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FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Noreen Pankewich (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 2/3
Lesson 1: Communities Within Communities
Time: 2 x 40 minutes

Topic: There are different, and unique cultures which exist in our society. Students should develop an interest and appreciation for other cultures, and in this case, local aboriginal cultures.

Rationale: The purpose of this lesson is to introduce primary teachers to the idea of integrating local First Nations content into the Social Studies curriculum in a comfortable and relevant way. While the study of the local Community is common in most classrooms, little has been done to tie the First Nations community into this picture.

Therefore, this lesson provides a template for teachers to introduce the concept of FN communities existing and adapting within, and beside the dominant community.

Through this lesson, students will discuss and discover what it is that constitutes a community, what it means to be a part of a community, and what a community requires in order to function. While "Weslandia" is a fictitious story, they will draw similarities between their own community and Wesley's. Students will also recognize that communities can also exist within a larger community and that this does in fact exist in the real world. It is intended to take them "beyond" their own community and introduce them to new and perhaps different communities they are unaware of but living amongst.

Materials and Resources

  • Chart paper mounted to board with felt pen supply
  • 2 sheets of plain white paper for each student, and 2 sheets of lined paper for each student
  • Photo of a Secwepemc "Stop" sign
  • Photo or samples of plants (and brief information on traditional uses) by Secwepemc people of today and yesterday
  • Photos of Chief, Elders (opens in new window)
  • The following book: Fleishman, Paul. (2000). Weslandia, USA: Scholastic Publishing.

Main Concepts

  • We are all a part of a community.
  • We are often a part of more than one community.
  • A community requires certain "things" in order to function.
  • Communities can and do exist within and amongst larger communities.
  • Communities require leaders.
  • The local aboriginal "band" community is often a part of a unique community of its own, yet interconnected in many ways with the larger non-native community.

Intended Learning Outcomes
Social Studies

  • Draw simple interpretations from personal experiences, oral sources, and visual and written representations
  • Describe ways members of a community meet one another's needs
  • Demonstrate awareness of BC and Canada's diverse heritage
  • Explain their roles, rights, and responsibilities within the community
  • Describe functions of local governments
  • Describe the ways in which communities are interdependent
  • Describe how technology affects individuals and communities
  • Describe how physical environment influences human activities


  • Use feelings, imagination, observation and memory as a source for images
  • Suggest purposes for a variety of images


something that is real
something that is not real or that is imaginary
to show how things are alike or different
to show the differences
what we think about something, how we see a subject
getting along, working well together
a choice between two or more things
when something happens, it affects other things
Personal responsibility
standing behind what you do and say
something we expect, without re-thinking or questioning
what is believed to be important to a group of people, something that guides a group of people
behaviour, habits, beliefs, expressions, artifacts and signs that a community or society creates to adapt to its physical and social environment.
"Band" Community
the name given to a group or community of aboriginal people by the government. It is the way that they group people from an area.

Planned Learning Activities
Part 1
  • Students will gather in the reading area
  • They will be introduced to the book "Weslandia" and invited to quickly observe the interesting illustrations on the cover and quickly make predictions about the story
  • They are asked to pay special attention to the details, and what happens around Wesley
  • The story "Weslandia" will be read aloud to the entire class
  • Following the story, a discussion of what exactly happened in the story will follow.
  • Be prepared with couple of sheets of chart paper and ask for contributions from the class as to what they felt was important in the story.
  • Let the children lead the discussion, but eventually steer it in the direction with such questions as:
    • What happened in this story?
    • Was Wesley a community when he was all alone? (Reflect on the sense of belonging, and how important that is)
    • What is a community?
      • where people live
      • where there are lots of houses
      • where there are activities
      • shared ideas (similar cultural values)
      • explain that we may each live in a community, there will be similarities and differences in all communities
      • a leader to create some sort of infrastructure of laws/rules/enforcement
    • What are the activities in Wesley's community?
    • What made Weslandia different from the original, larger community that Wesley was originally a part of?
    • What was the same?
    • Could Weslandia have occurred without a leader?
    • Could Weslandia have occurred without a community?
  • Have the students return to their desks to reflect on the story, "Weslandia" and print a few statements (minimum of 3, more adept students will be comfortable with at least 5) about what it means to be a part of a community
  • Have the students draw a picture to go with it. Encourage them to use the chart for ideas for their work.
  • Students should be allowed to carry over their unfinished artwork as part of an art lesson. (See Fine Arts outcomes attached.)

