Lesson 1 by Jenna MacPhail


North America 1713

North America After 1713. Wikimedia Commons. https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:North_America_1713.png



LESSON TITLE: What did British North America look like in 1713?


TIME: approximately 90 minutes



A3. Understanding Historical Context: Describe various significant events, developments, and people in Canada between 1713-1800, and explain their impact (FOCUS ON: Historical Significance; Cause & Consequence)

A3.1 Identify factors leading to some key events that occurred in and/or affected Canada between 1713 and 1800 and describe the historical significance of some of these events for different individuals, groups, and/or communities

A3.2 Identify key political and legal changes that occurred in and/or affected Canada during this period, and explain the impact of some of these changes on various individuals, groups, and/or communities

A3.3 Identify key social and economic changes that occurred in and/or affected Canada during this period, and explain the impact of some of these changes on various individuals, groups, and/or communities

A3.4 Describe some significant aspects of daily life among different groups living in Canada during this period

A3.5 Describe significant interactions between various individuals, groups, and institutions in Canada during this period

A3.6 Identify some significant individuals and groups in Canada during this period and explain their contribution to Canadian heritage and/or identity


SUCCESS CRITERIA STUDENTS WILL (with reference to Indigenous people):

  • Identify the different groups that live in North America prior to 1713 (British, French, Acadian, Indigenous, Canadian)
  • Identify where each group lived in North America at this time using the resources provided
  • Understand that within a group of people there are different values and experiences that contribute to the make up and location of each group
  • Understand that groups of people often have similar needs, but these can also differ depending on group culture and values. This will become apparent through the map activity as students start to learn where groups settled and why they may have settled there
  • Needs of different groups can affect relations with others. This could lead to conflict, or alliances



  • Students will create a chart of important considerations for each “group”
  • Formative assessment of student comprehension of multiple historical perspectives
  • Students will work towards effective team work skills, and becoming a valued group member, through contribution, collaboration, and respect



  1. Class will begin with teacher asking students who they think lived in Canada at the beginning of the 18th Century. This can be used to gather prior knowledge from the students (Assessment for learning). If required, a teacher could create a K-W-L chart to assess where the students are at with their knowledge of this topic.
  2. Teacher will then confirm the main groups that were present at the beginning of the 18th century (we are specifically focusing on 1713 for this particular lesson).
  3. Students will be split into jigsaw groups of 3-4, and each group will be assigned a “group” (French, English, Acadian, Indigenous).
  4. Each group will be responsible with researching where these groups were living during the time period, using maps, websites, and primary and secondary sources (as provided by the teacher, or through their own internet and library research). They will then create a basic map using the template provided of their locations.
  5. After these jigsaw groups have completed their assignments, new groups will be formed, with one member from each original group. These teams will create comprehensive maps of British North America, portraying where each group was located, and what the map looked like in 1713.



  • Students will need to have a basic understanding of how to read and understand a map, as well as basic knowledge about how to create their own map (this will be determined in as assessment for learning).
  • Students will need to know and understand the following terms:
    • New France
    • Canadian
    • Indigenous People
    • Great Britain
    • Acadian
    • French
    • Secondary sources
    • Primary sources



  • Teacher will hand out materials that will assist with scaffolding research
  • Visual learners will be supported through handouts, maps, and teacher Powerpoint presentation or anchor charts
  • Kinesthetic learners are supported through the jigsaw grouping, as well as the popcorn question period at the end
  • Auditory learners are supported through the teacher scaffolding each activity with questions out loud, as well as circulating the classroom
  • Inquiry questions will be provided in order to assist every student with scaffolding their responses to group discussion














  1. Introduce students to North America at the dawn of the 18th century
  2. Assign each student their population group for the class
  3. Jigsaw activity to learn about each group for the unit
  4. Draw the initial map of North America in 1713
  5. Consolidate with wrap-up questions



Popcorn style question (assessment as learning) – which groups were in a strong position in 1713? Why, or why not?

