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Native American Project, Third Grade

Page history last edited by kay hones 11 years, 11 months ago

After extensive research on Native American history and culture, each student created an original dance.


This project combined research, social science and art.  

Library components included


1.  Information literacy: finding, using and communicating information effectively. In the final project synthesized research facts on Native American culture to create original dances.


2. Primary resources: students examined photos, maps, drawings and realia.  In final project each group included primary resources photos.


3. Graphic organizers: several lessons focused on Venn diagrams to gather and compare/contrast information.


Students worked in groups reading non-fiction articles then recording compare/contrast facts. In final projects students used Venn diagram for two animal dances.  They listed number of performers, movements, colors specific to each dance and also what characteristics dances had in common.


4. Rubrics:  Library lessons have short rubric: what we will study today.  At the end of each lesson we review what was learned. For this project students completed a "Native American Dance Checklist" that included group names, details on number of performers, costumes, colors, movements, dance order.


5.  Citation: Every time students use materials in the library, we discuss citations: title, author, publisher, publication date.  Students record citation information as they take notes from print, electronic or media sources.  In projects, students cited sources for factual information.


6. Literacy: Each library lesson includes reading, writing, listening and speaking. When teaching note taking, students are encouraged to specify "facts" or "opinions".  Additional lessons included creating poetry.  In final projects, students created original dances.  They wrote short factual descriptions of their dances.


This lesson encourages students to "think" about information they found rather than "cut and paste" facts.  For this lesson, higher level thinking skills included: using primary resources, compare and contrast using graphic organizer, drawing conclusions from data, integration of information, citing sources and student rubric. 


This lesson included the following state content standards:



3.0 Literary Response and Analysis: Students read and respond to a wide variety of significant works of children’s literature.



1.0 Writing Strategies: Students write clear and coherent sentences and paragraphs that develop a central idea. Their writing shows they consider the audience and purpose. Students progress through the stages of the writing process (e.g., prewriting, drafting, revising, editing successive versions).


Listening & Speaking

1.0 Students listen critically and respond appropriately to oral communication.


History Social Science

3.2: Students describe the American Indian nations in their local region long ago and in the recent past.



1.0 Artistic Perception: Processing, Analyzing, and Responding to Sensory Information Through the Language and Skills Unique to Dance

2.0 Creative Expression: Creating, Performing, and


Participating in Dance

3.0 Historical and Cultural Context: Understanding the Historical Contributions and Cultural Dimensions of Dance

4.0 Aesthetic Valuing: Responding to, Analyzing, and Making Judgments About Works of Dance

5.0 Connections, Relationships, Applications: Connecting and Applying What Is Learned in Dance to Learning in Other Art Forms and Subject Areas and to Careers?


The teacher developed the lesson goals, timeline and evaluation.  In meetings with the librarian, the timeline was expanded to include primary resources, project rubric and citation information.  The teacher introduced the lesson and formed collaborative groups. Working in collaborative groups, scaffolding lessons and graphic organizers were key strategies to support English language learners. Collaborative groups gave each student a specific role and a opportunity to ask questions of peers in a safe, small setting.  Students are able to use a variety of abilities such as art, drama, questioning skills, synthesizing as they work together.  Scaffold elements of the lesson included visuals, word charts developed throughout the lesson and a variety of graphic organizers.  These included a checklist, Venn diagrams and the project rubric.


Both the teacher and librarian taught lessons gathering facts from print and on line articles.  The librarian also taught lessons on primary sources, note taking and citations.  The teacher worked with students on the rubric, completing the final project and presenting original dances to the class.  The librarian displayed final written projects in the library. The teacher and the librarian evaluated the student work, discussed the lesson outcomes and plans for next year.


Faith is taking the first step, even when you don't see the whole staircase.  Martin Luther King Jr. (1929 - 1968)

I collaborate with teachers and librarians on lessons.

I can define information literacy strategies.

As my students conduct research projects, they use information literacy strategies.

I use public library and school library databases.

I use databases with students.

I use several graphic organizers in lessons.

I can define several types of primary sources.

I use primary sources in lessons with students.

My students can develop questions and techniques for interviews.

My students develop rubrics for projects and lessons.

Life itself is a quotation.  Jorge Luis Borges (1899 - 1986)


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