Seigneurial System Assignments


As a 21st century educator, I look for methods in which to scaffold student learning in ways that are relevant and engaging to my learners. A significant factor in student learning, because “today we live in the presence of a generation of kids who have known no time untouched by the promises and pitfalls of digital technology” (Sale, Torres, Wolozin, Rufo-Teper & Shapiro, 2011, p. 29), is the appropriate integration of technology to facilitate learning.

Teaching grade 7 humanities for the first time in ten years, not only has the curriculum changed, but the way in which students learn has drastically shifted. When review current literature, it is apparent that the learning sciences field has made significant scientific contributions to the nature of learning, characterizing learning as context-based processes mediated by social experiences and technological tools (Lave 1990; Sale, et al., 2011; Sawyer 2006). This learning theory differs from current cognitive theoretical views; views that attempt to answer how and why people learn by attributing the process to cognitive activity.

Using a learning theories approach, I constructed a multi-task, scaffolding assignment for my grade 7 students to meet the essential learning outcome of identifying and explaining daily life in New France.

First, students were tasked with an in-class activity that focused on skill building in the ELA strands of viewing and representing. For this task, students were presented with selected images depicting New France and instructed to, by using the guiding questions listed below, write down their observations about New France on the whiteboards in 5 Points.

  • What do they tell you about the place France was trying to create?
  • What ambitions do these images convey?
  • What attitudes do they convey?
  • What kinds of people does the images depict?
  • Does the image have a message about these people?

Following this, as a class, we looked at the predominant challenges of settlement, including examining graphs that looked at weather an climate factors.

Other factors included lack of resources, tough terrain, hostile relationships with First Nations groups, and few women to grow populations.


In our next class, students were provided with two readings that introduced and explained the seigneurial system.  To demonstrate comprehension, students were then tasked to illustrate on a blank sheet of paper what they thought the seigneurial system looked like.  In the following class, we shared these with one another and discussed why we took the perspective we had.  This was done with a partner.

Finally, the final learning task was unveiled.  Using Google Earth, I showed students what a “bird’s eye view” and a “street view” of maps look like.  From here, using the bird’s eye view, students finally saw what the seigneurial system looked like – if they hadn’t already Googled it!

The learning task was then explained:

Your task is to create a historically accurate rendering on the New France seigneurial system. You will be assessed according to the following criteria:

  • Historical Accuracy
  • Attention to Detail/Design of Information
  • Visual Communication

Students were then shown the following exemplars, and told they could chose any format they wish, such as Lego, plasticine, poster, diorama, Minecraft or Google Sketch-Up:


Well, teachers know when they “nail” the options choice because the students immediately formed their croups and began designing their task. In fact, they were so engaged that, at the end of class, they wanted to “vote” on who they felt had sketched the best layout.


Students were given two class periods, with he explanation that representing their understanding on an 11X17 sheet of paper was just as effective as completing a Lego model or Minecraft landscape.

The end result was amazing – so much so, that I had the highest completion rate on a project thus far this year, and the self-evaluation loop demonstrated students understood how to provide themselves with valuable reflection on how to improve in the future.  In regards to Minecraft, three students – who are quite quiet –  were asked to record a video of their landscape and present this to the entire school at our semi-annual “Celebration of Learning”.  To put this in perspective, there are 825 students at our school! Because they did not have a video recording feature on their mobile device, we projected their Minecraft onto a SMART Board and then used an iPad to record the landscape.

Their video is below:


Overall, I will be keeping this learning task for following years. By creating an activity that included context-based processes, and mediated by social experiences and technological tools, I saw an increase in completion rates, student engagement and connection to learning. Students took more pride in their work due to student choices that met their interests – the Lego was amazing, I wish I had taken a photo – and access to the technological tools they desired.




Like this:



Salen, K., Torres, R., Wolozin, L. Rufo-Tepper, R. and Shapiro, A. (2011). Question to learn: Developing a school for digital kids. Massachusetts: The MIT Press

Lave, J. 1990. “The Culture of Acquisition and Practice of Understand- ing.” In Situated Cognition: Social, Semiotic, and Psychological Perspectives, ed. D. Kirshner and J. A. Whitson, 17–36. Mahwah, N.J.: Lawrence Erlbaum.


Sawyer, R. K. 2006. “Introduction: The New Science of Learning.” In The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, ed. R. K. Sawyer, 1–18. Cambridge, UK: Cambridge University Press.

Posted by admazur on February 15, 2016 in Education, Uncategorized and tagged active learning, CTF, education, educational technology, makerspaces, Personalized Learning, student engagement, student-centered learning, teaching, technology, Web 2.0.

