CBC Digital Archives

Lesson Plan: For Teachers: Who Was the Group of Seven?

History, Visual Arts, English Language Arts
2 to 3 lessons
To prepare an illustrated biography
Students will create an illustrated triptych detailing the life and art of a member of the Group of Seven or of Tom Thomson or Emily Carr.

Lesson Plan

Before Exploring

As a class, determine the difference between a biography and an autobiography, and together confirm a definition of autobiography. Ask students to create a point-form autobiography, including at least 10 significant events, of their life to date. For each event, have students provide a brief annotation. Students can exchange autobiographies with a classmate. Ask: What can a reader learn about a person by reading his or her autobiography? Would the details of your autobiography be different if they were presented as a biography written by your best friend? Why or why not?

Outline the Opportunity


Divide the class into nine equal groups. Assign each group one of the original members of the Group of Seven (Franklin Carmichael, Lawren Harris, A.Y. Jackson, Frank Johnston, Arthur Lismer, J.E.H. MacDonald, and Frederick Varley), Tom Thomson, or Emily Carr.


Direct students to the topic Group of Seven: Painters in the Wilderness on the CBC Digital Archives website and have them gather information about their assigned artist. Each group will prepare a triptych about the artist. Give each group a piece of poster board folded in three. The panels should include at least five facsimiles of the artist's work, as well as the artist's name and birth and death date, a timeline of the artist's life, and any other information they wish to share (art reviews, a collage of the artist's life, and so on).


Revisit and Reflect

One member from each group will present the group's triptych, in role as the artist describing his or her life.



Students can create a set of 10 questions, on individual index cards, that can be answered from the information presented on their triptych. Shuffle all cards and ask questions of the whole class.

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