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Teacher Resources by Grade
|1st - 2nd||3rd - 4th|
|5th - 6th||7th - 8th|
|9th - 10th||11th - 12th|
Native Americans Today
|Grades||3 – 5|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Two 50-minute sessions|
- participate in critical discussions about their knowledge of Native Americans, understanding that Native people are part of contemporary America.
- work cooperatively in small groups.
- access and gather information about Native Americans from Websites.
- share information with others through discussion.
- Begin by writing "Native American," "American Indian," and "Indian" on the board. Introduce each term, and briefly describe its usage.
- Engage students in a brainstorming session during which they share all they know about Native Americans. Create lists of their comments on the board.
- Divide the students into small groups and give each group one or two of the books from the book list. Ask them to notice how the ideas generated in the brainstorming list are similar to or different from what they see in the books.
- In a computer lab or classroom, have students spend part of the session exploring the images and information at the Websites you selected.
- Solicit general comments from the groups regarding their observations and discussions. Move to soliciting specific examples of how their prior knowledge was affirmed or challenged by the material they found in the books.
- Have students use the interactive Venn diagram tool to map out their findings.
- Students can visit Websites developed by people of the tribes featured in the books on the book list to learn more about the tribe.
- Students can read works of fiction that portray American Indian children in the present day. It is especially helpful for them to read books written by Native writers. This reinforces the objective of the lesson: to illustrate to students that Native Americans are present in modern day American society. An extensive list can be found on this collection of resources compiled and updated by the lesson author.
- Invite students to write to publishers, asking for fictionalized works about Native American children in modern day settings. Consider using elements of the ReadWriteThink lesson Dear Librarian: Writing a Persuasive Letter as part of this process.
- Ask students to write an essay comparing the portrayal of a particular aspect of Native American culture in two different books or a book and a Website. Use the Comparison and Contrast Guide to introduce the aspects of comparison and contrast to students. Have students sketch out the details of their comparisons using the Compare and Contrast Map. Alternately, you can use the Teaching the Compare and Contrast Essay through Modeling lesson plan to model the writing process for students.
- Observe student interactions as they communicate with each other as they go through the activities.
- Engage students in conversations about what they have learned through this lesson, using the Reflection Questions as a guide or written activity.