When I plan out my school year, I always check out the state standards. I use these skills to drive my curriculum. Since I love teaching by thematic units, I use the social study standards to help build these units. I also try to find similar topics to I can teach all of my kids at once. This year, Native American themes are big in both second and fourth grade.
The first unit we studied was on The Chickasaw Indians.
The Chickasaw Indians may not sound like the most popular tribe to study, but because we live in Tennessee, it was a great tribe to start out our explorations. There are a lot of great ways to study about this tribe.
Our favorite way was to play board games.
Create a game board and make sure the cards to go along with it contain another skill, such as math.
Another fun activity is to complete a writing craftivity. You can tie it into something that relates to the tribe facts.
I love making crafts during this time of the year, but I want to relate to the unit. So, because the Chickasaw Indians favored their headdress, we created our own.
Then, to add more skill practice, we wrote about how we earned the feathers in our headdress.
You can grab all of these games, crafts, reading, and more in my Chickasaw Indian Unit.
Next up is Indigenous Settlements of Tennessee!
Indigenous Settlements is a huge 4th grade skill. In this unit we studied about the first Native Americans, the Paleo Indians. Included in the unit, we also studied about the Woodland time period. I made this packet writing heavy to practice the skill of descriptive writing.
You could use this unit to study both social studies and writing.
These make great presentations for wrapping up the unit. My kids love preforming, so after we finished this 5 paragraph essay, we read these aloud during our fall party. It’s a great way to give the kids a goal to shoot towards, and gives them a chance to publish their work. These reading passages and learning and writing activities can be found in my Indigenous Settlements of Tennessee pack.
Don’t think I forgot about those reading skills! I also made a Compare and Contrast First and Second Hand Accounts of the Same Event pack to tie in Cherokee Indian learning!
For this unit I made anchor charts for the kids to copy down in their reading journals. I also keep these charts up in their work area to provide a visual aide during the lessons.
Also, the stories that go along with this unit were written about the Cherokee tribe, so I snuck a little social studies in there as well!
And last, but not least, it’s my American Indian Legends! This was completed just in time for Thanksgiving!
In my American Indian Legend packet, I have 4 Cherokee legends to read. A big skill for second and third grade is summarizing. So, I made sure every legend had a summarizing activity to go along with it. I also added legend, myth, and fable anchor posters so the kids could see the similarities and differences of the literature. Because the stories are enriched with challenging vocabulary, I made sure to include vocabulary notebook pages.
The first thing I did with this unit was to introduce the concept of a legend.
After introducing the legend anchor poster, I think it’s a great idea to have the kids make their own poster in their journals. This will be a necessary tool for them when they work on their activities. Their poster will be a reference tool. When creating their own poster, they must write down the information, but then they can draw their own pictures or add anything else to help them remember the facts.
Then we read the first story.
We began the first summarizing activity right away!
You can get all of these activities plus more in my American Indian Legends packet.
I hope you get all the resources you need for a fun, engaging Native American unit!
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