TeachersFirst's Native Americans Resources

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This editor's choice collection of reviewed resources from TeachersFirst is selected to help teachers and students learn about the rich heritage and legacy of Native Americans and to plan projects and classroom activities so students can explore the contributions and experiences of the native nations of North and South America.  Whether you spend one class exploring these resources or plan an entire unit on Native Americans, the ideas included in the "In the Classroom" portion of reviews will launch discussions and projects your students will not forget.

Click here to see our complete listing of resources tagged Native Americans.

 

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The Ancestral Pueblo People - National Park Service

Grades
6 to 10
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Discover a wealth of information about the Bandelier National Monument, the Pueblo people in New Mexico and their historical significance beginning 15,000 years ago. Gorgeous pictures...more
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Discover a wealth of information about the Bandelier National Monument, the Pueblo people in New Mexico and their historical significance beginning 15,000 years ago. Gorgeous pictures bring the history of the Pueblo people to life in screens with short, informative pieces to read. After an introduction, there are interactive tasks to complete. For example, learn about building materials or gardening practices and, after reading brief passages, get to choose the correct materials to complete the picture.

tag(s): archeology (32), geology (81), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Assign this activity in pairs when studying native Americans. The interactive activity would work well at a learning station or in a computer lab. The activity takes about 20 minutes. The student challenges teach about the Ancestral Pueblo people and how they adapted to their harsh environment. The text portions might be challenging. Pair weak readers with a strong reader. Allow your ESL/ELL students to try using Sound Gecko, reviewed here, a text to speech program, that will allow these students to follow the text as the article or passage is read to them.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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Edward S. Curtis's The North American Indian - Northwestern University

Grades
9 to 12
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Between 1909 and 1930, photographer Edward Curtis set out to document the life and culture of the North American Indians, and this site shares his work. Like so many of ...more
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Between 1909 and 1930, photographer Edward Curtis set out to document the life and culture of the North American Indians, and this site shares his work. Like so many of his time, he viewed Native Americans as a "primitive" race of people whose customs were a source of curiosity. As westward expansion began to destroy the culture of indigenous people, Curtis wanted to record, through photographs and narratives, what he believed was a savage and mysterious world before it disappeared. While Curtis' work represented the popular viewpoint of his time, today we recognize that it is, at best, the impressions of someone who neither understood nor particularly valued what he was recording. This digital reproduction of the entire project needs to be carefully previewed and introduced so that we don't perpetuate this way of viewing Native American life. In fact, some of the images of the ceremonial life were never intended to be seen by "outsiders," and their use today is controversial. The site does a good job of setting the context for the use of Curtis's work and helps establish respectful boundaries.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

We have come a long way from the study of Native Americans as a single generic group. Careful use of the images and narratives from Curtis' work can help illustrate that outdated mindset and provide a contrast to today's understanding of the contributions indigenous Americans have made to US history and culture. Share these images on your interactive whiteboard or projector as part of a guided discussion.

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Seminole Tribune - Seminole Tribune of Florida

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4 to 12
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Published monthly, The Seminole Tribune of Florida is the official newspaper of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Current issues and archives are available via PDF download. Click...more
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Published monthly, The Seminole Tribune of Florida is the official newspaper of the Seminole Tribe of Florida. Current issues and archives are available via PDF download. Click on the appropriate tab on the left. You can also read the history of the tribe and view a timeline. The cultural information includes art, basketry, beadwork, housing, clans, language, legends, green corn dance, food and recipes, and clothing. Read an explanation about the current government within the tribe. Florida Seminole Tourism offers information for events and places to visit. Note: You do not need to subscribe to use this site. Simply click to view Current Issue or Archives.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): civil rights (117), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), myths and legends (25), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Use this site to study the Seminoles as part of a unit on Native Americans. Have students compare and contrast to the Native Americans within your own state or region. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here). Use this as a resource when discussing civil rights. In language arts class, use it to explore legends.
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Carlisle Indian Industrial School - Dickinson College

