Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Native American Graphic Organizers for Informational, Historical Fiction, and Biographies

We are currently studying Native American culture in social studies. To guide students in research and their historical fiction book clubs, I created a set of graphic organizers.

We started the unit with a "Who Were the First Americans" Prior Knowledge Questionnaire. The prior knowledge sheet has a "before research" side and an "after research side" so that students can show what they learned from researching different tribes with informational books. After completing the before research prior knowledge, I had students do a "gallery walk." Students used a chart to record similarities they noticed, questions they had about other people's comments, things they found interesting, and other thoughts they had. Our staff often uses the gallery walk strategy to learn from other grade levels and groups during professional development. It was interesting to see my students gather information from their gallery walk and actually seem to enjoy reading what thoughts other students had.

Students used the "Culture Detective" graphic organizer to research at least two tribes (we did this on two separate days). I asked students to try to choose tribes from different regions so they would learn more about the variety of cultural aspects of Native Americans. They looked for information on government, economy, geography/climate, and technology, then were able to pick 4 other topics they were interested in from a list of culture related topics. After researching two different tribes, students completed the "after research" section of their graphic organizer.

My favorite part of the graphic organizer set is the Culture Collector Logbook. Students are using these logbooks to collect evidence of culture from their historical fiction books. (We are using Guests by Michael Dorris, Dear America: Standing in the Light by Mary Pope Osbourne, and The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich). Students are looking for:

-evidence of land/location
-shelter
-beliefs
-customs
-skills children were taught/the people were good at
-traditions/ceremonies
-interactions with others (tribes, settlers, colonists)

You can get one of the graphic organizers as a FREEBIE at my tpt store.

Next week, we are going to focus on "When Cultures Meet." I created a cause-effect like graphic organizer for us to record ideas/evidence/examples of what happens when Europeans and Native Americans meet. I'm going to model this idea with Encounter by Jane Yolen and then students are going to use an enlarged version of the graphic organizer in their book club group to facilitate a discussion about what has happened in their book when the "two cultures" meet or interact with one another.


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