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Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Native American Heritage Month

November is Native American Heritage Month.   Celebrating their heritage with my students is something I look forward to each November.

Legends are inherent in any study of the Native American culture.  Thus, I begin by sharing picture books that are based on such legends.  Here are some of my favorites:

Perhaps my uber favorites are:

After reading The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, my 3rd & 4th graders research other wildflowers in the computer lab. They choose one for their own legend, telling how the wildflower came to be.  

My 1st & 2nd graders focus on winter counts and skin stories. After sharing pictures of actual winter counts, we compose a skin story together.  I display picture dictionaries of Native American symbols and we collaborate on how to "tell" our story using the symbols. Then we prepare a "skin" using a paper grocery bag or construction paper.  Tear the corners and sides to mimic the shape of an animal skin. In an effort to be more authentic, we record the story on our skin by writing in an oval that expands outward.
This is a collaborative story by a group of 1st graders.  2nd graders can do this independently.

The vocabulary of the Native American culture is often foreign to my charges.  Thus, I have created several literacy center activities that allow the students to work with the vocabulary while practicing skills aligned with the CCSS.  
This one requires students to put the words in alphabetical order, using up to the 2nd letter.

This one asks students to sort the nouns cards into piles of people, places, or things.

For more activities to extend The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush, check out my thematic unit.  It is available on TpT and TN.

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