What’s Happening This Week
There is much more to explore in our calendar. Find other important events in literary history, authors' birthdays, and a variety of holidays, each with related lessons and resources.
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Sherman Alexie was born in 1966.
|Grades||3 – 12|
|Calendar Activity Type||Author & Text|
Novelist, poet, and screenwriter Sherman Alexie grew up on the Spokane Indian Reservation in Wellpinit, Washington. Often focusing on the connections between physical places and the stories that occur in them, Alexie wrote a semi-autobiographical young adult novel The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian with a protagonist who chooses to leave the school on his reservation to attend a nearby high school where he is the only Native American student.
In 2003, Sherman Alexie was asked to contribute to the "Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves" exhibition, a project of The Museum of Tolerance. The collection consists of recreations of parts of participants' childhood homes or other significant family locations and showcases the diversity of Americans' personal histories. The scenes explore the meaning and inspiration behind the places and objects where memories and family history were made.
- Ask your class to imagine that they have been asked to participate in such an exhibit. Have students draw or take photos/video of their home or another significant location and then write or record reflections that explain why this location is important to their family history and their personal identity.
- Alternately, have students create an exhibit for a character from a short story, book, or play the class has read. They can use information in the text (and their imaginations), to help them create a representation of the rooms of a character's family home and explain how these rooms reflect the personal history and identity of the character.
- The Official Sherman Alexie Site
Featuring information about Alexie's publications, this site also includes his blog, contests for readers, and a calendar of his appearances.
- Finding Our Families, Finding Ourselves Exhibit Site
The official site for the Musuem of Tolerance exhibit includes images of some of the displays and resources for researching family history including tips for getting started and links to genealogy sites.
- Sherman Alexie in the Classroom Companion Website
This collection of resources, a supplement to the NCTE book Sherman Alexie in the Classroom, offers ideas for teaching social justice and an introduction to Native American literatures, as well as critical excerpts about Alexie's work.
- Sherman Alexie
Alexie's entry on the Academy of American Poets site contains a biography and a link to his poem "Grief Calls Us to the Things of This World."
Grades 3 – 5 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
This lesson challenges students' views of Native Americans as a vanished people by asking them to compare their prior knowledge with information they gather while reading about contemporary Native Americans.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Creating a memoir of an older family member allows students both to learn more about their own backgrounds and to learn the power of storytellers.
Grades 6 – 8 | Lesson Plan | Unit
Writing gets personal when students interview family members in order to write a personal narrative about that person.
Grades 9 – 12 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Students explore the year they were born through interviews and research, and then weave the details into a newspaper or booklet, written from another person’s point of view.
Grades K – 2 | Lesson Plan | Standard Lesson
Families are all about connections between people. In this lesson, students read three books about different families and make text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to-world connections to those texts.