Great Beginnings The Native American Experience Tamara Gray, Courtney Norgren and Daniel Kilpatrick. Summary.
With a focus on addressing the Second Grade Sunshine State Standards, we will be integrating Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, and Math. Additionally, the arts will be incorporated as students explore the culture of the first inhabitants of North America. This unit was created to teach second grade students how the Native American culture developed as an adaptation to the environment. Students will study the climate, soil, vegetation, animals, and land forms of six different geographic regions: Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, Northeastern Woodlands, Southwest, Great Plains, and Southeastern Woodlands.They will explore the different types of shelter, clothing, food, music, art, and literature characteristic of the tribes that inhabited these different geographic regions. By implementing this unit in April, we will be linking the unit with a local Native American festival and the concurrent celebration of Earth Day. This should help impress upon students the idea that everything we have comes from what has been provided by the Earth. Children will come to understand this, developing a sense of responsibility for ensuring the preservation of the Earth and its resources.Instruction will be conducted through various independent, group, and hands-on activities. This unit accommodates all types of learning styles, and the various independent activities can easily be modified to accommodate learners with differing abilities or language proficiencies.
LA.184.108.40.206 The student will use new vocabulary that is introduced and taught directly.
LA.220.127.116.11 The student will listen to, read, and discuss familiar and conceptually challenging text.
LA.18.104.22.168 The student will identify cause-and-effect relationships in text.
LA.22.214.171.124 The student will identify the basic characteristics of a variety of literary forms (e.g., fables, stories, fiction, poetry, folktales, legends) and how they are alike and different.
LA.126.96.36.199 The student will prewrite by generating ideas from multiple sources (e.g., text, brainstorming, webbing, drawing, writer's notebook, group discussion, other activities)
LA.188.8.131.52 The student will draft writing by organizing details into a logical sequence that has a clear beginning, middle and end and an awareness of audience.
LA.184.108.40.206 The student will revise by creating interest by incorporating descriptive words and supporting details, such as sensory language.
LA.220.127.116.11 The student will revise by evaluating the composition, with the assistance of teacher, peer, checklist, or rubric.
LA.18.104.22.168The student will produce, illustrate, and share a variety of compositions.
The Great Beginnings Thematic Unit will have an equally great ending. The culminating activity will be a day-long celebration of Native American culture. To begin the morning, the students will be given a brief overview of Native American names and their meanings. They will then select Native American names for themselves and add them to their head dresses. Students will gather for brief presentations of students’ original myths and legends. Each presenter will display his or her poster, name the main characters, and describe their theme. At 9:15, the students will then have their Native American feast in the cafeteria. Class mothers will be invited to help reheat the previously prepared foods, serve the foods, and help with clean up. The students will wear their necklaces and head dresses as they are seated around the Native American shelter models, and they will use their woven mats as placemats. Students’ geographic area collages and circle maps will be displayed on the walls, and Native American music will be played during the feast. During Specials time, all second grade classes will report to the field for P.E. Since many Native American disputes were settled by playing ball games similar to field hokey, lacrosse, and soccer, the second grade classes will play soccer matches against one another.
During the Language Arts block, students will rotate through four classrooms. The students will learn to play a different game in each of the four classes. They will learn how to play “hiding the disks,” “the hand game,” “the snake stick game,” and “the bowl game.” The students will discuss how the skills used in each of these games would have been required for the survival of the Native American people and how practicing skills through games would be much like school for Native American youth. During recess, students will pick up the school grounds as a way to practice respecting and preserving Earth’s resources for future generations. After recess, the students will watch three excerpts from the movie Dream Keeper, in which an elderly grandfather tells his grandson mysterious Native American tales of love, friendship, and magic. After each tale, students will take five minutes to write down 1) whether they thought the tale was a myth or a legend and 2) one sentence explaining their decision. At the end of the day, students will have a final opportunity to visit the “trading post” to exchange earned Wampum (tokens), for small rewards, such as pencils, stickers, and erasers.
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