Skip to contentContribute to ReadWriteThink / RSS / FAQs / Site Demonstrations / Contact Us / About Us



Contribute to ReadWriteThink

ReadWriteThink couldn't publish all of this great content without literacy experts to write and review for us. If you've got lessons plans, videos, activities, or other ideas you'd like to contribute, we'd love to hear from you.



Professional Development

Find the latest in professional publications, learn new techniques and strategies, and find out how you can connect with other literacy professionals.



Did You Know?

Your students can save their work with Student Interactives.

More more

HomeClassroom ResourcesLesson Plans

Lesson Plan

Native Americans Today

E-mail / Share / Print This Page / Print All Materials (Note: Handouts must be printed separately)


Native Americans Today

Grades 3 – 5
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Two 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Debbie Reese

Debbie Reese

Urbana, Illinois


National Council of Teachers of English


Student Objectives

Session One

Session Two


Student Assessment/Reflections



Students will

  • 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.

back to top


Session One

  1. Begin by writing "Native American," "American Indian," and "Indian" on the board. Introduce each term, and briefly describe its usage.

  2. Engage students in a brainstorming session during which they share all they know about Native Americans. Create lists of their comments on the board.

  3. 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.


back to top


Session Two

  1. In a computer lab or classroom, have students spend part of the session exploring the images and information at the Websites you selected.

  2. 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.

  3. Have students use the interactive Venn diagram tool to map out their findings.

back to top



  • 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.

back to top



  • 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.

back to top