Friday, May 21, 2010

Native American Activity Day

We finalized our Native American study this week.  I really enjoyed the group of kids that were in my class this year.  It was my first venture into teaching “older kids” (9-11).  At the beginning of the year, each student picked their official Native American name, and those are used here.  One girl, had a difficult time picking a name, so she was named by default, as you’ll see.

“Lilly White Deer” brought in an authentic Navajo rug for us all to look at.  I was amazed that both sides look exactly the same.  Anytime I make anything with fibers, the backside always looks ratty.  Obviously the Navajo are MUCH better than I!

“Lilly White Deer”, who recently relocated from Arizona,  also brought her best friend Emma to class.  Emma and “Lilly” have been friends ever since they were three years old.  They’ve both been homeschooled all their lives.  Emma still lives in Arizona, so it was a special treat to have her with us this week; and it was great to see that their friendship bridges the miles between them now.

003The class studied the Tlingit of the Northwest this week.  One very interesting fact we learned, was that they built their homes out of wood planks…what made it interesting was that they cut the planks from trees, without chopping the tree down.  Sounds like a hard, and dangerous way to go about it!

After we finished up out totem poles and potlatch masks. We moved on to our grand finale!  Homemade chocolate chip cookies and fresh picked strawberries.   I was very happy to see that the berries were devoured faster than the cookies.  Pictured below are “Wise Owl”, “Swift Hawk” and “Girl with No Name”.

002I asked for volunteers to give a presentation (for Emma’s benefit) on various tribes we’ve studied over the year.   I was thrilled (and STUNNED) that 3 of the boys volunteered.   I’m guessing that Emma’s presence had something to do with their eagerness!

“Dying Mule” was the first to volunteer (and the biggest shock for me).   He read the story he wrote about being an Inuit and living in an igloo. 


“Roaring Bear” also shared his Inuit story.  I have to confess it was a very good story.   The names he gave to those in the story gave a lot of insight into the characters (they were none too bright!)


By far, the greatest joy came from “Wise Owl” volunteering to share his story.  “Wise Owl” is a reserved young man, who has so much to offer.  Typically, he’s not one to “put himself out there”.  So I wanted to jump up and shout when he asked if we had time for him to do his story.  My dear, we’d have stayed an extra half hour for you!


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