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Lesson Plans

Native American ideas for 4th grade

[ Thread ][ Subject ][ Author ][ Date ]
Kauai Academy of Arts (kaca)
Wed, 10 Mar 1999 13:31:24 -1000

I did a major Native American art unit with fifth graders last year to
compliment their social studies unit. We did clay pueblo houses which had
to be constructed from individual clay bricks, clay Kachina dolls, Plains
Indian parafleche portfolios out of washed brown paper bags, moccassins,
Iroquois False Face masks etc. A good resource is Brown Bag Ideas from Many
Cultures by Irene Taheda (I think). Brown bags are cheap and when washed
can look like leather.

I spoke to many Native Americans over the internet while I did this unit
and the Iroquois had a lot of problems with my doing anything with the false
face stuff. Many of these so called "art" objects (labeled as such by white
men) are sacred to the specific tribes, so use discretion. I tend to
present their art, talking about its uses in the culture while stressing the
sacred quality of the objects. Later, we make our own masks or figures. In
short, we don't try to COPY the Native work. Most kids explore the
materials with their own personality and skill and copies rarely result.

You could do a mask theme looking at masks from many tribes. Or a housing
theme looking at building some miniature models (adobe, teepee, stick
construction etc.) from different geographical areas. Even the shoes varied
from tribe to tribe. This helps the kids learn how geography and climate
influenced clothing and housing styles

The possibilities are endless.
good luck,
Deb Rosenbaum