Canadian History Based Writing Lessons from IEW

I am excited to share that I’ve been working with the Institute for Excellence in Writing to put together a Canadian History-Based Writing Lessons book. Using the approach taught by the Teaching Structure and Style workshop by Andrew Pudewa, this book gives your child the chance to practice their writing skills while using Canadian history as their subject.

Canadian History Based Writing Lessons from IEW

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Before I share more about the book, I would like to explain 2 important things.

#1. This is not a Canadian history program. 

This book was not designed to be a primary text for learning about Canadian history. It’s a writing program. A writing program that uses Canadian history as its source texts. It is a great add-on to your history studies, or a review of what you’ve learned already, though and even offers some suggestions for Canadian history living books that you can read alongside the writing.

#2. This book assumes you are familiar with the Structure and Style approach that IEW uses.

Mr. Pudewa has a seminar that he holds to show parents how to teach their children writing. It is available either in person or through a 12 disc video series called Teaching Writing: Structure and Style that you can buy from IEW.com. If you haven’t taken the seminar, I believe that you can still do the book, however, you will need to make sure you carefully read the teacher’s guides and student lessons more closely. You probably will find it more challenging and a bit confusing as the book uses some of the language and jargon specific to the training.

Institute for Excellence in Writing

About Canadian History-Based Writing Lessons

This book is designed for students in Grade 6-8, as it’s a level B program. Its goal is to practice learning how to write well, following a set of guidelines and checklists of things to include in quality writing. It also helps students develop skills like summarizing, using strong verbs, learning how to combine information from multiple resources, etc.

There are 9 units divided into 30 weeks of lessons. Starting with learning to make key word outlines from a source text about the First Nations peoples through to writing a formal critique of Anne of Green Gables – this program touches base on some of the key moments in Canadian history, along with some Canadians who have made a difference.


The Student book has all the information a student will need: a daily work plan, instructions on what they are learning, source texts and examples, practice activities, and a checklist to follow to make sure the work is done properly. This workbook will be written in so each child should probably have their own copy in order to do this successfully.

The Teacher’s Manual gives you as a teacher more information for each lesson. It essentially shrinks a student page smaller and then adds additional text around the edges in greyed out boxes so you can understand what your child is learning. These include suggestions for activities, what parts of the Teaching Structure and Style seminar that lesson is from, tips for helping students through their work, and more.

Both books offer rich appendices, including information about the MLA format, a polished draft checklist, examples of finished student work for each unit, a list and short description of the 7 recommended additional fiction books, a literature response sheet, as well as vocabulary resources – like lists and quizzes, (plus printed cards you can take out and use for review).

What did I have to do with this program?

I was the Canadian voice. We worked together to create a timeline of some key Canadian historical moments and the people we felt should be included. I also wrote most of the source texts included in the book. This has been a very exciting project to see unfold and I’m thrilled that my name is on the front cover as co-author. This program is a terrific one and I’m happy to have been a part of it.

Where can you get a copy?

This book is not available through the IEW website, but instead, is being distributed through Canadian companies like Classical Education Books.

Reviews

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58 Comment(s)

  • by S Fraser Posted August 21, 2017 9:11 am

    My favourite moment in Canadian History is the mutiny of Henry Hudson’s crew.

  • by Stephanie Jackson Posted August 21, 2017 9:16 am

    So many reasons to be thankful to be Canadian but the top includes universal health care (1960-1970).

  • by Charity Posted August 21, 2017 9:21 am

    I don’t know enough Canadian History to pick a favorite moment.

  • by Kristy Posted August 21, 2017 9:34 am

    We are currently reading about the gold rush, so I will put that as my favorite.

  • by Emilie Posted August 21, 2017 9:41 am

    The creation of Charter of Rights and Freedoms.

  • by Alex Leclerc Posted August 21, 2017 9:50 am

    My favourite canadian history moment is Terry Fox’s run.

  • by Agnes VDM Posted August 21, 2017 10:05 am

    My favorite part of Canadian History is when slavery was abolished.

  • by Ruthann Posted August 21, 2017 10:09 am

    It’s great to have Canadian content available!

  • by Dianne Butler Posted August 21, 2017 10:26 am

    My favourite moment is the 1988 Winter Olympics in Calgary. As a volunteer, I participated in the Opening & Closing Ceremonies, as well as was able to experience all the excitement at the Canmore Nordic Centre’s events. A proud moment, and LOTS of fun. Great memories!

  • by Sara Posted August 21, 2017 10:40 am

    My favourite moment of Canadian history is our part in the underground railway.

  • by Lisa Munro Posted August 21, 2017 10:45 am

    We love stories of the first peoples. I still remember how much I loved listening to stories of Glooskap (Indigenous legend) as a child.