A Learning and Evaluation Situation (L.E.S.) is a set of complex tasks and learning activities rooted in a context which is linked to a problem or issue. A L.E.S. contributes to the development of subject-specific competencies, draws on various cross-curricular competencies and is contextualized in the broad areas of learning. The completed situational problem allows the teacher to assess specific learning competencies.

Knowledge to be acquired (all the topics grade 9 students are responsible for learning)

UNIT 0: Canadian geography
To be successful, students are encouraged to study at least 15-30 minutes every day.
Unit 0 Handout (notes)
Assignment 0.1: Map (Physiographic Regions, Great Lakes, Resources); due Thursday, September 14 (Day 4)
Unit 0 Questions; due Monday, September 25 (Day 4).
UNIT 0 TEST: Unit 0 notes, assignments, and discussions; Group 08-Tue19sep (Day 1), Group 07-Wed20sep (Day 2)

UNIT 1: First occupants of the territory (30000BCE-1608)
To be successful, students are encouraged to study at least 15-30 minutes every day.
Assignment 1.1: Migration (map); due Thursday, October 5 (Day 6)
MID-UNIT 1 TEST: Unit 1 notes, assignments, discussions (up to but not including Inuit); Friday, October 13 (Day 4)
Assignment 1.2: Summary Table; due Wednesday, October 18 (Day 1)
Assignment 1.3: The Original Peoples of Canada; due Tuesday, October 31 (Day 3)

UNIT 2: The evolution of colonial society under French rule (1608-1760)
To be successful, students are encouraged to study at least 15-30 minutes every day.
MID-UNIT 2 TEST: Textbook pages 62-101, assignments, discussions, handouts; Wednesday, November 29 (Day 4)
  Topics: *Terminology *Settlement colony vs. Trading post colony *Population of New France *Royal Government of 1663
  *Economic activities (old and new) *The Roman Catholic Church *The Seigneurial system *Aliiances & warefare
Workbook pages 2-22 to 2-28; Must be completed by Monday, December 11 (Day 6)
UNIT 2 (important facts to learn) .docx format; you must also complete the 3rd column with your notes
UNIT 2 (important facts to learn) .pdf format; you must also complete the 3rd column with your notes
UNIT 2 TEST #1: Textbook pages 62-123, assignments, discussions, handouts; Friday, December 15 (Day 4)
UNIT 2 TEST #2: Textbook pages 62-123, assignments, discussions, handouts; Wednesday, January 10 (Day 6)
  *Ask your teacher for a simplified set of review notes for this test

Please ask your teacher for a set of review notes.

Students should start studying for their mid-year exam as early as December.
Exam date: Refer to the JRHS Cycle 2 Exam Schedule on the school web site
Students cannot be absent for this mid-year exam unless they have a doctor's note (refer to JRHS' policies).
Verify your official exam schedule and/or school web site and the postings near the front office for possible changes.

UNIT 3: The conquest and the change of empire (1760-1791)
To be successful, students are encouraged to study at least 15-30 minutes every day.
Unit 3 Reading Guide (by Mr. Rich)
Assignment 3.1: Letters from Canadiens; due dates Group 07=Thu 8feb, 08=Tue 6feb
Student-made notes: Quebec Act 1774 (Group 07); created Tuesday, February 13
Student-made notes: Quebec Act 1774 (Group 08); created Wednesday, February 7
Assignment 3.2: Quebec Act Reactions (editorial); Wednesday, February 21
MID-UNIT 3 REVIEW NOTES: Type 2; ask your teacher for a printed copy
MID-UNIT 3 TEST; Group 07=Tuesday, February 27th (Day 2), 08=Wednesday, February 28th (Day 3)
   - Textbook pp. 134-158, Military régime (1760) to American Revolution (1783)
   - Includes material from class discussions, workbook, handouts, videos

UNIT 4: The demands and struggles of nationhood (1791-1840)
To be successful, students are encouraged to study at least 15-30 minutes every day.
Information not yet available

Information not yet available

Students should start studying for their end-of-year exam as early as April.
The June end-of-year exam will include material from every chapter.
Even though some documents could be provided for some questions, students are expected to know content.
  Therefore, some memorization is important: dates, sequence of events, terminology, concepts, events, places,
  key people and groups.
For exam date, please verify the schedule posted on the JRHS web site and the listings near the front office.
  - Students will write the end-of-year final exam in Gym 2 (main floor).
  - Students cannot be absent for this end-of-year exam unless they have a doctor's note.*
  - Please verify the John Rennie High School's cycle 2 official exam schedule for the exactness of the date and time.
* Refer to JRHS' policies

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