particular points and correct any misunderstandings, where applicable. The teacher will NOT discuss the contribution of Aboriginal peoples unless a student has written something to that effect in the board. In that case, the teacher will just mention it and not go into detail. As the teacher is speaking, the students will complete a worksheet with space to record answers to the three initial questions (see Appendix A).


Activity #1 (15 minutes)

Students will gather in groups, where there is one representative from group A, B, and C. Students will begin writing a short “ballad” poem (with an AC-AC-AC rhyming pattern) using the information they and their classmates have collected. Students are to write a poem from the perspective of a solider (any solider). They are to assume this poem will be read 200 years later and within it, they want to outline what they hope future generation will remember about the war. The teacherI will provide a Robert Frost poem as an example.

Fire and Ice

Some say the world will end in fire,
Some say in ice.
From what I’ve tasted of desire
I hold with those who favour fire.
But if it had to perish twice,
I think I know enough of hate
To say that for destruction ice
Is also great
And would suffice.

– Robert Frost

The students will be expected to work with their groups and complete their poems by the following class.


Activity #2 (10 minutes)

Each group will share their poem with the rest of the class. This will be evidence of “visible learning.” The teacher will make note of whether they included any information surrounding the Aboriginal experience and/or significance to the war.


Activity #3 (15 minutes)

The students will be given the opportunity to review the websites (either online or a hard copy) that outline the Aboriginal contribution to the War of 1812 (#4, #5, and #6 as shown in “Resources”).


Consolidation (15 minutes)

The teacher will bring the class together and discuss the following questions:

  1. Why do you think there are differences in the way the European/Canadian/American participation in the war is remembered as compared to the Aboriginal participation?
  2. For those of you that didn’t include anything related to Aboriginal peoples in your poem, why do you think that is? Was that intentional? Did the resources you look at contain information on this topic?
  3. Why is it important to remember the contributions of Aboriginal peoples in the War of 1812 and in the development of Canada more generally?



The students will be asked to do two things for homework.

  1. The mission of the “Idle No More” campaign is as follows: "Idle No More calls on all people to join in a peaceful revolution, to honour Indigenous sovereignty, and to protect the land and water." Continue your reading/research on the websites provided in class. In addition, check out: In 300 words, write how you think the lack of acknowledgement for Aboriginal perspectives in our understanding of history has contributed to strained relations with Aboriginal peoples today?
  2. Individually, re-write the poem you created to reflect the new knowledge you’ve gained on the significance of the Aboriginal peoples in the War of 1812.

The next lesson is entitled: “Immigration: Growth and Displacement of Settlement in Upper & Lower Canada and How It Affected Indigenous Populations.” Given the consequences that war had on Aboriginal people’s land, the lesson showcased above will be an effective precursor.

Appendix A

Name: _______________________________      Date: __________________________


Significant Causes












Grade 7 History, UNIT 2 - 1800-1850: CONFLICT AND CHANGE

Lesson 2 by Melissa De Caires


Peter Jones dcb

Image of Peter Jones from Dictionary of Canadian Biography,



LESSON TITLE: Immigration: Growth and Displacement of Settlement in Upper & Lower Canada and How It Affected First Nations Communities


TIME: 80 minutes (2 class periods)



  1. Explain the reasons for and impact of immigration on First Nations communities in Canada in the early 1800s
  2. Read, interpret and analyze data from maps of the past
  3. Expand on vocabulary learned from introductory lesson (settlement, immigration, displacement)

Curriculum (Specific Expectations):

B1.2 analyse some of the challenges facing individuals and/or groups in Canada between 1800 and 1850

B1.3 analyse the displacement experienced by various groups who were living in or who came to Canada between 1800 and 1850 and how some of these groups dealt with their displacement

B2.3 analyse and construct maps as part of their investigations into some significant events, developments, and/or issues that affected Canada and/or Canadians during this period, with a focus on exploring their spatial boundaries



  1. Assessment for learning: Think, Pair, Share during the Minds On activity to determine students’ readiness to learn new knowledge and skills, as well as learning about students’ interests
  2. Assessment as learning: Jigsaw activity during the main portion of the lesson, to build on students’ knowledge with modelling and guidance from the teacher
  3. Assessment of learning: 3-2-1 strategy to assess students’ learning at the end of the period and inform further instruction



  • Answers to the Jigsaw activity can be found using Nelson History 7 textbook or online
  • Teachers will need access to a screen/projector to do mapping activity as a class, or have students do it individually on computers as you speak
  • Teacher will also need to explore and become familiar with the interactive map on the website



  • Students will need to have prior knowledge in reading and deconstructing maps
  • They will need to have learned about the War of 1812 and how it has affected settlement in Canada during this period