  • by Amy R Posted August 21, 2017 11:00 am

    My favourite moment was Expo ’86 in Vancouver.

  • by Tammy Tone Posted August 21, 2017 11:40 am

    We plan on buying some of your curriculum this fall. What amazing ideas you have put together.

  • by Adrienne Posted August 21, 2017 11:42 am

    In recent Canadian history, Chris Hadfield commanding the International Space Station was pretty awesome. We loved his videos/experiments that he broadcasted. We watched his reentry to Earth at our local science centre. Also, The war of 1812 is a favourite older history topic my kids like to study.

  • by Susan Mikaelian Posted August 21, 2017 12:02 pm

    I love recognizing Canadian medical achievements ex. Frederick Banting and Charles Best at U of T first isolated insulin. 1922 … first patient treated!

  • by Carla Posted August 21, 2017 12:35 pm

    One of my favourite moments was when Canada freed the Netherlands during WW II. It shaped my grandfather’s decision to immigrate here a few years later!

  • by Christine Posted August 21, 2017 2:03 pm

    How do you choose? I’m going to look at my own personal history as a Canadian and say ‘driving across Canada (Literally West Coast to the coast NFL), with my younger sister, in my early 20’s. It really broadened my perspective of Canada and being a Canadian.’

  • by Nicole Henry Posted August 21, 2017 2:55 pm

    The Vimy Ridge victory is one of my favourite moments in Canadian history!

  • by Rebecca Posted August 21, 2017 5:55 pm

    I’m always fascinated to learn about Canadian science and medical achievements.

  • by helen Posted August 21, 2017 6:35 pm

    Too many favourite moments. I would say right now, my kids and I are really enjoying learning about the underground railway.

  • by Janice Posted August 21, 2017 6:44 pm

    There are so many reasons, I couldn’t decide so my son said the War of 1812.

  • by Trudy Posted August 21, 2017 10:52 pm

    The war of 1812 has been a childhood favorite of mine

  • by Adeline Posted August 22, 2017 4:05 am

    When my family became Canadian Citizens.

    • by LisaMarie Posted August 22, 2017 7:24 am

      <3 Awesome!

  • by Natasha Gillks Posted August 22, 2017 7:12 am

    I love this idea!

  • by Becky Posted August 22, 2017 10:17 am

    Hoping to learn more about Canadian history this year so I have a favourite!

  • by Deirdre Posted August 22, 2017 10:33 am

    Overall, I’d have to say Banting and Best with the discovery of insulin. They have saved so many lives from a premature death! Worldwide, 422 million people live with diabetes (WHO, 2017), so the impact is globally significant. For events occurring in my lifetime, it’s always pretty cool when Canada brings home the gold at the Olympics!

  • by Marcie Posted August 22, 2017 12:11 pm

    150 years as a country and many more years as we became our own nation – how do we choose? So, I will choose my own family’s Canadian history – my dad’s ancestors came here from Scotland and settled and generations remained in the same area where my parents still live. A legacy of hard work and dedication.

  • by Sunshine Posted August 22, 2017 2:06 pm

    There are so many great moments in Canadian history that I can’t pick a complete favourite, but one that inspires me is the story of Terry Fox.

  • by Nina Posted August 22, 2017 4:09 pm

    My favourite Canadian history moment is the building of the railway to link the people together with the interesting Pacific Scandal backstory of kickbacks and bribes.

  • by Laura P Posted August 22, 2017 10:32 pm

    I think I would have to say the Charlottetown Conference since I live in PEI!

  • by Alayna Posted August 23, 2017 8:10 am

    I think it would be Canada’s participiation in the World Wars.

  • by Reidun Posted August 23, 2017 9:27 am

    One of the most interesting to me was the Halifax Explosion. Would love to go there and see where it happened.

  • by Wilma Posted August 23, 2017 9:35 am

    There are so many, but I think I will choose Canada’s involvement in the liberation of the Netherlands in World War 2.

  • by Sarah De Diego Posted August 23, 2017 9:45 am

    Wow, what a big question! I think the creation of our country was big, women’s right to vote, Terry Fox uniting a nation (I’m know that many have done it before him and since but I remember him from my childhood). Thanks for creating this great resource and giving. Besos Sarah.

  • by Christina Posted August 23, 2017 9:51 am

    I’m not sure what my favourite moment would be. We are studying Canada this year so hopefully, by the end of the year, I can answer that! I wish I had known about this program a few months ago while trying to put our curriculum for the year together https://youtu.be/ybgV1pbWvkU

    • by LisaMarie Posted August 23, 2017 10:12 am

      Oh wow, great collection of resources you’ve put together this year! I hope you have a great year! 🙂 (Sorry – we had to wait for it to be done so we could share about it!)