What similarities can be seen between where groups settled during this time period, and where they have settled now?



Assessment of learning: Students will need to write one paragraph (in a journal or blog format) about what they learned in class about who was present in British North America in 1713. To differentiate the assessment of learning, they also have the option to record their thoughts in an audio or video recording, to be submitted to the teacher.


By John Myers

John Myers

While I have some background in Indigenous studies in several provinces, including high school teaching about residential schools, as well as personal family connections, I am not Indigenous and would not pretend to understand issues through an Indigenous lens. For example, when I first taught about residential schools in the mid 1970s I was unaware of the “sixties scoop”.  That will be the case for most of us. I have done some quality professional learning through Facing History and Ourselves, as well as OHASSTA workshops, but I will not pretend it is sufficient. Once again, this is the case for most of us.

While school districts in Ontario have a variety of implementation plans, some detailed and all well-meaning and striving to promote high quality learning, many of us will miss out for a variety of reasons.

This project is meant to offer ideas if you are starting from scratch. OHASSTA has and will continue through Rapport and the conference, to suggest additional places to start. Other organizations are doing similar work.

In addition to the work of James Banks who offers a “standard” for determining levels of implementation (cited in earlier posts), I recommend checking out http://www.firstnations101.com. It Presents an overview of a book, First Nations 101 written by Lynda Gray, a member of the Ts'msyen Nation on the Northwest Coast of BC (Gisbutwada / Killerwhale Clan).  Her book is used as a primer for introductory courses in Indigenous studies in several western community colleges.


When I got into looking at issues of diversity education in the mid 1970s there were few sources for teachers. Now there are many, both print and online. In the next “Pedagogical Perspectives” in Rapport I shall review a number of these. Some have been featured at OHASSTA conferences and some have not. All have a place whether you are experienced in working with the diversities in your classroom or are “starting from scratch.” 

By Scott Pollock

lost stories logo

I recently had the opportunity to interview Concordia University’s Ronald Rudin. Our conversation, reproduced below, focused on Dr. Rudin’s “Lost Stories” project. This innovative approach to public history, which many readers will likely find to be intrinsically interesting, also has a great deal of “teaching potential.” OHASSTA members are encouraged to check out the Lost Stories website and its teaching materials.

SP: Tell us a bit about your work (e.g., where you work, what kind of research you do).

RR: I am a history professor at Concordia University, where I am actively involved with our Centre for Oral History and Digital Storytelling. I am a Canadian historian, with a particular interest in Atlantic Canada, but when people ask me what I do, I always tell them that I am a public historian.

Public historians study how the past was presented to the larger public in previous times, and try to create tools -- in our own time -- for bringing stories about the past to an audience beyond the university. In my own case, this has meant that in addition to writing books that are read mostly by other historians, I have also produced seven documentary films, and have created several multimedia websites that are designed to bring stories about the past to a larger audience.

SP: What is "The Lost Stories" project about?

RR: In the Lost Stories Project, we seek out little known stories about the Canadian past and transform them into inexpensive, site-specific works of public art. We document this process by way of short films. Along the way, forgotten moments from Canadian history are brought to light, and we give viewers an opportunity to see the choices that have to be made when a story is turned into a physical object.

SP: Where did the idea for the project come from? What are you hoping the project will accomplish?

RR: I have long had an interest in the tools that are used to tell stories about the past, such as commemorative events and physical markers  -- monuments, sculptures, murals, and the like. My research allowed me to see the choices that were made when events were organized or markers constructed: What story should be told; and how best to tell it? These choices have become particularly evident in the controversy in the United States over monuments to Confederate heroes. Those monuments, in a way, were less about Confederate leaders, and more about the choices of the people who built them.