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6 to 12
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Discover the controversial legacy of the Indian School. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the US Government encouraged the establishment of so-called Industrial Schools...more
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Discover the controversial legacy of the Indian School. In the last quarter of the nineteenth century, the US Government encouraged the establishment of so-called Industrial Schools designed to "civilize" Native American children and prepare them for careers outside the reservations and within white society. Today the legacy of these schools remains controversial: did they provide children with useful skills, or were they a form of ethnic cleansing that robbed them of their culture and heritage? The Carlisle Indian Industrial School is probably best known for being the home of internationally renowned athlete Jim Thorpe, but it is also part of the family history of many Native Americans today whose ancestors attended the Pennsylvania school. Dickinson College maintains this digital archive of student records, images and special collections for use by relatives of former students and by scholars doing research on the legacy of the Indian Industrial Schools. Search by student name, by nation, or within collections of school publications and other documents. The archive is an ongoing project and will continue to grow.

tag(s): colonial america (107), cross cultural understanding (115), history day (23), native americans (78), westward expansion (29)

In the Classroom

Too often US history survey classes broadly consider Native Americans and their role in the original colonization of North America, or their role in Westward Expansion, without taking the time to understand the differences among nations, or the impact of European settlement on these pre-existing societies. Even if there isn't time for in depth study, consider asking students to study the individual record of one young man or woman approximately their own age who attended the Carlisle Indian School. How old was he when he left home? What skill was she trained in? What happened to him after he left Carlisle? Have students use Fakebook (reviewed here) to create a "fake" page similar in style to Facebook about the individual they researched. This personal contact with the real life of another student from another time and another culture will reduce the tendency to stereotype Native Americans as they so often are during the study of US History. Of course, the site is also a wonderful resource for in depth research such as a National History Day project.
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Ah-Tah-Thi-Ki Museum - 2012 Seminole Tribe of Florida

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2 to 10
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The Seminole Tribe of Florida's Ah-TAh-THI-Ki is a place to learn about Seminoles and a place to remember. The museum showcases over 30,000 unique artifacts. Even though the website...more
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The Seminole Tribe of Florida's Ah-TAh-THI-Ki is a place to learn about Seminoles and a place to remember. The museum showcases over 30,000 unique artifacts. Even though the website includes information about visiting the actual museum, there is much to explore without ever going there. Find podcasts of oral history about alligator wrestling, patchwork, beadwork, dolls, Civil Rights, Brighton Day School, and tribal leaders. The Online Connections Collection features 2,500 books and periodicals.
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tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Explore the Seminole Tribe through the online collections and museums. Use the sources as primary and secondary to supplement other class materials. Use the Seminole Tribe to compare and contrast the native American tribes found in your area. Explore the Seminole Tribe in your unit on Civil Rights. Use this site to discover the leadership that lead to the Seminole Tribe of today. Be sure to begin your study with an anticipation guide. End your unit with a post assessment dispelling the myths in the anticipation guide.
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U. S. History Images - Karen J. Hatzigeorgiou

Grades
7 to 12
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U.S. History Images is a large site of Public Domain images beginning with Native Americans up to the Civil War. Choose from categories offered to locate images within the different...more
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U.S. History Images is a large site of Public Domain images beginning with Native Americans up to the Civil War. Choose from categories offered to locate images within the different choices. For specific searches, use the search bar or site map to locate content. Be sure to view the Terms of Use for understanding of proper use of images.
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tag(s): 1800s (44), american revolution (86), civil war (145), colonial america (107), colonization (16), emancipation proclamation (12), images (266), industrial revolution (25), industrialization (15), lincoln (86), native americans (78), pioneers (8), states (162), transportation (40), washington (36)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site to share during classroom lessons on your projector or interactive whiteboard. Share with students as a place to explore and to "get the picture" of early events in American History. As an alternative to a traditional report, create a newspaper using a site such as Zinepal (reviewed here) to report on Civil War events. Click to "Start with a blank e-Book." This site is a wonderful source for students to find raw materials for multimedia projects in general. Be sure to provide a mini lesson on how to cite their image sources!