  • by Merlyka Posted August 23, 2017 9:59 am

    Terry Fox, Health Care – Great job creating this resource!

  • by Michelle Posted August 23, 2017 10:09 am

    Our involvement in the Underground Railroad

  • by Sheila Posted August 23, 2017 12:05 pm

    One of the greatest Canadian moments…the completion of the railroad…the final
    spike connecting Canada coast to coast.

  • by Jennifer in NB Posted August 23, 2017 12:29 pm

    My favourite moment in Canadian history? I have a few, I guess… during the War of 1812, the “Canadians” (well, not really, because they were technically classed as Brits) went down, burned the US White House and a couple other buildings, came home, and drank to it. My American friends don’t seem to see the humour in it. Otherwise, though, not exactly a favourite moment, but I am fascinated with how people came to our neck of the woods (Saint John River Valley, NB) and created homes with almost nothing. Can’t imagine what it must’ve been like, come up the river, and saying, “There! Those trees, and that steep hill! That’s our new home!” and then ploughing up rocks. They stuck it out, and people live here. Amazing.

  • by Khadija Posted August 23, 2017 12:47 pm

    Education,Terry Fox and when slavery was abolished.

  • by Keisha J Posted August 23, 2017 2:08 pm

    My favourite part of Canadian history is the Underground Railroad.

  • by Amber V. Posted August 23, 2017 2:33 pm

    My favourite part of Canadian History is the pioneer days! I’m fascinated by the old sod homes & people setting out into the wilds to build their lives!

  • by Sabrina Posted August 23, 2017 6:29 pm

    I loved experiencing Terry Fox’s cross country run for cancer as a child and love sharing it with my kids as an adult. They’re fascinate to know that I was alive when Terry was battling his disease.

  • by Fran Posted August 23, 2017 8:14 pm

    My favourite moment in Canadian history is at the Battle of Vimmy Ridge in WW1. The courage and expertise of our Canadian forces really got Canada recognized as a world player and nation of high skills to offer the world

  • by Beth Fenske Posted August 23, 2017 8:33 pm

    The lives of Jean de Brébeuf and David Thompson

  • by Kim Posted August 23, 2017 8:46 pm

    Oh my, it’s so hard to pick just one moment in our history! But my favourite stories are always the the more personal stories. Ancestors that pioneered in Canada they were such strong people who went through a lot to build better lives for their children.

  • by Susie Posted August 24, 2017 1:52 am

    My favourite moment in Canadian history would be confederation in 1867 when we all, almost all, joined together.

  • by Shannon Turner Posted August 24, 2017 10:50 am

    There are so many moments! Today, I’m going with the the discovery of Viking settlement at L’Anse aux Meadows.

  • by Angela Posted August 24, 2017 2:41 pm

    Favourite moment in Canadian History is my family’s participation in the World Wars. I’m very proud to be Canadian. <3

  • by Tammy Posted August 24, 2017 8:18 pm

    My favourite event in Canadian History is the Fur trade. I love how resourceful people were. I don’t like how some people treated the indigenous people, but I think it is important to learn about their interactions and I respect the invaluable part this time period played in the shaping of our country.

  • by Margeory Posted August 28, 2017 10:43 am

    Indigenous resurgence that is happening is my favourite part of Canadian history. Sure hope indigenous facts are covered by an indigenous perspective in this educational book

  • by Candy-Jane Posted August 30, 2017 10:34 am

    Among my many favourites is the story of Vikings in Newfoundland and the birth of Snorri Thorfinnsson, the alleged first European born in Canada.

  • by Amanda Jennifer Posted August 30, 2017 1:03 pm

    It’s not all that long ago, but the 2017 BC election was quite historic and my favourite. Whether you’re Liberal, NDP or Green it’s going to change how politics is done in BC because there will have to be cooperation in order to get things done. Also, it had some excellent teaching moments on Westminster parliamentary process (I’m super nerdy when it comes to politics). Then there’s the rarity of the Green Party getting the balance of power without being an official party.

  • by Genevieve Smeding Posted August 30, 2017 2:58 pm

    My fave moment in Canadian history is when the Canadian Government signed treaties with Native People in Canada.

  • by misskimmy13 Posted August 30, 2017 3:40 pm

    My favourite period in history is the settling of the west.

  • by Elise Posted August 31, 2017 3:53 pm

    One favourite moment – wow, that’s hard. When they chose Glenn Gould’s recording of Bach to send on the mission to the moon? The moment when Grey Owl realised that he’d rather protect the beavers than kill them for furs? How about, collectively, all of the moments that have reinforced the ideals of peace, community and environmental protection that Canadians claim to value? Small moments between people, and big moments between institutions! Good question! 🙂

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