Scrapbook and Timeline on Residential Schools in Canada

Title: Scrapbook and Timeline on Residential Schools in Canada


The scrapbook and timeline are multiliteracies teaching tools designed to introduce Grade 10 Academic Canadian History students to the residential student system in Canada. The scrapbook provides an introduction to the Indian Act and many specific aspects of the school system from its beginning to its end. Ideally, students would work in groups, and each group would have a copy of the scrapbook. The timeline highlights key dates and events throughout the system. The attached lesson plan also introduces some of the resources that can be used throughout the unit. The files to assemble the scrapbook follow the video.

Cover Images

Title Page

Table of Contents

Scrapbook Pages (Not in Set Order)


The timeline on the residential school system in Canada, featuring the key events.
The timeline.

View the timeline here.


SUBJECT: History

GRADE: 10 Academic

DURATION: 75 minutes

TOPIC: Introduction to Residential Schools in Canada

CURRICULUM EXPECTATIONS: A1. Historical Inquiry: use the historical inquiry process and the concepts of historical thinking when investigating aspects of Canadian history since 1914.


By the end of the lesson students should/will be able to…

  1. Formulate different types of questions to guide investigation into Canadian history
  2. Assess the credibility of sources and information relevant to their investigations
  3. Interpret and analyze relevant evidence and information using appropriate tools
  4. Use appropriate terminology when communicating the results of their investigations


Yes/No paddles                      Anticipation Guide                 Virtual timeline           Scrapbooks

Pens and pencils                      Paper                                       Computer                    Projector

Chart paper                             Markers


Anticipation Guide. Teacher reads out each statement, and students hold up either a “Yes” or a “No” paddle depending on if they think each statement is historically accurate. Teacher gives the correct responses. Discuss anything that was surprising. Designed to use students’ prior knowledge and to introduce them to the new historical topic. (10 minutes)

Anticipation Guide


Activity 1 Scrapbooks: Students will sit at their desks in groups of 4-6. Each group will have a book that they can examine together during the lesson. The first lesson will focus on introducing the most basic concepts of the unit: students will discuss the main points of the Indian Act and will learn (in brief) what a residential school in Canada was. Relevant discussion questions will be addressed as a class. (25 minutes)

Discussion Questions

Activity 2 Virtual timeline with videos: Students will view the interactive Google timeline on the projector and will take notes on the dates and events. They will watch the embedded YouTube videos that continue to introduce the key facts and terminology related to residential schools in Canada. (15 minutes)

Activity 3 Begin group timeline activity: Students will work in their table groups to start creating their own timeline of what they consider to be the most relevant dates to the residential school system. This activity will be ongoing throughout the unit. Students will, eventually, have chosen at least ten dates and events. They will present their timeline to the rest of the class and explain why they chose to record those specific dates and events. Students can plot one or two key dates on their group’s timeline chart paper during this first lesson. (10 minutes)

Activity 4 Respond to an image: Students will each choose one image from the scrapbook and write a brief (1-2 paragraphs in length) response to the image. They can consider how it makes them feel, what they think the image is about, how it relates to what they have learned so far, or anything else that they think is relevant. (10 minutes)


Students will have to complete and submit an exit slip before they leave the classroom. They will have to write at least one thing they learned about residential schools as well as one thing that they want to learn in subsequent lessons and can take the form of a question. The brief assignment will help students to continue thinking about the class material and also gives the teacher the opportunity to incorporate the students’ interests into future classes. (2-3 minutes)


The activities in this lesson use a variety of different instructional strategies, including those that will appeal to students who enjoy using reading, writing, listening, visuals, movement, physical objects, technology, group work, and independent work at school. The activities can be altered to accommodate the learning needs of all students in the class: for example, students who need extra time to complete the written response can be given class time the next day to complete it, and any students who needs extra help or clarification will be given it. Students also have the advantage of having a physical learning tool (the scrapbook) that they can hold, look through, and revisit as often as necessary and at their own pace.


All group work and independent work that the students do will be assessed informally for comprehension during the class. The teacher will also collect the written responses and exit slips. These pieces of written work will not be formally evaluated but will also be assessed to find out what students learned from the first lesson, what they struggled with, and what can be improved for future lessons in the unit. They will prepare students for future assignments that will be evaluated, such as the timeline group assignment (once it is completed and presented at the end of the unit) and other written work.




Students will continue to learn about residential schools in Canada for the rest of the week. They will continue to use the scrapbooks in their table groups and will build on their timelines each class with their groups.

Lesson Plan


The “Scrapbook on Residential Schools in Canada” project is a teaching tool that embodies the key ideas of multiliteracies. It incorporates writing, images, and a physical object to create an interactive multimodal lesson that can be adapted to students’ learning needs. Unlike a PowerPoint presentation, the scrapbook works at a pace with which the students are comfortable. As stated in Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum, literacy involves critical engagement with a variety of texts, not just traditional printed material (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz 32-33). Students can turn forward or back in the book and stop on certain pages for as long as necessary. Keeping with the idea that literacy being is more than basic reading and writing, the project incorporates technological literacy as well: it comes with a digital timeline component that can be viewed online.

In addition to being a visually-appealing pedagogical tool that students can manipulate, the scrapbook incorporates texture through a few rough, yellowed pages. Students can touch pages that have been aged and imagine the time period in which the real documents existed. Only pages dealing with old legislature have been aged, allowing students to explore the contrast between the faded, wrinkled pages and the new white papers. Through discussion, the students will recognize that aging only certain pages is intentional; the distinct contrast between the pages demonstrates that the root causes of residential schools are embedded in the past, but the impact and legacy is as relevant as the new papers. The aging of the pages, then, has both a meaningful pedagogical purpose as well as a useful creative function.

The topic of residential schools allows for students to discuss social justice and racism. They will explore the reasoning behind the government’s actions as well as the impact of the school system on Aboriginal people. Students will engage in critical discussions regarding the morality and justification of the system.

The lesson plan includes elements from Content Area Reading. The first part of the lesson is an Anticipation Guide in which students respond based on their beliefs about whether or not particular statements are historically true (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz 188-189). As the book states, the questions in the Anticipation Guide “remain nondirective in order to keep the discussion moving” and ask for students’ opinions rather than limiting them to facts they may or may not recall from previous history classes (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz 188). They encourage students’ interest in the topic and assess their prior knowledge in a fast-paced, game-like activity.

A graphic organizer, a “visual [display] that help[s] learners comprehend and retain textually important information,” has been incorporated into the lesson plan in the form of a timeline (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz 318). Students will organize the information they read in chronological order and will critically select the pieces of information that they decide are most relevant. Using critical thinking skills throughout their reading will ensure that students retain the maximum amount of information from the scrapbook.

Finally, in future lessons using the scrapbook, students will discover more information about the residential school system in Canada using Internet Inquiries (Vacca, Vacca, and Mraz 52). They will research information on some of the documents in the scrapbook and will decide what important points are missing. They will present their findings to their classmates and will mention things that they still want to discover about the topic.


Vacca, R. T., Vacca, J. A. L., & Mraz, M. E. (2014). Content Area Reading: Literacy and Learning Across the Curriculum (11th ed.). New York: Pearson.

Praxis Paper