I was looking for an engaging way to show this process to the public, and so imagined this project that would allow us to tell little-known stories about the Canadian past -- giving voice to people whose stories have often been ignored, and --at the same time -- show an artist puzzling over how to tell that story. This is why the documentary films are crucial as they provide an opportunity to tell both the stories about the past and the stories of the artists making their choices. And, of course, the filmmakers are making choices as well. In the end, it is important to recognize that there is always a process of selection when we tell stories about the past. When we view a monument, it looks solid -- as if it couldn't possibly tell any other story or take any other shape. But, in fact, there are always choices being made. So the project is designed to make us think about these questions.

SP: What stories are currently available?

RR: The project began in 2012 with a pilot episode made possible by support from the Pierre Elliott Trudeau Foundation. For the pilot, we restricted our call to the public for their stories to the Montreal area, since the project is based at Concordia University where I teach. We received roughly forty stories, but the one that drew us in was about Thomas Widd, a deaf man in late nineteenth-century Montreal who founded the city's first school for the deaf. The school that he founded was able to expand thanks to funding from Montreal businessman, Joseph Mackay, and so the school came to be known as the Mackay School. Widd's voice had, in a sense, been silenced, a development that is particularly striking since he was deaf.

Since then, we received support from the Government of Canada's Canada 150 Fund for Signature Events that has allowed us to recently complete four new stories, from the various parts of the country. These stories came to us following a call to all Canadians that resulted in over 150 stories coming our way. I have briefly described them here, going from east to west.

Our story from Atlantic Canada focuses on individuals with leprosy in the mid-nineteenth century who were confined to Sheldrake Island, on the New Brunswick's eastern coast. Most of the people confined there during the 1840s were Acadians, the French-speakers of Atlantic Canada, who had been forcibly removed once before, when they were deported a century earlier.

Our story from Ottawa is also about relocation. In this case, the story focuses on Inuit travellers from the North who found a home-away-from-home in Ottawa's Southway Inn. Located near the airport, the hotel became the focus for a community that needed to travel by air to Ottawa, mostly to receive medical services. Ottawa has the largest Inuit population outside the North, and the Southway played an important role in the life of the community.

The story from the Prairies focuses on the efforts of Yee Clun, a Regina restaurant owner to fight against Saskatchewan’s White Women's Labour Law in the 1920s. The law prevented Chinese-Canadian businessmen from hiring white women as employees unless they received a special license from the municipal government. But when Regina refused, he challenged the ruling in a higher court -- and won. We were immediately drawn to the impact of this law which discriminated against both the Chinese-Canadian business owners (viewed as potential predators) and the white women employees (viewed as needing protection).

Finally, our story from British Columbia focuses on the kidnapping during the Fraser River gold rush of the 1850s of boys who belonged to the Stó:lō First Nation. American miners took a number of these boys back home with them. In one particular case, we know that the boy was "adopted" by the family and was buried in California in a grave that bears the name of his kidnapper. This story reminds us that the current concern about missing and murdered Indigenous women and girls is only the most recent evidence of vulnerability among Indigenous youth.

SP: What has been the most rewarding, interesting, or surprising part of the project?

RR: It has been incredibly rewarding to play a part in a project that has shed light on stories that would otherwise be known by only those within the communities that brought them to us. Working with those communities has been an incredible experience. Along the way, I learned about aspects of Canadian history that I had not known. And I am pleased that there are now both pieces of public art and documentary films that will allow these stories to be known by future generations of Canadians.

SP: Are there resources available for teachers? What do these materials look like? What do they try to accomplish?

RR: At the same time that we are launching on our website four new films connected with our Canada 150 stories, we are also launching a new section of our website called "Teaching Lost Stories" that you created in collaboration with Ruth Sandwell, a professor at OISE. These resources are designed to lead students through a series of exercises in which they come to recognize that studying history involves making choices -- and this brings back to the central idea behind Lost Stories, to make those choices visible.

