Five Things to Remember When Teaching Your Native American Unit



It is fun to teach Native American history.  I teach it each  year, regardless of the grade I'm teaching.  Here are some tips to make your unit a success:

1.     Teach it with integrity.  Make sure that you are using historical accuracy.  Native American craft projects are so much fun to do, but remember that there is a rich history behind each artifact.  Totem poles are fun to create with my students.  When, however, my students understand that for Northwest Coast Native American tribes, each totem pole was created to tell a story about their family then the project becomes meaningful. The meaning also opens the project up to authentic writing ideas for students to tell their own story with their totem pole.

2.     Remember that traditions and cultural practices changed based on Region.  Native
Americans lived throughout North America, and as a result there are different languages, cultures, traditions, and religious practices.  Teach about the different regions:  The Northwest Coast, Eastern Woodlands, the Plains, and the Southwest Coast.  If you must focus on one group alone, be sure to let your students know which group of Native Americans you're studying.  Finally, do not generalize the practices of a few tribes, as being the practices of all Native Americans.


3.     Native American history is part of American history.  Incorporate ways Native Americans have contributed to our nations' success. One good example is the way our country used the Navajo language to create a secret code which helped us bring World War II to an end with victory.

4.     European colonization dramatically changed life for Native Americans.  As settlers from Europe, and eventually the US, spread throughout our country Native Americans were forced to migrate.  This part of America's history is not our finest moment, nevertheless, it is important for students to learn.



5.     Native American traditions and customs are still alive today.  Native Americans are Americans, and continue to contribute to our country each day.  Be sure to let students know this, and take the time to learn about modern day heroes with Native American lineage.

Need help planning your Native American unit?  Check out my Native American Bundle, which covers four Native American regions with fun pop up books for children to create after studying each region.  You can also purchase Native American regions of your choice individually in my TPT store.



Great Winter Center



Thanks for participating in our fun product swap.  As part of the swap, I picked out a great center activity from fellow blogger, and TPT seller Meredith Berry from Teaching with a Twist

It's called Happy Bells Homophone Match up.  My students love to write, but constantly confuse their homophones.  I've read so many papers where students write that they went to a great "sail" over the weekend, or about what they will do over Thanksgiving "brake".  When I saw Meredith's product, I knew it was a perfect center activity for my class.



After I downloaded Meredith Berry's product, I put it to work in my classroom.  My students loved the activity.  Here they are at work pairing up the homophones.




Afterwards, there were some practice sheets which I had them do to see if they really got it. 





This week, my students asked if they could do the homophone center again.  Needless to say, I happily agreed.  I introduced Meredith's second activity with the cards.  Students pulled a card and then had to correctly use the homophone in a sentence.  They liked this activity just as much.  It was definitely more challenging.  When students used the word incorrectly, I offered the word to another player.  The student with the most cards at the end was the winner. 








They had a great time, and I'm sure will request to use the cards again next week.  The next time will be student directed though, since my students now know how to use the cards two different ways.


Feel free to visit more blogs participating in our product swap.  Each blog is hosting a fun giveaway,
and it's a great opportunity to learn about other products teachers found useful in their classrooms. You can click on Meredith Berry's blog to see my product "Teaching Onomatopoeia Through Song" in action. That lesson is also on sale this week in my TPT store.

I am giving away a copy of Happy Bells Homophone Match up .  Enter using Rafflecopter below.




a Rafflecopter giveaway


Fall Fun

This year, we took our students to the farm on Halloween. We had a great time, despite wickedly cold temperatures. We studied Johnny Appleseed before we went, while learning about idioms. My students made the cutest Johnny Appleseed pop up books!
 
While we were a bit late in the season to pick apples this year, my students had a ton of fun being outdoors, and looking at the beauty that truly is nature. 

 
Next, we went to pick out pumpkins.  Everyone was able to pick a pumpkin to bring home.


Then it was time to visit the petting zoo, where they were able to hold and pet many animals.  Here we are with some pigs.

 Then it was time to bid farewell, and go back home.  Despite the cold weather, we had a great day.
 
 

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