March 29, 2010

Native American Unit Daily Lessons

Day One: Read A Picture Book of Sacajawea and talk about how her life was the same and different from our lives. Another idea is to go through Growing Up Indian and compare Sacajawea's life to a more typical Indian woman.

Day Two: Read The Legend of the Indian Paintbrush and write a list of talents people can have. Discuss: Do we need to be good at everything? What are some things you [your child] are good at? Can we learn to be good at things that don't come as naturally as others? Why are you glad people have a variety of talents?

Day Three: Read Grandma Maxine Remembers. Look through the photo album of my mom and dad (so the kids' grandparents), then read a story from great-grandpa Wilford's book and Grandpa Lloyd's book. Watch our wedding video. Talk about all the ways we can learn about our ancestors and our heritage. (I took several days to go through this material because the children were enjoying themselves and they have limited attention spans. You could also watch travel videos on youtube to showcase where your family is from--Denmark, England, and Germany for my side of the family, for example.)

Day Four: Continue with the previous day's activities and start building a family tree on the wall.

Day Five: Watch video about great-grandma Young and great-grandma Barney. Read funny things Grandpa Jack has done. Finish family tree (or keep working on it--it took us more than two days).

Day Six: Read Seasons of the Circle. Make our own Book of Months--what we do and what the world looks like for each month. I made little books for the kids and they decided what they wanted to emphasize in each month. Then they drew a picture of how Utah looks during that month or something relating to the main idea they chose. They loved this activity!

Day Seven: Look through book Native Americans: A Portrait : The Art and Travels of Charles Bird King, George Catlin, and Karl Bodmer by Robert J. Moore and discuss how each artist portrayed the Native Americans. Then paint your own picture in the style of one of the three artists.

Day Eight: Look through the book Spirit of the Harvest: North American Indian Cooking by Beverly Cox and discuss the types of ingredients found in Native American tribes of different regions and why they are different (for example, some tribes ate a lot of salmon and others ate no salmon at all). Then make something yummy (Miriam liked stuffing peppers).

Other ideas: if you have a university near where you live, you might be able to find a Native American club or organization that will have a list of powwows in the area or other major Native American events that are open to the public. Also, there are numerous awesome Lewis and Clark activities that can be done with this unit.
As the culminating event for this unit, I took my children to the Treehouse Museum in Ogden, Utah because it has a teepee set up with fun schleik Native American/west toys in it plus a drum and several costumes. We played in the teepee and read the books that were in the teepee (I love how many books are at the museum!) and had a great time.

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