Building on our pilot episode about Thomas Widd, students are encouraged to think about why this story had been lost to all but a small number of people in Montreal's deaf community, along the way weighing various pieces of evidence that we have made available. In the process, students will learn more about this community, and will be challenged to think of ways that they might tell Widd's story in a manner different from the one selected by artist, Lalie Douglas, who is depicted creating public art in our documentary film. Students will also be encouraged to think about commemorative markers such as monuments -- public art that they can find in their own neighbourhoods -- and to reflect on the stories they tell, and why they have been constructed.

At a time when we are reconsidering whether individuals from the past such as John A. Macdonald deserve to be honoured through monuments, it is important for students to understand how telling such stories in public space is not natural or inevitable. Rather, it requires that choices are made; and of course, we can reverse those choices if we are so inclined. In the end, Lost Stories is all about trying to make visible the choices that are made when we tell stories about the past.

SP: Will further teaching resources be created to accompany the four most recent lost stories?

RR: Some parts of the current "Teaching Lost Stories" resources are not directly tied to any one story, raising larger questions about how stories about the past are told in public space. But other parts of the resources that we are now launching deal directly with the Thomas Widd story, and use evidence connected with the history of the Deaf community. In the future, we hope to supplement the teaching the resources, so that the lessons can also be linked to our stories about leprosy among Acadians, Inuit travel from the North, discriminatory legislation in Saskatchewan, and the kidnapping of Indigenous boys. So more to follow.

Scott Pollock is a Teacher & Academic Innovation Lead at St. Mildred's-Lightbourn School, an independent school in Oakville. He has been a frequent presenter at OHASSTA conferences.

By Julie Couture


 "Very powerful to see students learning the information and then guiding their peers." Photos courtesy of Julie Couture. 


A local class on a cold and dark November morning, somewhere in a Canadian high school. Twenty volunteer students from grade 10 to 12 are starting the second and last day of their training. One of them is practicing her tour with her peers and she’s asking someone to read the quote of Anne’s father, Otto Frank, visible on panel six of the exhibition saying that he “realised that Germany was not the world and [he] left it forever”. She continues by asking how many people are not born where they actually live. A lot of hands go up. Then students start discussing how it feels to leave your home country to go live somewhere else. The student guiding then shares that she herself just moved to Canada a couple of years ago and tells a little about her own experience of adapting to her new country. She goes on by attracting her audience’s attention to the pictures from panel eight where you see a smiling girl, enjoying childhood which shows that the worry of Otto Frank around the necessity to emigrate “To Holland” doesn’t seems to reach Anne immediately. You then realise that she’s not yet fully aware of the dangers her family just have escaped from and the concerns of her parents about what the future in this new country will bring them, concludes the student.




Young people showing the relevancy of Anne Frank’s story for young people today, that is one of the main aim of the peer-education project included in the project around the travelling exhibition “Anne Frank: A History for Today”. Since November 2011, three exhibitions are simultaneously travelling to high schools, museums, cultural centres and libraries across Canada. This project has reached so far thousands of visitors in five provinces as well as in Yukon Territory and more than 1,100 high schools students have been trained for two days to become the official guides of the exhibition. Following the training, they are responsible to guide their peers (and the general public) into the exhibition not only to tell Anne’s story but also to create a moment for discussion among young people on themes from the story of this little girl that are still echoing in today’s society.

“The entire experience was great. I learned in depth information on WW2 and the Holocaust. I got to teach people about history and why it is so important to remember this. I felt like we might have made a difference for some people’s outlooks on the world and history”, explains a guide from Winnipeg in 2016.

One teacher that displayed the exhibition in his French school in Toronto in 2015 comments on his experience: “I would recommend without hesitation this project to all high schools. The exhibition being bilingual, it facilitates its promotion in multicultural cities. The content allows teacher to use it for the curriculum in Canadian and World history, social sciences and religion. This project allows students working as guides to gain an unprecedented professional experience that will benefit them later in the job market.  Finally, you get the chance to create togetherness with the parents as well as other organisations surrounding the school.”