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America in Class - The National Humanities Center

Grades
5 to 12
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Discover American History lessons correlated to Common Core reading and social studies literacy standards, especially those that require close reading and evidence. The goal of these...more
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Discover American History lessons correlated to Common Core reading and social studies literacy standards, especially those that require close reading and evidence. The goal of these lessons is to use primary resources, background information, and the analytical strategies suggested to meet the Common Core standards. In addition to these outstanding American History lessons, also find free online seminars and secondary sources. The secondary sources, under TeacherServe, include essays on topics in American literature and history.

tag(s): abolition (7), american revolution (86), civil war (145), colonial america (107), colonization (16), democracy (12), native americans (78), primary sources (86), slavery (72), women (101)

In the Classroom

Use your interactive whiteboard or projector to help your class learn the background information and read the material through once. Work through the lesson together; then consider assigning groups of four students to go through the readings again, discovering the answers to the essential questions. Have students post the group's answers on a back channel chat program such as Today's Meet reviewed here so all groups can see all answers. Where answers differ, have students go back into the reading and cite evidence to support their answer on Today's Meet for all to see.

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Timelines.TV - Timelines.TV

Grades
6 to 12
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This British site marries the interactive timeline with the video clip to create a historical resource that has a strong visual impact. Although the focus is on British history, there...more
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This British site marries the interactive timeline with the video clip to create a historical resource that has a strong visual impact. Although the focus is on British history, there are also timelines focused on the American West, and the history of pandemic smallpox. A number of the British timelines have applications for the study of world history: Shakespeare, the Industrial Revolution, Women's Suffrage, and more. Access a timeline and then view short video clips designed to explain or enrich your understanding of events or trends along the line. There is a message board. At the time of this review, all content was appropriate. However, you may want to preview that area or advise your students to steer clear of the message boards.

tag(s): diseases (66), gold rush (19), great britain (16), industrial revolution (25), native americans (78), shakespeare (131), timelines (62), westward expansion (29), womens suffrage (26)

In the Classroom

Timeline.TV is tailor made for classrooms with interactive whiteboards (or projectors). The video clips generally run between five and ten minutes, so are a perfect reinforcement for classroom lecture or for outside reading. If you are running a "flipped" classroom, ask students to access the timelines at home, knowing that the presentations will help expand understanding of concepts to be discussed in class. There is also a mobile and tablet version of this resource. Challenge cooperative learning groups to create their own timelines on a topic not highlighted at this site. Use a tool such as Capzles (reviewed here).
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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Navajo Code Talkers - Navajo Code Talkers Foundation

Grades
6 to 12
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The Navajo Code Talkers Foundation site tells the story of young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of World War II. Their unbreakable code played...more
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The Navajo Code Talkers Foundation site tells the story of young Navajo men who transmitted secret communications on the battlefields of World War II. Their unbreakable code played a pivotal role in saving countless lives and hastening the war's end. Choose the link to the "Code Talkers" to read their story from beginning, through the battles, and coming home. Learn more about the code in that portion of the site by scrolling over words to view the translation and understand more about the only unbroken code in modern military history. Meet four of the code talkers through their bio and photos available on the site.
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tag(s): native americans (78), world war 2 (142)

In the Classroom

Share this site with your students on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) during your World War II unit or a unit on Native Americans. This would be a great link to share during Native American Heritage Month. Use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of the Code Talkers vs other World War II battle units or cryptographers.
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Native Voices: Native Peoples' Concepts of Health and Illness - U. S. National Library of Health and Medicine

Grades
4 to 12
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Native Voices takes an extensive look at Native Peoples' health and beliefs through several different media approaches. Begin with a video introductory message from the Director of...more
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Native Voices takes an extensive look at Native Peoples' health and beliefs through several different media approaches. Begin with a video introductory message from the Director of the National Library of Medicine. The video explains content on the site and the background of the exhibition. Watch interviews of health professionals, healers, and other community leaders organized by theme, name, or region. An extensive timeline highlights key events searchable by time period, tribe, or keyword. The resources area provides links to lessons, online activities, suggested reading, and more. Explore the exhibition to view Native American art and stories about healing. This site is a must-visit for anyone interested in learning more about Native American's beliefs in regard to health and healing.

tag(s): cross cultural understanding (115), medicine (67), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Bookmark and save this site as a resource for Native American, American History, health, and other units. View videos on your interactive whiteboard (or projector) together. Have groups of students view videos on individual tribes, then challenge students to create a newspaper article using the Newspaper Clipping Generator or use an online tool such as Interactive Two Circle Venn Diagram (reviewed here) to create a visual comparison of tribal beliefs-- or perhaps comparing with "mainstream" beliefs in their own culture.
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Four Directions Teaching - 4D Interactive Inc.