Part 2

  • Ask the students:
    • Could anything like Weslandia really exist in our life?
    • Could smaller communities really exist within larger communities?
  • Clearly indicate that while "Weslandia" is fictitious, (have them point out how we know this); however, there are many parallels in real life which can be correlated with the local FN band community.
  • The local FN community has many parallels to Weslandia in that it has its own leader, language, culture, (show picture of Bonnie Leonard, "stop" sign), traditional plant use
  • Ask if any of the children have been to the events such as a Powwow, or if they are aware of FN bands near their community
  • Explain that this is not a fictitious, but real situation, where people can live as part of more than one community, much like in "Weslandia" where Wesley was a boy, a child, and a leader and that many activities occur within the community which are sometimes different, and very interesting
  • If there is a FN student with experiences to share, have them do so
  • Have a second piece of chart paper ready to copy some unique characteristics about the local FN community as the students feel prepared to volunteer ideas
  • List the ideas (that the students have given) which they feel may be unique about the FN community nearby
  • Some of the differences which should be highlighted, are those pointed out by the elders:
    • language
    • cultural events/traditions
    • importance of land base, not being greedy
    • ceremonies
    • music
    • plant use
  • Explain that different band communities all have their own infrastructure, and economy; (sawmills, farming-various types, fisheries, logging, trail rides, rodeos, motor cross track)
  • As a second piece of reflection, have them work on a second piece of work to address what they now know about the local FN community. Once again, have them focus on the 2nd chart, and to think about the similarities and differences amongst the communities.
  • This should again entail a minimum of at least 3 to 5 sentences, and a picture to accompany the work.
  • Students who are capable, should be encouraged to elaborate on their statements in a more complex way, detail should be evident in their drawing as well.
  • Those who are challenged, could focus more on the drawing, with a few key words, which connect to the ideas in the drawing.
  • Students should be allowed to carry over their unfinished artwork as part of an art lesson. (See Fine Arts outcomes attached.)


  • Have the students taken part in the discussion with interest?
  • Have they indicated that they understand the concept of community and what a community requires?
  • Have they been able to compare and contrast the story with reality?
  • Can they differentiate between the fictitious story and reality?
  • Can they see similarities between the story and reality?
  • Have they understood the connection between the community of Weslandia and a band community in their own area?
  • Can they make similar connections with the unique language, written language, economy and technology within the local band community?
  • Can they accurately summarizes main and supporting ideas in text or talk?
  • Did the student take part in a respectful discussion?
  • Did the students push ahead with further probing questions and discussion?
  • Has the artwork by the students depicted a reasonable representation of the printed explanation which accompanies it?
  • Challenged students who are unable to print explanations should be able to verbally communicate: "My artwork tells about......", as should all other students.

Summative Criteria
Ongoing "naturalistic" assessment will occur throughout this lesson and unit. Observations and discussions with students will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Does the student show an awareness of the meaning of "leadership" and its place in the community?
  • Does the student show an awareness of the unique heritage of the neighbouring aboriginal community?
  • Does the student show interest in the discussion and acknowledge that there are similarities and differences between the leaders of the two communities?
  • Are they able to come up with any other interesting question or extend the discussion beyond the general level of the classroom?


  • Other work on communities of all types could occur following this lesson.
  • Have a local elder come to visit and explain the importance of keeping up the language and stories.
  • Field trip to a FN community to learn first hand
  • Have an elder come to speak on the topic of Ethnobotany

Other Integrated Opportunities

  • Science unit on traditional FN plants uses.
  • Language Arts extension
  • Further Visual Arts activities

Teacher Preparation

  • The classroom teacher should make contacts with area First Nations groups if the lesson is to be relevant to the students. It would be extremely beneficial if someone (FN) could discuss the issue of being a part of 2 communities either with the teacher, or with the class. By doing so, the teacher would be well suited to teaching this lesson.
  • The teacher should have consulted local FN Resource teacher for assistance or a contact from the local FN community to be sure that you are presenting an accurate picture of their community. Perhaps they would be more comfortable if they were invited to work on the lesson with the class.
  • Don't assume anything, or rely on outdated text books.

