From Frenchmen to Acadians: The Development of an Acadian Identity

Animated Book 2


To present their hypothesis on the development of the Acadian identity between the 17th and 19th centuries, the students will create an animated book made accessible on-line.

Background information for the teacher

  • The development of the Acadian identity is a question that is still debated today by scholars who study Acadie and there are many different interpretations. One of the objectives of this activity is to have the students think about this question. With the information available on the Web site and with what was learned in class, have the students first become aware of the problem, then help them develop their critical sense by having them propose their own hypothesis on the question.


  • Present the intended learning results.
  • Present the proposed activity:
    • Setting:
      • From the middle of the 17th century, many French families settled in Acadie. Through the years and with common experiences their descendants became Acadians and they built the historical Acadie. Today, the Acadian identity has been enriched by the contributions of other Francophone groups (for example from Québec, Europe, Africa or Asia) and of non-Francophones whose descendants became Acadians. That is why in today's Acadie there are many Acadians who have names like Beattie, Cool, Ferguson, Finn, Kenny, McGraw, Nowlan, McLaughlin, Williams or Young.
    • Start-up question:
      • Explain, by using the information that can be found in the History section, how the French settlers who arrived in Acadie in the middle of the 17th century have come to consider themselves Acadians.
    • Essential elements for the creation of the animated book:
      • Subject matter learned in class;
      • The History (written content) and Search (images) sections;
      • Explanation sheet for the use of Didapages to create animated books (available to the teacher only).
    • Examples of questions to guide the students' thought processes:
      • What kind of experiences would the descendants of the French pionneer families in Acadie have had that would have led them to develop a new identity, the Acadian identity?
      • What is a group?
      • What is an Acadian (in the historical context)?


  • Ask the student to complete the task:
    • To answer the start-up question:
      • The students must first consult the History section and refer to what was learned in class. Note: none of the texts specifically deal with this question; elements of the answer can be found throughout the different parts of the History section. Also, the Search section has many images that can be retrieved to illustrate the animated book.
      • During a class discussion, have the students propose a hypothesis that may explain the development of Acadian identity between the 17th and 19th centuries. The different elements of the hypothesis will be part of the animated book. (For example, the hypothesis could be related to the fact that sharing common experiences contributed the development of the Acadian identity. The different sections of the book, apart from the introduction and the conclusion, could deal with the aboiteaux, the population, Acadians in politics, the Deportation, the adoption of national symbols…).
    • To create the animated book:
      • Option 1: Divide the class into groups that will be responsible for one part in the creation of the book.
        • Group responsible for writing the texts
        • Group responsible for the images and the digitization
        • Group responsible for technical assembly
      • Option 2: Divide the class into groups that are each assigned one element of the answer for the start-up question (aboiteaux, Acadians in politics…). Each group will be entirely responsible for the creation of that section of the animated book until all the pieces are put together.
      • Consult the Didapages explanation sheet (see Essential and optional resources) for technical details on the creation of the animated book and putting it on-line.
      • A few times during the project, have the students become aware of their use of the historical method to find a hypothesis and of the creation process for the animated book:
        • What elements of the historical method are used to formulate the hypothesis?
          • Define the problem and clarify the research question.
          • Document analysis to identify historical elements that are necessary for the answer.
          • Have the students realise what is missing to complete the task.
          • Critique the information.


  • Have the students become aware of what they have learned as well as the method used that led to this new knowledge:
    • How useful were the strategies used?
    • What other strategies could also have been useful?
    • What would you change if you had to redo this activity? Why?
  • Ask the student to propose other strategies to present the information collected.
  • Question the students on the method used:
    • Had they ever used the historical method or software for putting things on-line?
    • Would they be able to reuse it?
    • Did the historical method help them understand certain contemporary situations?
    • Is it important to understand how identities develop? Is it a contemporary question?

Essential and optional resources

Essential resources

Optional resources