Native American History in 4th and 5th Grade Using Oral History in the Classroom
In your table groups, please discuss: • When during the year and how much do you teach the history of Indians in your classroom? • How do you teach Native American history? What materials and/or activities do you use? • Do you have Indian children in your classes? • Have you had a chance to talk with a Native American person about his or her heritage? • What goals do you have when you teach Indian history? (e.g. cover curriculum, cultural awareness, etc.)
Native American History in the 4th grade • 4.2 Major nations of California Indians & lifeways; Interactions among Indians, explorers, Spanish missionaries, and rancheros • 4.5 Systems of California governance including Indian rancherias
Native American History in the 5th grade • 5.1 Describe major pre-Columbian settlements & lifeways • 5.3 Conflict & cooperation among Indian nations and between Indian nations and European settlers, including competition to control North America, fur trade, cultural interchanges, broken treaties, resistance to encroachments & assimilation, and significant leaders • 5.6 Impact of early U.S. land policies on Indian lands
Challenges to teaching Native American History • “Vanishing Indian” myth • Physical destruction (disease, warfare, etc.) • Cultural destruction • Lack of Good Information & Resources • See handout • Not enough time/not covered in standards
Native Americans Today • Who are Native Americans today? Where do they live? What do they do for a living? Where do they go to school? In what ways do their cultural traditions shape their lives? How do Indian tribes govern themselves? What is their relationship with state & federal governments? What do Native Americans today think about their history in the U.S. and the way in which that history is taught in the classroom?
Oral History is . . . • The recollections & reminiscences of living persons about their past; • Historical inquiry that is undertaken by interviewing individuals about the events they have personally experienced; • A collaboration between the interviewer (who asks the questions) and the person being interviewed (who tells the stories).
Oral History is NOT . . . • Role-playing (answering questions in the personal of a historical character); • Oral tradition (carefully handed down stories & traditions, according to strict rules, within an oral culture).
Benefits of Oral Histories in the Classroom • Brings the social studies curriculum alive • Involves active learning • Builds critical thinking skills • Suited to non-native English learners and young children • Develops strong oral language skills
A Variety of Types of Data Collection related to Oral History • Group Interview • Individual Interviews • Survey Sent Home • “Object” Interview • Field Trip Interview
Oral History Manners • Be on your best behavior • Be polite and friendly • Be on time • Be respectful • Make the interview a pleasant experience • Do not argue with the person you interview • Listen, listen, listen
Some Dos and Don’ts for Oral Interviewing • Come well prepared; know your subject and your equipment • Be polite & friendly • Begin with simple, comfortable questions • Ask questions one at a time • Allow silences; give interviewee time to think • Speak clearly so the narrator can understand and hear you • Ask clear, brief questions • Ask open-ended questions, not yes-or-no questions • Listen actively and ask follow-up questions • Do not contradict or correct the narrator; keep personal opinions to yourself • Avoid asking leading questions • Do not rush the end of the interview. End on a positive note.
Practicing Oral Interviews: Bloopers • Choose one of the items on the dos and don’ts handout • Interview a partner doing the opposite of what you should do. • For example, ask only yes-or-no questions, OR argue with the speaker
Practicing Oral Interviews: Mock Interviews • Each take 3-5 minutes to interview the other on one of the following subjects. Practice as many good interviewing techniques as possible, especially—active listening and follow up questions • Topics: • Why you became a teacher • Your first work experience • Your dream trip or vacation
Generating Questions for the Group Interview • Big Question: Who are Native Americans today? How does their cultural heritage shape their lives? • What do we know about Charlie Toledo? (Handouts)
Generating Questions for the Group Interview • In your group: • What is your goal—the main topic you want to cover? • Generate 1 question you want to have answered for sure; • Generate 2-3 questions you would like to have answered if there is time; • Imagine kinds of follow up questions you might ask • Decide: Who will ask the first question? Who will ask follow up questions? Who will take notes?
Assign Roles for the Group Interview • Greeters: Greet our guest, escort her to her seat, provide her with water and anything she needs • Consent Form: Go over the consent form with our guest and ask her to sign it • Recorders: Operate the tape recorder, make sure it is working, make sure to flip the tape in the middle • Time Keepers: Make sure each group gets a turn to ask questions; make sure interview ends on time • Escorts: Thank our guest, escort her to lunch
Follow Up Options with Oral Interviews • Writing—e.g. essays, research papers • Math exercise—tally and graph findings • Poetry—e.g. found poem • Visual Arts—portraits, maps, posters • Theater—monologues, dramatizations, vignettes • Music/Dance • Class Book • And More!
Our Class Book • In your group: • Divide into 3 working teams • Team 1: Using the handout, create a page on the early history of the Indian community you have been assigned. • Team 2: Using the handout, create a page on the more recent history of the Indian community. • Team 3: Choose one question and one quote from your table’s section of today’s interview to include in the book and copy it onto the book paper.