Rebecca Strebel MAJESTIC SCHOOL, OGDEN, UT
4th Grade ELA : Unit #11 - Native American Tribes of Utah : Lesson #2

Creating Classroom Tribes

Objective: SWBAT work in groups or "tribes" to conduct a research project. Today students will start the research process by researching in books.
Standards: W.4.7 SL.4.1 SL.4.1a SL.4.1b SL.4.1c SL.4.1d
Subject(s): Social Studies English / Language Arts
60 minutes
1 Narrative - 0 minutes
2 Introduction of Tribes in Utah - 15 minutes

To begin our lesson today I will by reading to the students from a picture book called "The Very Frist Americans" by Cara Ashrose.  This is a great, little, easy to understand picture book that is packed with great facts about Native Americans across the US.

The goal of this book is to spark their curiosity about the tribes in Utah.  Of course I will try to assist in sparking this curiosity by posing questions like:

"I wonder which group of Native Americans the book talked about were most like the tribes from Utah?"

"I  wonder what the Native Americans in Utah lived in, ate, etc."

Ashrose, C.A. (1993). The Very First Americans. Grossett & Dunlap : New York, NY

3 Creating Classroom Tribes - 15 minutes

The students will be working together in small groups for the majority of this unit.  To make it a little more fun, we are going to create "tribes" as our groups.  I will ask each table in the class to think of which Utah tribe they would like to become for this unit.  I will write the five tribes on the board for them to choose from.  The first table to come to a consensus gets the tribe of their choice and so on.  

Once all the tribes have been decided, I will have the students come up with Native American names for themselves and we will write the name on a name tag that they will use for our entire Native American unit.  (They LOVE this part!)

 

Creating Groups
Student Grouping

We do a lot of group work in my classroom.  Not only in language arts, but also in math. Because of this, I set my classroom up into tables so that I always have groups ready to go.  I am very strategic in how I set the tables up.  I make sure that I struggling students with students who are good to help students who need it.  Often struggling students learn more from their peers than they do from me.  I mix up the tables frequently.  Especially after we complete a big project. 

4 Starting the Tribe Project - 30 minutes

After creating tribes, I will pass out the "Tribe Member Responsibilities" sheet. (I like to laminate these so that I can use them not only multiple times during the unit, but also in future years.)  I will explain to the tribes that we will be working together as tribes for a good portion of this unit.  Each day we will switch responsibilities within the tribe.  The tribes will be researching information on their tribe to present to the class.  They will also be retelling a tale from their tribe.  When it comes time to do the presentations, each member of the tribe becomes the tribe spokesman and needs to have a part to say.  I will then go over the Tribe Presentation Rubric with the kids.

I will then explain to the tribes their first task.  Their job today is to read through the information found in the books I checked out in the library that contain information on their tribes.  They will take good notes on their tribe using the page about their tribe in the Native American Tribes of Utah Packet.  They can take additional notes on the back of the page and I will have extra paper if needed.  

After the groups have researched information on their tribe, I will ask the tribes to have their tribe spokesman share with the class one interesting fact they learned about their tribe today.