Teaching About Residential Schools: Grades 3-6

Truth and Reconciliation Week: September 25 - September 30, 2023

Grades 3 - 6 Classroom Resources

Virtual Learning Opportunities 

Truth and Reconciliation Week:  

Gidinawendimin/We Are All Related/Nous sommes tous liés

September 25-30, 2023

TRUTH AND RECONCILIATION WEEK 2023 is a national program open to all schools across Canada. This year, the theme is “Gidinawendimin/We Are All Related/Nous sommes tous liés". Join in as we memorialize the children lost to the residential school system and honour Survivors and their families. Learning and commemorating the truth of our history from First Nations, Métis, and Inuit knowledge keepers is an important part of the path to Reconciliation.

This year includes an expanded program with age-appropriate material for all students. 

Click here for details and registration. 

All sessions will be held virtually on Hubilo. Registration is required to stream live and pre-recorded sessions.  

SCCDSB Registration for Local Virtual Opportunties

Classroom Discussions

Throughout classroom discussions, it is important to recognize that Indigenous people are not victims first. Include time to learn about the culture, the language, as well as history, traditions, and perspectives and the many resilient people who were impacted by residential schools.

Grades 3 - 6 Classroom Discussions

When thinking about developmental readiness of your age group, here are some thoughts for you to approach in your classroom. We talk about why we wear orange - to remember the children that were taken away and couldn't be with their parents and family, couldn't speak their language, and learn their culture and identity, we wear orange so it doesn't happen again. 

Here are some ideas to connect with your students: 

- Connect with picture books. Use the book Speaking Our Truth along with the teacher resource) to bring learning into the classroom. 

- Share Phyllis' story in video and by using the pdf story in French and English.  

- We can share concrete examples from stories like When I Was Eight (your school has this book in both English and French). 

- See here for more books that your school has

- Sign up to paint with Moses Lunham to have an art piece to bring your learning together. 

When I talk with my own young children and to classes, I talk about families that speak another language and how they couldn't speak their ancestral language, the language knew in their home. We talk about how this eliminates identity, belonging, and connection in a developmentally appropriate way and how it would create a barrier between the children and their parents and family. In addition to language being removed, there is an incredible impact of losing ones identity such as cutting hair, being given a number in place of the child's name, being removed from siblings. 

Please contact cortnee.goure@sccdsb.net for further information about how to raise awareness and build understanding in your school and check out this Indigenous Education SCCDSB website below for resources and links to lesson ideas for before and after this important day and week is recognized

2023 Marks the 10th Year of Orange Shirt Day Nationwide

Resources for the classroom ...

Understanding the meaning behind Orange Shirt Day

All Ages


Phyllis' Story (English)

All Ages


Phyllis' Story (French)

Phyllis Webstad shares her story in a child-friendly, easy to follow way. The background in the video changes to show traditional way of life vs life in residential school. 

Orange Shirt Day Fact File.pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Reading Comprehension.pdf
Orange Shirt Day Fact File (1).pdf
Truth and Reconciliation Reading Comprehension (1).pdf

Child-friendly Guide to the Calls to Action 


The bodies of the 215 children found marks an important time in history where the truth that was always known was undeniable. This marked the beginning of bringing the children home across the nation.

Interactive Map 

Books for the Classroom in All Schools

Primary Classes

You Hold Me Up Author's Note

When We Were Alone Pronunciations

When We Were Alone Teachers Guide.pdf

When We Were Alone Teacher Guide by David Robertson

Primary/Junior Classes

Junior/Intermediate Classes

Speaking Our Truth by Monique Gray Smith


         Speaking Our Truth Teacher's Guide 

Use this folder for an updated and complete list and links to current resources in your school. 

Texts in Schools

Colouring Pages







Orange Shirt Day Mindfulness Colouring Pages.pdf

Mindfulness Colouring: English


Mindfulness Colouring: French

Reading & Discussion



Planning Resources