Grades
5 to 12
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A Canadian site focused on five "first nations" central to Canada's history, Four Directions Teaching, uses Flash technology to create a visually beautiful site about the Blackfoot,...more
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A Canadian site focused on five "first nations" central to Canada's history, Four Directions Teaching, uses Flash technology to create a visually beautiful site about the Blackfoot, Cree, Ojibwe, Mohawk, and Mi'kmaq tribes. There are also extensive teacher resources, sorted by challenge level, to download, a photo collection, audio narration, and printables. These resources are appropriate not only for use by Canadians, but also for understanding the development of Native American culture throughout North America. (The Native Americans preceded any national boundaries!). Technical notes point out that you need to allow pop=ups from this site.

tag(s): canada (30), cross cultural understanding (115), cultures (105), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

The series of animated mini lessons are perfect for use on an interactive whiteboard (or projector) and help anchor the learning activities available for download. They could also be used as stand-alone resources to complement lessons you have designed. You might choose to look at creation myths across the various tribes or how each culture constructed shelters or conducted ceremonies. These themes make the lessons useful even for those not studying specifically Canadian history. Have students make a multimedia presentation on a chosen topic using one of the many TeachersFirst Edge tools reviewed here.
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American Indian/Alaskan Native Book List - Talk Story

Grades
K to 12
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young...more
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Search this list for children's books about American Indians and Alaskans. Choose from a wide range of selections: Picture Books, Elementary School Books, Middle School Books, Young Adult Books, and Additional Resources. Learn tips about how to select the best books for your needs. If you are interested in similar book lists, TeachersFirst's CurriConnects found here offers several other curriculum-related, leveled booklists.

tag(s): alaska (25), cross cultural understanding (115), independent reading (128), native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Encourage students to select books about a culture that interests them. Include this list during a multicultural unit. Have students create an online book of images and captions about their target culture using bookr (reviewed here). (Bookr uses Flickr images, so you must first upload or find the images on Flickr reviewed here.)
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American Indian Response to Environmental Changes - National Museum of the American Indian

Grades
4 to 12
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. Through videos and primary sources, you can explore these four...more
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This site documents how four Native American communities are responding to changes in the environment where they live. Through videos and primary sources, you can explore these four Native American cultures. Each tribe's section is broken down into the following areas: Getting Started, Meet the People, About Our Homeland, Our Environmental Challenge, Our Strategies, and Our Future.

tag(s): environment (317), native americans (78), natural resources (59)

In the Classroom

Project this site on an interactive whiteboard and watch the videos on each of the tribes. If you have laptops available, have students navigate on their own. Have the class take the included interactive quizzes to see what they've learned. Group students and have each group read about a different tribe. Then using the online story project planner, have students create a presentation about their tribe that can be uploaded to the site. Be sure to visit the teacher area for lesson plans, links and other resources.
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ArtsEdge - Kennedy Center

Grades
K to 12
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by ...more
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This site, created by the Kennedy Center offers a wealth of interactive lesson plans for grades K-12 dealing with a variety of topics, all with an "arts" spin. Search by subject, keyword, or grade level (K-4, 5-8, or 9-12). Some examples of topics include Native Americans, Civil War, Shakespeare, myths, melodrama, adjectives, baseball, and countless others! There are many interactive lessons: some with video, audio, or slideshows. The lessons provide an estimate of time required and complete, step-by-step instructions. There are printables included with some of the lessons.
This site includes advertising.

