Deportation of the Acadians


Type and Purpose of Learning

In this lesson, students engage in both performing arts and physical play-based learning. With physical play, they have the chance to experience the joy and satisfaction of movement. It also helps them develop physical skills, confidence and a positive body image. The students are not shy to use their body to form a human sculpture or run around the chairs. As students engage in physical play, they demonstrate the principles of movement, using locomotion, manipulation and stability skills. In these particular activities, it also helps them realize that they are an important part of the classroom community.

The students have learned the facts about the deportation of the Acadians and are excited to recall them by playing two kinesthetic games: “Ad-ons,” and “Musical Chairs.” Both these strategies are from Eric Jensen’s book, Brain Compatible Strategies. Ad-ons is a role play activity and Musical Chairs is a familiar game. Both strategies help facilitate learning by encapsulating the facts more easily in the brain so they can be recalled later.

It is incredible to see all the students participating enthusiastically. Each person comes up to the front of the room and shares one of the facts and begins a posture. It is similar to the “Freeze” game. However, in this case, the student recalls a fact on the deportation of the Acadians and then freezes in a specific posture with arms stretched or kneeling. Others come up and join the impromptu living sculpture until there is one giant human scenario of what they have been learning. There is much laughter and silliness as they begin to topple over one another and soon the human sculpture is dilapidated!

Some of the students are ready to play Musical Chairs and begin to set up the chairs. Once again, it is pandemonium as students scramble to find a seat. The person left standing is the new music master who gets to start and stop the music. But first, the student must show they are worthy by recalling one of the facts about the deportation of the Acadians. And the game begins again! Whether the students are playing Ad-ons or the Musical Chairs, they are simultaneously reviewing the facts on the Acadians. In the giant human scenario, one student sprawls on the floor as if to be the base of the pyramid and shouts, “Acadians were Catholics!” In the Musical Chairs, Kim and Gurkiran are competing for a chair when the music stops. Kim is lucky to get a seat and Gurkiran is left standing, out of breath but excited to share her fact, “Acadians were farmers and also made their own clothes and furniture!”

Lesson Plan

Assessment/Reflections for Future Lessons

Assessment is ongoing through observations, questions, conferencing before and during the writing process. Some of the questions and prompts the teacher uses include:

  • How are the Acadians different from the French?
  • What was their social life like?
  • How did they earn their living?
  • Who were their trading partners?

Summative assessment is conducted through assessment of placemats, making sure that all the students in the groups have contributed. Regarding participation in group discussion and the impromptu living sculpture, the teacher looks for enthusiasm, creativity, and knowledge of the facts on the Acadians.

Curriculum Expectations


(Ref: Ontario Ministry of Education. The Ontario Curriculum, Social Studies, Grades 1-6; History and Geography, 2013)

  • Outline the background and causes of key events of the period (e.g. the expulsion of the Acadians) and describe its effects.


(Ref: Ontario Ministry of Education. The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: Language, 2006)

Oral Communication

  • 4 Demonstrate an understanding of the information and ideas in increasingly complex oral texts.


  • 4 Demonstrate understanding of increasingly complex texts by summarizing important ideas.


(Ref: Ontario Ministry of Education. The Ontario Curriculum, Grades 1-8: The Arts, 2009)

  • Apply the creative process (see p.19-22) to process drama and the development of drama works, using the elements and conventions of drama to communicate feelings, ideas and multiple perspectives.

Introduction (MINDS ON)

Students play “A Day in the Life” drama game. The teacher starts by calling out “2:00 a.m.” Students imagine and act out what their character (one of the Acadians) would be doing at 2:00 a.m. Then, the teacher calls out, 3:00 a.m. This continues until the 24 hours are covered. Following the game, the students write their reflections or a diary entry from the point of view of the Acadians: A day in the life of a Habitant, a seigneur, a Jesuit, a farmer or a fille du roi coming to New France. Stepping into the shoes of the Acadians of the past enables the students to have a more personal experience of history.

Student Tasks (WORKING ON IT)

  1. Reading the history text on the Deportation of the Acadians and answering the five Ws (Who, What, When, Where and Why).
  2. Readers decide what is important to remember and what is irrelevant to the overall understanding of the deportation of the Acadians.
  3. Have students work in groups of four, engage in Place Mat template exercise to reach consensus on which information in the text is important to the topic of the expulsion of the Acadians.
  4. Have each group share its findings with the whole class. As they share the important facts, the teacher jots these on the chart paper.

Share and Connect

*Final Presentation – “Ad-ons” and “Musical Chairs”

Review the lesson on the deportation of the Acadians through Ad-ons activity. Invite one person to the front of the room to posture a fact on the Deportation of the Acadians. Other students come up and join the impromptu living sculpture.

On another day, review the lesson by playing musical chairs. Have everyone gather in a circle, with one person per chair. Once the game starts, quickly remove one of the chairs. The one left standing is the new music master; however, first she or he must share one of the facts on the expulsion of the Acadians.


Due to a large number of ELL learners, the following strategies are used whenever necessary:

  • Simplify vocabulary.
  • Highlight key ideas and instructions.
  • Give clear instructions and repeat, if necessary.
  • Use key visuals such as graphic organizers.
  • Allow sufficient response time.
  • Check often for comprehension.


Some students may not be comfortable participating in these activities and should be allowed to focus on the writing rather than presentation. Also, allow students choice in presentation through drama, Reader’s Theatre, diary or rap.

Other Applications (Extensions)

Have students write scripts from different points of view of the people of Acadia and present short role plays on how the deportation affected them.

Impact Quotes (Impact Analysis)

I asked the students if it was easier to recall the facts on the Deportation of the Acadians after participating in the Ad-ons and Musical Chairs activities. Some of their comments follow:

“I really like the living sculpture activity because now the fact on the Acadians is stuck with the shape of my body!”

“I love music – next time, please play one of my favourite songs! Now I will always remember the facts of the Acadians every time I hear that song!”

Research Quotes

“In the classroom, there are three reasons why constant attention is counter-productive. First, much of what we learn cannot be processed consciously; it happens too fast. We need time to process it. Second, in order to create new meaning, we need internal time. Meaning is always generated from within, not externally. Third, after each new learning experience, we need time for the learning to ‘imprint.’ (Eric Jensen, Teaching with the Brain in Mind, 1998, p.46.)[space size=10

Establishing a Safe Place to Learn

A classroom community has been developed using activities from an inclusive learning community in the beginning of the year. This investment has resulted in the classroom being a safe environment conducive to learning. Students get involved in the living sculpture and the musical chairs with body and mind – this play-based learning engages emotions, builds problem-solving skills and aids retention by encapsulating knowledge more easily in the brain.

Canada Revisited 7 by Clark et al (Arnold Publishing, 1999)

Canadian History 7 by Colin M. Bain (Pearson Canada, 2008)

Their Stories, Our History by Aitken et al (Nelson Canada, 2006)

A Guide to Effective Literacy Instruction, Volume Six, Writing (Ontario Ministry of Education, 2008)

Brain Compatible Strategies by Eric Jensen (The Brain Store Inc, 1997)

Websites for Physical Play and Games

Deportation of The Acadians Place Mat
Curriculum: - -

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