Grade Levels: 4/5, 6/7
Subject Area: Social Studies/History/Language Arts
This lesson plan is inspired by the article “Black Voyageurs” in the Black history in Canada issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids and the How Furs Built Canada issue of Kayak: Canada’s History Magazine for Kids.
This lesson focuses on exploring what is known about specific Black fur traders, learning more about their life and character, and applying this knowledge to illustrate why they were qualified for various jobs at the Hudson’s Bay Company or North West Company.
Historical Thinking Concept(s)
- Establish historical significance
- Identify continuity and change
- Take historical perspectives
- Examine job posts and evaluate information in order to determine why the Black fur trader they have selected is the best candidate for that job
The Lesson Activity
Activating: How will students be prepared for learning?
Get students to reflect on their learning by sharing what they have learned so far about Black fur traders and the skills that they brought to their jobs as employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company or North West Territory Company.
Acquiring: What strategies facilitate learning for groups and individuals?
Once students have completed their job advertisement, get each student to switch their advertisement with another student in the class. Do this a couple of times so that students have the opportunity to read a few different job advertisements.
Think-Pair-Share: Get students to read a job advertisement with a partner. This will provide English Language Learners or students with learning disabilities the opportunity to have a peer help support them as they read an advertisement.
Discuss: Share two reasons why you think someone would apply to the job posting that you read. Have students switch partners and share the response to the discussion question with another pair.
Class Discussion: Once students have had sufficient time to share their responses with a partner, take up the discussion question with the whole class and record student responses.
What have you learned so far about Black fur traders and the skills that they brought to their jobs as employees of the Hudson’s Bay Company or North West Territory Company?
Applying: How will students demonstrate their understanding?
Students will write a letter in order to respond to the job advertisement. While reading the job advertisement, students are encouraged to use the “Replying to a Job Advertisement: Collecting Information” graphic organizer to help support them when collecting information.
Explain the different components or features of a formal letter (see additional materials and resources for identifying the parts of a letter as well as to view a sample template). Explain to students why the letter will be formal and what this will mean for them as they write their responses to a job advertisement.
Responding to the job advertisement while exploring voice and perspective
Using the “Black Voyageurs” story, students will have the opportunity to select one of the Black fur traders that the article highlights. Students are to read about the individual that they have decided to focus on and use the information in the article to explain, from the point of view of the Black fur trader, why they are the right candidate for the job and why they should be hired. Remember that you are taking on the role of someone else and explaining why you are the right person for the job. Use your imagination and be creative!