  • Have a word wall available in the classroom for students struggling with the vocabulary
  • Ensure students are grouped accordingly
  • Increase/decrease the amount of key points needed depending on students’ abilities and strengths
  • Provide an alternative to writing down answers, such as orally communicating their thoughts, or illustrating



  • Jigsaw Worksheet (appendix 1)
  • Interactive maps links

‘Native Population, Economies and Movement, ca 1820’

‘Population Distribution, ca 1825’

Nelson History 7 textbook




Minds On (15 minutes)

Students will be asked to close their eyes an imagine their favourite place or a place they feel most comfortable in. Have them create a vivid image of this place in their minds, thinking about how it makes them feel, what sound they hear, the smells, and what kinds of things they see or taste. Next, tell students to imagine someone suddenly taking it away, telling them to leave it all behind. Ask students: How does this make you feel? And have a Think, Pair, Share of their responses.

If time permits, have the students’ perspective on the situation change, as they are now the ones intruding on someone else’s space, taking something valuable from someone else. Does this change your initial reaction/feelings? Are you, or could you be, justified in taking what does not initially belong to you?



Jigsaw activity   (30 minutes)                                                                                      

Students will be grouped and numbered 1 to 3 within their home groups. Once they are given their questions, they will regroup with students that share the same number (expert group) and identify 2-3 key points in response to each of the questions assigned to them. After each expert group has identified their points, students will go back to their home groups to share and discuss their results. Answers are to be recorded on each section of the Jigsaw worksheet based on the information collected in their expert groups and provided from their home groups.  The questions are as follows:

Group 1

  • What factors influenced people’s decision to move from their homelands to a new country/Canada in 1815?
  • What were some of the travelling conditions people had to endure during this period?

Group 2

  • How did immigration to Canada change the settlements already established prior to their arrival?
  • What is the cholera epidemic and how did it affect the people living in Canada at the time, specifically the First Nations communities?

Group 3

  • What factors impacted the First Nations relationship with their land?
  • Name one First Nations community impacted by immigration and settlement from Britain? What were some of the problems they were facing?
  • Who is Peter Jones and why is he significant?

As a class, discuss students’ results.


‘Mapping the Movement’ activity (25 minutes)                                                       

Beginning with a brief review on how to read a map, students will build on their prior knowledge of reading, analysing and interpreting maps from Geography class to complete this activity.

Together as a class, be looking at the map of ‘Native Population, Economies and Movement, ca 1820’ to analyze the information found on this map. Focus on the features of the map (i.e. title, symbols, etc.), and what information is provided.

Questions to consider:

  • Who might be interested in the data presented and collected from this map? Why?
  • What do we understand from this map in terms of immigration and settlement on First Nations communities?

If time permits, also look at map of ‘Population Distribution, ca 1825’ to study the settlement and patterns of European settlement of the time, and compare with initial map.

- What observations and conclusions can be made from these two maps?


Consolidation (10 minutes)

Use the 3-2-1 strategy to check students’ learning of this lesson.               

Organized as follows:

  • 3 effects of immigration on First Nations communities and people
  • 2 reasons for British immigration to Canada
  • 1 question/idea you are still wondering about OR an idea/fact you found most interesting



Students will answer the following questions with some additional research:

  • How has the settlement patterns of First Nations communities and European settlement changed today?
  • What stayed the same, if anything?

They will find 2-3 points from their map comparison and analysis.

They must include an image/s of the maps they are comparing with its cited sources.            






For each of the questions below, identify 2-3 key points in the right-hand column.



Key Points

What factors influenced people’s decision to move from their home

lands to a new country/Canada in 1815?

What were some of the travelling conditions people had to endure during this period?

How did immigration to Canada change the settlements already established prior to their arrival?

What is the cholera epidemic and how did it affect the people living in Canada at the time, specifically the First Nations communities?

What factors impacted the First Nations relationship with their land?

Name one First Nations community impacted by immigration and settlement from Britain? What were some of the problems they were facing?

Who is Peter Jones and why is he significant?

Grade 7 History, UNIT 2 - 1800-1850: CONFLICT AND CHANGE

Lesson 3 by Fraser Telford


Chippawa 1838 NMC 3007 resized

Brock University, Historical Maps of Niagara, Rough sketch of the roads from Cayuga to Chippewa,



LESSON TITLE : The Transformative Power of Transportation


TIME: 80 minutes (two class periods)

This lesson will centre on a variety of aspects of the growing transportation networks in upper Canada between the war of 1812 and Confederation.  Students will have the opportunity to look at need for, development of and finally reflect on the effects of the new transportation network first from the perspective of the European colonists and then from that of the First Nations people.