After she had brought her students in the school where the exhibition was displayed and received a guided tour by one of the peer-guides, a teacher in Montreal wanted to say: “A special thank you to each and every one of your guides. They were able to speak to students with confidence, skill, energy and passion. They wrote in their own way a page of history for our students by making Anne Frank accessible.”




Would you like to offer the opportunity to your students to take an active role in this educational project? Do you want to display the exhibition in your school and welcome students from other neighbourhood schools? For booking or additional information, contact Julie Couture, Coordinator of Canadian projects from the Anne Frank House: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.



By Risa Gluskin


Photo of Hammurabi’s Code stele from The Louvre in Wikimedia Commons, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=9812640


Less is more – I have so many resources, but I must resist using them all! The trick for me now is to use only what contributes to more critical thinking at the start of the course. I’ve got to declutter. Inquiry is helping me to design better, scaffold more carefully, and filter out the excessive stuff that I like but don’t need!


I found that my new pillars of civilization exercise – which focuses on developing the use of criteria – was a helpful stepping stone for my students to gain an inquiry mindset. I used to just give the students a list of characteristics of civilization and thought that applying them as we studied the various civilizations was good enough. This time around, building on something I developed for a learning object in the CHW3M e learning course, I constructed an activity where students had to identify the criteria for civilization through categorization of facts about Egypt, Mesopotamia and Indus Valley civilization – the categories were not named. My classroom version wasn’t done on computer – plain old paper and post-it notes were used instead. Some of the criteria for civilization were obvious, like writing, yet it was most interesting to see which pillars/criteria the kids came up with based on reading the information I had provided.


Before I revealed the names of the pillars, I gave each group the opportunity to test their hypotheses – they went around the class to check out the pillar labels others had come up with – did they want to change anything? It’s very important for me to incorporate this fourth stage of the cognitive learning cycle (see earlier blog post) in which students test their thinking. Thinking becomes the star of the show.


In my new lesson on Hammurabi’s Code, which I adapted from Stanford History Education Group (SHEG), I also incorporated the testing of hypotheses: which pillar of civilization was most reflected in the law code? Students predicted, then examined the primary evidence (excerpts from the code) with some guiding questions. At the end, the class voted on which criteria of civilization was most related to the code. It was one more opportunity for me to say that there isn’t always a clear-cut answer that the teacher can TELL students. Whatever answer they can justify with evidence is a good answer:  thinking over memorizing. I asked this very question on the first test and most students answered it very effectively – some said writing, some said specialization of jobs, some said state religion.


By this time in the course – four weeks – I feel confident that the emphasis on thinking is going really well. It takes a lot of repetition and deliberate planning on my part. I’m not saying it’s perfect. I hope that with a few more semesters of practice I’ll be able to make it all a bit more fun. Combining that with the critical thinking will be an ideal pairing. No more random thinking!


Post-script March 7, 2018: I had a really fun lesson with the kids today in which they examined four theories of the causes of the decline of the Indus Valley civilization. Originally, I had planned to have the students simply read the articles and fill in a chart. I felt I could design a better lesson if I read them, took notes and put them into a useful format that provoked good thinking, incorporated use of criteria and tested hypotheses. I cannot express how happy I was with the result (see the documents on my blog – near the very bottom of the page under March 7). Yes, it was more work for me on the front end. However, watching the students get so enthusiastic about identifying the best theorie, using criteria (quality of supporting evidence) was amazing. One group even came up with their own theory that combined a few theories together. I think testing hypotheses is working! It is allowing students to feel free to think. And it was fun!


I’ve had a few interesting experiences as I hop from group to group where I encounter students who find thinking confusing. I’m enjoying experiencing the process of seeing students work through this confusion: today, a few groups pointed out that some of the theories contradicted each other! Yes, fabulous thinking. I could see the look on a student’s face meant she was still perplexed as to why I would give contradictory materials. Historians and archaeologists don’t always agree! This is part of the process of using the cognitive learning cycle.


This is Risa’s 19th year teaching ancient history.