Three Teacher’s Guides for Leading Conversations on Indigenous Issues

Did you know we have teacher’s guides for many of our titles? These guides are a great help when it comes to tackling tough themes. If you’re a little nervous about discussing Indigenous issues in your classroom, these resources are worth checking out!

Each teacher’s guide below makes an excellent companion to its respective book. You can use these guides to ensure heavier topics are hitting the right mark with your students. Best of all, each of these guides is free.

A Teacher’s Guide to Student Inquiry: For the Graphic Novel Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story

Betty: The Helen Betty Osborne Story is a graphic novel by David A. Robertson and illustrated by Scott B. Henderson that tells the true story of Helen Betty Osborne. Known to friends as “Betty,” Osborne was a young woman from Norway House Cree Nation who dreamed of becoming a teacher. One night, while Betty was walking home, four men abducted and murdered her.

Betty’s story is important, but it deals with mature themes that can be tricky to navigate in the classroom. A Teacher’s Guide to Student Inquiry, written by Connie Wyatt Anderson, is a handbook for using Betty as a learning tool. Wyatt Anderson offers thoughtful tips for teaching the sensitive content in the book, including helpful discussion questions for constructive dialogue. Leaf through to the appendix to find suggested readings for further research-based student inquiry.

When We Were Alone: Parent/Teacher Guide

Written by David A. Robertson, When We Were Alone is a children’s book illustrated by Julie Flett. This beautiful picture book won a Governor General’s Literary Award in 2017. The book explains the residential school experience in language young children can understand. In the story, a curious young girl hears from her kókom (grandmother) about the pieces of her identity that residential schools tried to take away.

The parent/teacher guide can help you lead small children through the book in a way that promotes critical thought. Inside, you can find age-appropriate talking points on Indigenous perspectives and residential schools.

Since students often learn best by doing, the guide contains in-class activities to help young readers understand the concepts in When We Were Alone. There’s even a Cree word list to help you teach your students the Cree words used in the book!

Teacher Guide for K.C. Adams’s Perception: A Photo Series

K.C. Adams’s acclaimed photo series, Perception, came out in book form earlier this year. The project first gained attention when Adams’s photographs appeared on bus shelters and billboards, and projected on buildings in Downtown Winnipeg. Each of Adams’s photos is a portrait of an Indigenous person that trades harmful stereotypes for statements of truth. The emotional expressions of her subjects, the stark black-and-white images, and the striking text invited onlookers to “look, then look again” at stereotypes about Indigenous people. Perception: A Photo Series collects a selection of Adams’s photographs into one book.

The Teacher Guide for K.C. Adams’s Perception: A Photo Series was written by Reuben Boulette for high school teachers. You can use the guide to empower teens to question harmful stereotypes about Indigenous people. This guide has ideas for teaching the painful topics the artist’s work addresses. As a bonus, each module has suggestions for assessing your students’ takeaways from Perception.

While these three books and their accompanying guides make great tools, this is only a short list. You can find many more titles for teaching Indigenous history and perspectives in our catalogue. Browse our full collection of free teacher’s guides on our For Teachers page—and don’t forget to bookmark it! As we release new titles, new teacher’s guides will be sure to follow.

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