The Family: Socializing and Learning


09 March 2010


The Family: Socializing and Learning

by Jessica Wesaquate and Andrea Rogers


Social Studies



Grade Level:

One to Three


Students will be able to know that a family is a type of group.

Students will be able to see how the Saulteaux peoples lived as a family unit.

Students will be able to indicate different types/forms of family.

Pre-requisite Knowledge:


Video Recommendations:

Elder Glen Anaquod's Tipi Raising


family photos from home, tipi raising video clips


Have students bring family photos from home. Set up a bulletin board or place in the classroom where students can post their family photos. Discuss different types of family. Some students may bring photos of their foster families or guardians. As well, there will be some students who have deceased family members (some Cree peoples place pictures of deceased members away for a time span of a year). You can share this Cree teaching with your students.

The following video shares a Saulteaux perspective on the family unit:

Video: As the educator, you can choose to show your students the tipi raising video clips demonstrated by a grade 5/6 classroom, facilitated by Elder Glen Anaquod. Again, this is found on our website, Glen shares that the children were responsible for putting up the tipi, and the grandmother taught them what to do. The women or mothers were the ones that kept the tipis so that the children always had a place to sleep. The times that the men put up the tipi would be for ceremonial purposes. As well, the men were the ones to paint on the tipi.

These are Saulteaux teachings to which Glen learned from his grandmother. Glen Anaquod is from Muscowpetung First Nation in Saskatchewan.

Orally or using visual examples, show students the different types of family units. It is a great idea to display these visual examples around the classroom to indicate that there are all types of families.

Example of families:

blended, single-parent, extended, foster, guardian


  • Ask student volunteers to share what type of family unit they come from. It is important at this stage not to ask every student because some students might not feel comfortable sharing.
  • Bring dramatic context into your classroom. After discussing different family units, have groups of students demonstrate what each of those might look like.
  • There is a ton of fantastic literature out there that demonstrates all types of family. Including literature with Aboriginal families. Use multi-cultural literature, keep in mind that today's classroom is diverse!


anecdotal records, rubrics

Math extension activity:

Graph the number of people in each students' family.



Aboriginal Perspectives is supported by the University of Regina, the Imperial Oil Foundation, the Canadian Mathematical Society and the Pacific Institute for the Mathematical Sciences.

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