  1. Students will recognize the shift from individual road building responsibilities to the more top down planning of transportation routes we are more familiar with today.
  2. Students will demonstrate an understanding of the importance of roads to the settlers of Upper Canada, why they were important and how they were built.
  3. Students will be able to identify multiple factors, both internal and external, that would have influenced road construction both in terms of planning the routes as well as the building itself.
  4. Students will understand the effect that roads had on First Nations populations. Students will demonstrate an understanding of how the increase in transportation would have affected their territory, way of life and role in the new economic system.



  1. Two written pieces which will be started in groups as graphic organizers and then completed at home in the form of a reflection.
  2. Small group presentations will demonstrate understanding of the assigned reading.



  • Laminated historical maps of Upper Canada will be needed. Crayons can be used on the plastic and then wiped off after the exercise is completed allowing the maps to be reused.  Ensure there is somewhere that the maps can be stored undisturbed between classes.
  • The University of Guelph has a digital archive of rural diaries (See resources). Preselecting excerpts which touch on roads and transportation will allow students to experience primary documents and voices from the past.  These can be paired with excerpts from text books which will provide them with enough details for their presentation and reflections.
  • Access to computers of some form would allow groups to extend their investigations if time allows.



Students should be comfortable with the early developments of Upper Canada and more specifically the relationship prior to and during the first half of the 19th century between the European settlers and the First Nations people.  Students should have some level of comfort with the difference between primary and secondary documents and be comfortable attaining information from both.  Although not necessarily needed to understand the main concepts some understanding of the changing role of British involvement in Upper Canada after the War of 1812 would give the greater perspective on the period of transportation development they are investigating.



Much of the work will be done in groups which can be pre-planned if the teacher feels this would better serve the class.  Group members can support one another and for the independent writing students can have access to computers or have adjusted expectations in their success criteria for those with IEPs.



Rural Diary Archive:




Class #1 (5-10 minutes)

Teacher Presentation                                                                                                    

A brief presentation by the teacher will provide some of the context around the period of time and the region to be investigated.  Mostly this will ensure that all of the students are comfortable with the prior knowledge needed for the next two classes.


Mini Group Investigation (10 minutes to investigate + 10 minutes to present)

Students will divide into groups where they will be assigned readings (one primary and one secondary document) which they will use to investigate an individual and the societal group they represent (farmers, clergy, merchants, military/militias).  The focus of the readings will be on road development and the varying needs for using and responsibilities of building and developing roads.  Using short preselected readings students will fill out graphic organizers present their findings to the class.


Map Simulation (10 minutes)

For this activity new groups will be made comprised of one member from each of the investigative groups.  Group members will play the role which they had previously investigated.  Using what they know of their character’s needs and road responsibilities they will build roads in lengths based on the luck of a dice role.  Students will have a preselected number of turns (mostly based on time).

Once the turns have been completed and the roads and cleared land have been drawn on the map groups will put the maps away in a pre-assigned location where they will be stored until the next history class.


Class #2

Worksheet (10 minutes)

Students will each be given a small reading detailing a First Nation including their original home territory as well as their traditional food sources (hunting, fishing, cultivation, etc.).  Once they have completed a basic work sheet they can move on to the mapping activity.


Map Simulation Part 2 (10 minutes)

Using the information from their worksheets students will take turns drawing their territories on the map.  In a different colour from the roads students will draw the necessary transportation routes the First Nation would need to acquire their own food, connect with other First Nations and depending on the assigned tribe connect with the European settlements for trade.  The twist will be that no First Nation territory can cross a European roadway and no First Nation route can cross “private” European land.


Group Discussion (10 minutes)

Students will be asked to reflect on how the European establishments and roadways would have affected each of the First Nations’ way of life. Thinking back to when they were in the role of colonists students will also reflect on what they may have done differently in regards to their road and territorial development had they been aware of and had a better understanding of the First Nations people from that area as well as their needs and traditions.


Group Presentation (10 minutes)

Each group will present the two or three most important or impactful things that came from their reflections on the activities.  Each presentation should have at least one point on the effects that the road development would have had on the First Nations population.



  1. After the first class students are to write a reflection on the role roads played in the lives of colonists in Upper Canada. This should build off of their initial investigation and their role in the map simulation.
  2. After the second class, students are to write a more extensive reflection looking more specifically at how the European development would have affected the First Nations people’s way of life. As an extension to the assignment students will be asked to come up with a modern example of the greater effects of developing or destroying transportation networks.  Students will have access to photos of their map simulations as well as all of the readings and information sheets through Google classroom.