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Issue #129
August, 2020

How to support student mental health during the COVID-19 pandemic

Students may experience a range of emotions during the COVID-19 situation. As well, changes in routine, including time away from school, may create challenges for some students. We also understand that young people with pre-existing mental health problems may find their symptoms increasing in light of the current uncertainties.

We’ve compiled tips and resources to help answer questions you may have about how to support students during this time.

Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry, Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) Transitions Research Report, 2016-2018

Source: McGregor, C. (2019). Improving Transitions for Indigenous Learners through Collaborative Inquiry: AESN Transitions Research Report, 2016-2018. For the Networks of Inquiry and Indigenous Education (NOIIE): Vancouver, CAN.

Summary: The Aboriginal Enhancement Schools Network (AESN) has been a catalyst for change in British Columbia (BC) schools since 2009. Based on the initiative of Dr. Trish Rosbourgh, then Director of Aboriginal Education in the Ministry of Education, this network was designed to be a strategy through which school districts could more effectively and productively engage in bringing their Aboriginal Education Enhancement Agreements to life (Rosborough, Halbert & Kaser, 2017).

The purpose of the AESN is “to create an inquiry community where people learn and work together to ensure that every Indigenous learner crosses the stage with dignity, purpose and options, and together, we eliminate racism in schools”.

Digital Economy Talent Supply: Indigenous People of Canada

Source: Cameron A., Cutean, A. (2017). Digital Economy Talent Supply: Indigenous Peoples of Canada, Information and Communications Technology Council. Ottawa, Canada.

Summary: As the technology sector continues to develop and grow, and automation increasingly permeates various components of the economy, Canada is faced with the challenge of filling roughly 219,000 ICT jobs by 2021. Doing so will necessitate a strong and reliable supply pipeline, including a local talent pool that is well-equipped with the skills to succeed in a digital economy. The first step in utilizing our local talent pool is understanding the various strengths, cultures and capacities that comprise it.

Digital Economy Talent Supply: Indigenous Peoples of Canada utilizes in-depth research and analysis to showcase first-hand the value of diversity and inclusion in Canada’s growing digital economy. Displaying opportunities, challenges and the unique needs of Canadian Indigenous communities in the move towards ICT engagement, the report shines a spotlight on one of Canada’s most significant talent streams.

Sixties Scoop

Source: The Alberta Teachers’ Association

Summary: What is the Sixties Scoop and how can understanding its impacts contribute to reconciliation?


In the 1950s and 60s, compulsory attendance at federally governed residential schools began to be phased out, although it continued for children whose families were deemed “unsuitable” to care for them.1 Indigenous children were expected to attend the provincial public education stream. This shift was coupled with a 1951 amendment to the Indian Act that enabled provinces to deliver child welfare services to Indigenous people where none had formerly existed. Indigenous children went from being forcibly removed from parents to attend residential schools to being forcibly removed from families by provincial child welfare agencies.

The underlying root of the forced removals aligned with aggressive assimilation policies. Genocidal tactics of residential schools aimed at “killing the Indian in the child” continued with the transfer of responsibility to provincial child welfare agencies because of existing court structures and provincial policies.

Miscast and Seldom Seen

Source: Media Smarts

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: In this lesson students consider how well their favourite TV shows, movies and video games reflect the diversity of Canadian society. Students are introduced to the media education key concepts that “media are constructed to represent reality” and “media communicate values and messages”, and learn about the constructed nature of media products, how media “re-presents” people, ideas and events from a particular viewpoint, and what the possible consequences of under-representation and inaccurate portrayals of diversity might be.

Next, students learn about Canadian voluntary industry codes on diversity portrayal and consider whether they should be applied to other media. As a summary activity, students take a stand on a diversity issue relating to media and write a Letter to the Editor.

This lesson is part of the That’s Not Me: Diversity in Media lesson series.

Teaching Guides: The Indian Act

Source: CBC

Focus: Secondary Students

Summary: In 1876, the young country of Canada passed a set of laws intended to govern First Nations people in Canada. Decades later, those laws still exist and are largely unchanged.

So, how and why did The Indian Act come to be? And why is it still on the books? This episode of The Secret Life of Canada explores the federal law that overhauled settler-Indigenous relations.

Possible teaching connections include Geography, History, Social Studies, Law, Civics, and Anthropology.
This teaching guide includes:

  • Lesson plan
  • Slideshow
  • Ad-free audio for download
  • Activity sheets
  • Episode transcript

Fine Arts

Source: Learn Alberta

Focus: Grades 1-9

Summary: These sample lesson plans support Education for Reconciliation through the inclusion of First Nations, Métis, and Inuit perspectives; treaty education; and residential schools ’ experiences, with learning outcomes identified in the current Alberta Programs of Study for Grades 1 to 9 in Fine Arts.

Each sample lesson plan includes content(s) or context(s) related to one or more of the following aspects of Education for Reconciliation:

  • diverse perspectives and ways of knowing of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit, including values, traditions, kinship, language, and ways of being;
  • understandings of the spirit and intent of treaties; or
  • residential schools’  experiences and resiliency.

Links and relevant information in Guiding Voices: A Curriculum Development Tool for Inclusion of First Nations, Métis and Inuit Perspectives throughout Curriculum and Walking Together: First Nations, Métis and Inuit Perspectives in Curriculum are provided to support understandings of First Nations, Métis, or Inuit ways of knowing. Both online resources are accessed through

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