Great Beginnings The Native American Experience Tamara Gray, Courtney Norgren and Daniel Kilpatrick. Summary.
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This unit was created for Second grade students to teach them about the Native American culture by exploring the different types of shelter, clothing, food, music, and art within the different geographic regions. Students will study the climate, terrain, vegetation and land forms six different regions: Pacific Northwest, Great Basin, Northwestern Woodlands, Southwest, Great Plains, and Southwestern Woodlands. Instruction will be conducted through various independent, group, and hands-on activities. This unit ensures that all types of learning styles are explored. In addition, the various independent activities are easily modified to accommodate learners with differing abilities.
We will be integrating Language Arts, Social Studies, Science, Math, and the arts throughout the unit by focusing on the second grade Sunshine State Standards.
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. First thing in the morning the students will be given a brief overview of Native American names and their meanings. The students will then select a Native American name for themselves and and add it to their head dress. 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 mother’s will be invited to help reheat the previously prepared foods, serve the food and help with clean up. The students will wear their necklaces and head dresses as they are seated around the models of Native American Shelters. They will use their woven mats as placemats. The walls will be a display center for the student’s geographic area collages, representative soil samples and circle maps. Native American music will be playing 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, or 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 where 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 whether they thought the tale was a myth or a legend and one sentence explaining their decision. At the end of the day students will have an opportunity to visit the “trading post” to exchange the Wampum that they have been earning, for small rewards such as pencils, stickers, and erasers.
Bruchac, J. (1993). The First Strawberries. New York, NY: Dial Books for Young Readers.
Crespo, G. (1993). How the Sea Began. New York, NY: Clarion Books.
Dearborn, Lyn, & Ritchie, Mary (n.d.) Legend Ojibwe Dream Catcher. Retrieved from http://www.rivernen.ca/legend_1.htm
Dream Catchers Incorporated (n.d.) The Legend of the Dream Catcher. Retrieved from http://www.dreamcatchers.org/dcat16.html
London, J. (1993). Fire Race; A Karuk Coyote Tale. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books.
Shepard, A. (2004). The Hidden One. In Folktales on Stage: Children’s Plays for Readers Theater. Los Angeles, CA: Shepard Publications.
Taylor, C.J. (1993). How Horses Came Into the World. In How We Saw the World; Nine Native stories of the way things began. Montreal, Quebec: Tundra Books.
Taylor, H.P. (1993). Coyote Places the Stars. New York, NY: Bradbury Press.