Resources and Contacts

  1. Antoine, Marie et al (ed.). (1994). Sptekwles re qelmucw: Stories of the People. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  2. Case, Roland and Penny Clark. (1999). The Canadian Anthology of Social Studies. Vancouver, Canada: Pacific Educational Press.
  3. Costello, Robert. (2001). Macmillian Dictionary For Children. New York: Simon & Schuster.
  4. Fleishman, Paul. (2000). Weslandia. USA: Scholastic Publishing.
  5. Haig-Brown, Celia. (1988). Resistance and Renewal Surviving the Indian Residential School. Vancouver, Canada: Tillacum Press.
  6. Jack, Rita and Marie Matthew and Robert Matthew. (1993). Shuswap Community Handbook. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  7. Kamloops Indian Band. (July 2001). Lex'Yem. Kamloops, Canada: KIB Publishing.
  8. McDiarmid, Tami & Rita Manzo & Trish Musselle. (1999). Critical Challenges For Primary Students. Burnaby, Canada: Simon Fraser University.
  9. Manuel, Kathy (ed.). (2001). Secwepemc News. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  10. Murphy, Peter & George P. Nicholas & Marianne Ignace (ed). Coyote U: Stories andTeachings of the Secwepemc Education Institute. Penticton, Canada: Theytus Publishing.
  11. Nicholas, George (ed). (2001). Coyote Times: The SCES/SFU University Program Newsletter. Kamloops, Canada: SCES/SFU Campus.
  12. Sawyer, Don. (1988). Donna Meets Coyote. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  13. Sawyer, Don & Anne Waters. (1988). Donna Meets Coyote Teacher's Guide. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  14. School District 73. (1989). We Are the Shuswap Teacher's Kit. Kamloops, Canada: Henry Grube Centre.
  15. Secwepemc Cultural Education Society. (1996). Mind, Body and Spirit. (Video) Kamloops: SCES
  16. Siska, Heather Smith. (1988). We Are The Shuswap. Kamloops, Canada: Secwepemc Cultural Education Society.
  17. Steele, Bob. (1998). Draw Me A Story. Winnipeg, Canada: Peguis Publishers.
  18. Sterling, Shirley. (1992). My Name Is Seepeetza. Vancouver, Canada:Douglas & McIntyre

Personal Communications

  1. Gottfriedson, Garry: approval for map and lesson plans on behalf of KIB, Sept-Oct 2001
  2. Ignace, Marianne: personal communication June 2001
  3. Jules,John : personal communication and approval for map and lesson plans on behalf of KIB, Sept-Oct 2001
  4. Jules, Mona: personal communication June 2001
  5. KIB Lands office: personal communication June, July, August 2001
  6. Manuel, Charlotte: personal communication July 2001
  7. Secwepemc Cultural Education Society: personal communication June, July 2001
  8. Spence, Renee: personal communication June 2001


  1. www.mwsolutions.com
  2. www.secwepemc.org
  3. www.yecminme.com

Workshop Materials

  1. Workshop Material from Judi Gelowitz- Primary Social Studies Unit: Judi Gelowitz,...(District 73).
  2. Workshop Material from Mary Campone (District 73).
  3. Workshop Material from Roland Case. Tools For Social Studies Applications.

Phone Numbers

  1. Secwepemc Cultural Education Society: 250-828-9779
  2. Secwepemc Cultural Education Society Museum: 828-9801
  3. Kamloops Indian Band Office: 828-9700
  4. Secwepemc News: 828-9783
  5. Henry Grube Educational Resource Centre (SD #73): 250-376-2266

Click here to view photos of Chief, Elders (opens in new window)

Summative Criteria

Assignment 1: What it means to be a part of a Community
Criteria Ratings Comments
The student has taken part in the discussion and participated with interest 4 3 2 1  
The student has submitted 3-5 well thought out examples of what it means to be a part of a community 4 3 2 1  
The student is able to make a connection (from the submitted examples off the chart) to either the "Weslandia" story or to real life 4 3 2 1  
The student has taken the ideas beyond those submitted to the class chart and come up with his/her own ideas 4 3 2 1  
The drawing is connected to the discussion of either "Weslandia" or "community" and depicts that connection 4 3 2 1  
The drawing is thought provoking and indicates the student has taken the ideas beyond those submitted to the class chart and come up with his/her own new ideas. 4 3 2 1