Grade 5/6 Ontario Social Studies: You CAN Handle This Split Grade Curriculum!

 I hope everyone has had a great beginning to the school year, and are getting a chance to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve had today.  

Last week I shared my thoughts concerning how it is possible to teach the People and Environments strand of the revised 2018 Ontario Social Studies Curriculum in a combined Grade 5/6 class, and today I’ll be turning my attention to how the Heritage and Identity strand might be approached.  Two weeks ago a teacher emailed me looking for a way to handle this strand in her class, and in looking closely at the two units, here is how I responded:

Strand A:  Heritage & Identity
  • Grade 5:  Interactions of Indigenous Peoples & Europeans, Prior to 1713
  • Grade 6:  Communities in Canada, Past & Present
While these 2 units initially look like they don’t have much in common, once you look at the examples attached to the specific expectations, there are tons of similarities, as New France can be thought of as having several small communities:  First Nations (various FN communities:  Haudenosaunee, Wendat…), English & French.  When you are looking in Grade 6 at how various communities interact with each other, New France is a perfect example of conflict and cooperation.  

Here are some examples from the curriculum, where I’ve used the specific expectations from Grade 6 and showed content from Grade 5 can help meet those expectations:
  • A12.  Evaluate some of the contributions that various ethnic and/or religious groups have made to Canadian identity: discuss the contributions of Indigenous Peoples to Canadian art; discuss “Who are the founding nations of Canada?  For whom is the concept of “founding nations” troubling?  Why?”
  • A1.3  Explain how various groups have contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in Canada: How have Canada’s Indigenous Peoples contributed to the goal of inclusiveness in in Canada?
  • A2.1  Formulate questions to guide investigations into different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of 2 or more distinct communities in Canada:  What are the different perspectives of the reserve system in Canada from the perspectives of Indigenous Peoples, European settlers, & the federal government?  
  • A2.2  gather & organize information from a variety of primary & secondary sources that present different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experiences of two or more communities in Canada:  What type of information can you gather from the petitions & letters of First Nations, Metis, & Inuit people about their experience & perspectives on being relocated to reserves and/or new settlements?
  • A2.3  Anaylse & construct print & digital maps as part of their investigation into different perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary experience of communities in Canada:  Analyse a flow map showing the relocation of Indigenous groups after the arrival of European settlers.
  • A2.4  Interpret & analyse information & evidence relevant to their investigations:  How can you use a cause-and-effect organizer to help you determine the difference in perspectives of different Indigenous groups to European settlers?
  • A2.5:  Evaluate evidence & draw conclusions about perspectives on the historical and/or contemporary communities in Canada:  How did Indigenous groups & European settlers differ in their outlook on issues such as land ownership, gender roles, spirituality…?
  • A3.1  Identify the main reasons why different peoples came to Canada?  What reasons did various people have for immigrating to New France?  
  • 3.2  Describe some key economic, political, cultural, & social aspects of life in settler communities, and identify significant ways in which settlers’ places of origin influenced their ways of life in Canada:  How did French & English concepts of land ownership affect how land was handled in New France?  What role did the Church play in New France & Early Canada?  You can also discuss:  food preferences, language, education, concepts of loyalty & spirituality…lots to discuss here!
  • A3.3:  Identify various types of communities that have contributed to the development of Canada:  How did the founding peoples – First Nations, Inuit, & Metis, French & British – contributed to Canada?
  • A3.4:  Describe significant events or developments in the history of 2 or more communities in Canada & how these events affected the communities’ development and/or identity:  What impact did the fur trade have on various Indigenous groups (ie. Wendat vs Haudenosaunee)?
  • 3.5  Describe interactions between communities in Canada, including between newcomers and groups that were already in the country:   trade among precontact Indigenous Peoples; cooperation between Indigenous Peoples and the French & British in the fur trade.
  • A3.6  Identify key differences, including social, cultural, and/or economic differences between 2 or more historical and/or contemporary communities in Canada:  What were some differences in gender roles, land ownership, spirituality, etc between Indigenous Peoples and French settlers in early Canada?
  • A3.8  Identify & describe fundamental elements of Canadian identity  What are some instances of the Canadian government NOT respecting the human rights of a group of people? – treaty rights!
As you can see, there are tons of commonalities between the two grade levels!  The concept of “communities” can be explored by both grades, with the Grade 5’s focused on communities within New France and the Grade 6’s focused on both contemporary and historical communities in Canada, of which New France can be one!  

Coach’s Corner Split Grade 5/6 Strand A Social Studies Units: 

I have used the “big ideas” of the curriculum, the “Concepts of Social Studies Thinking”, and other professional resources as I created a split grade 5/6 unit for Strand A:  Heritage and Identity, and uploaded it to my Coach’s Corner TPT store!    In putting my split grade units together, I always use a “blended” approach.  This means that a teacher can teach one lesson to both grades together, and then have each grade read texts or engage in similar activities related to the big ideas of the lesson.  No more running between grades!

Check out this unit in PDF (Printable) Format:  


the companion digital version (same lessons, but this time using Google Slides with full colour pages, interactive pieces, live hyperlinks, and editable text)

For the best of both worlds, check out the Printable + Digital Bundle

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