Section One: Project/Lesson Overview

Grade: 12

Subject: English Language Arts

Lesson Title: Wolastoq Journey

Lesson Description: Using images of Wolastoq from Madawaska to Saint John, oral reminiscences and text commentaries, examine ecosystems, past and present and the human impact on the environment.

Time required: 4 x 60 minutes

Specific Curriculum Outcomes:

  • use writing and other ways of representing to extend ideas and experiences, reflect on their feelings, values, and attitudes, and describe and evaluate their learning processes and strategies 
  • use note-making, illustrations, and other ways of representing to reconstruct knowledge 
  • choose language that creates interesting and imaginative effects 
  • create an organizing structure appropriate to the purpose, audience, and context of texts
    - select appropriate form, style, and content for specific audiences and purposes
    - use a range of appropriate strategies to engage the reader/viewer 
  • demonstrate awareness of what writing/representation processes and presentation strategies work for them in relation to audience and purpose 
  • consistently use the conventions of written language in final products
  • experiment with the use of technology in communicating for a range of purposes 
  • demonstrate commitment to crafting pieces of writing and other representations 
  • use a range of materials and ideas to clarify writing and other ways of representing for a specific audience (e.g. graphs, illustrations, tables)
  • gain a greater appreciation and understanding of Wolastoqiyik and their history, culture, and conditions

Section Two: Project/Lesson Implementation

Equipment/Materials Required: Access to Wolastoq Journey content

Lesson Procedures/Teaching Strategies:

Impart the following using resources indicated:

  1. Introduce the subject by examining and discussing the importance of the river to Wolastoqiyik: habitation, transportation, source of food and medicine, a place of ceremony, trade, travel and portage routes, and respect for the river. Make it clear that Wolastoqiyik are forever tied to Wolastoq. 
  2. Have students examine the Wolastoq Journey Learning Object content: images and audio to enhance their understanding of the importance of the river and its many uses. 
  3. Discuss and examine the elements of short story development. 
  4. Using the web site, Koluskap: Stories from Wolastoqiyik, introduce Koluskap to the class so that students have a firm understanding of his significance to Aboriginal cultures, specifically Wolastoqiyik. Have students research Koluskap further as time permits. 
  5. Discuss the significance of the oral history, storytelling tradition in Wolastoqey culture:
    a) When meetings were held often a Talking Stick or Eagle Feather was passed around so that all members of the community could offer their opinion on a particular discussion. And great pride was taken in Wolastoqew stories. Oral history was the way in which the knowledge was passed from generation to generation.
    b) The stories helped teach youth and adults alike how their behaviours affected others around them. The stories often used comedy to portray to the listeners a lesson without directly singling out any individual. This was done so that the individual would have an opportunity to learn from the message instead of being embarrassed because of their behaviour.
    c) Storytelling was a way to keeping family and friends together by listening to the adventures of Koluskap and other individuals from their families who walked these lands long ago.
    d) When a story was told it brought the narrative back to life through a concept called dream time. We are always dreaming even when we are awake. This is the “magic” that exists all around us and allows us to shift into different worlds and different bodies, through our inter-relation with all things. When people stopped believing in the dream time, they stopped believing in the “magic” that existed all around them.
  6. Have students read the contemporary story written by Marie Perley and discuss how it represents the points above. Examine the images of the Wolastoq Journey Learning Object and ask students to match an image to each of the eleven paragraphs. 
  7. Invite a Wolastoqew elder and/or storyteller to class for a storytelling session and to discuss the meaning and significance of Wolastoq and the oral history tradition.


  1. Using the Marie Perley story as an example, and the images, audio reminiscences and text of the Wolastoq Journey Learning Object as inspiration, have students compose an illustrated short story that features Koluskap and Wolastoq as main characters. 
  2. Assignments may be in the form of text, illustrated talk, or a combination. 
  3. Ask students to identify a target audience for their presentation: pre-school, primary school, middle school, or adults. 
  4. Students will present assignments in class.

Suggested Assessment Strategies:
Students should be graded informally for their time on task and commitment to the project. Student positions should be graded by the teacher on a rubric similar to the following scale:  incomplete; not quite there yet; good effort; excellent work
• Establishes a clear purpose and consistently maintains focus
• Selects quality content
• Arranges presentation using own words
• Always written with the audience in mind
• Entices the listener.
• Extremely well-rehearsed, smooth delivery in a conversational style
• Highly effective enunciation, expression, and rhythm keep the audience hooked
• Consistently uses correct grammar
• Volume of voice enhances presentation
• Audience is engaged and interested

Students should also complete a self-assessment.

Section Three: Project/Lesson Resources

Web-Based Resources:  

Disclaimer: The recommended web-resources included here have been scrutinized for their grade and age appropriateness; however, contents on links on the Internet change continuously. It is advisable that teachers preview all links before recommending them to students.

Marie Perley, Neqotkuk (Tobique First Nation), New Brunswick
c. 2007
New Brunswick, CANADA
© 2007, New Brunswick Museum. All Rights Reserved.

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