tag(s): african american (113), baseball (36), civil war (145), comics and cartoons (74), dance (28), folktales (65), greece (26), habitats (84), immigration (58), literature (275), mexico (34), musical instruments (48), myths and legends (25), native americans (78), painting (66), surrealism (4)

In the Classroom

Search this site for a topic that you are teaching in your class. Share the lesson on your interactive whiteboard or projector. Better yet, make the video or slideshow a learning station for students to do themselves in small groups.
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Virtual Jamestown - Virtual Jamestown

Grades
6 to 12
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In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, this site offers a terrific set of resources on the Jamestown colony. Click on the map on this home ...more
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In commemoration of the 400th anniversary of the founding of Jamestown, this site offers a terrific set of resources on the Jamestown colony. Click on the map on this home page to see all the offerings. There are lesson plans, videos, animations, and searchable documents. A searchable database of indentured servant records brings students closer to the lives of real people who lived in early American colonies. A virtual view of the fort at Jamestown has much greater impact than a picture in a book, and it allows you to feel as though you are really there. One section of the site is devoted to the Native American perspective on the settlement of Jamestown; listen to Chesapeake Indians. Some of the other activities include viewing John Smith's voyage maps, browsing through real records of the Virginia Company at Jamestown, and reading the actual letters of major colonization participants from the latter 1500s and early 1600s. This site intends to be the one-stop shop for authentic Jamestown research.

tag(s): colonial america (107), colonization (16), india (36), jamestown (11)

In the Classroom

Spend a few minutes at this site, and you will be swept away to life on the James River 400 years ago. The zoomable maps and rotating views of Jamestown artifacts would be effective on an interactive whiteboard or projector. Plan a day to explore together or with partners to find out specifics about the colony. You will need to scroll down to the bottom of the main page and click on "Teaching Materials" to find several wonderful lesson plans on Jamestown. For teachers who want to bring authentic, first-hand accounts and records into the classroom, this site provides a wealth of actual documentation. We strongly suggest you use the Site Index to get the extensive view of this website's offerings.
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The Listening Doll - Joyce Payne

Grades
K to 4
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Students discuss the process of storytelling and listening to stories. Then, they create a listening doll in the tradition of the Native American storyteller dolls.The lesson is in...more
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Students discuss the process of storytelling and listening to stories. Then, they create a listening doll in the tradition of the Native American storyteller dolls.The lesson is in 2 45-minute segments. The students will learn about Native American storyteller dolls, create their own image of a person listening to a story, discuss and assess the various listening dolls created by the class.

tag(s): native americans (78)

In the Classroom

Some arts & crafts materials are needed for these lessons. This would be a great option to accompany the study of Native Americans in an elementary classroo, drawing in your language arts time for story writing and telling.

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Race Bridges for Schools - Race Bridges for Schools

Grades
3 to 12
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This is a teacher and professional resource containing lesson plans and links for promoting diversity and addressing racial divides. This site contains excellent lesson plans on diversity,...more
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This is a teacher and professional resource containing lesson plans and links for promoting diversity and addressing racial divides. This site contains excellent lesson plans on diversity, discrimination, multiculturalism, and tolerance. Each plan focuses on a person or event of a specific racial group, or a problem common to all multicultural groups. The plans do not specify a grade level, though many could be adapted for use from middle elementary level to high school. From Japanese internment to celebrating Thanksgiving in an American school, the plans and activities are excellent, varied, and fresh. The lesson plans are VERY detailed and provide objectives, but no correlation to standards. Many of the individual stories are available in MP3 format. You can listen to the stories using Windows Media Player or on any MP3 player, as well. Some of the lesson plans require Adobe Acrobat. You can get both from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): black history (59), diversity (36), native americans (78), racism (18)

In the Classroom

Use the lesson plans that are relevant to your class as you study different cultures, history, racial tensions in the U.S. , or even character education. Share the stories on your interactive whiteboard or projector. With older students, have cooperative learning groups explore different lessons. Have the groups create a multi-media presentation sharing their discoveries. Have the groups create an online book using a tool such as Bookemon . You could also use this site as the core of a contemporary topics debate series.
 This resource requires PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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NMAI: Identity by Design - Smithsonian

Grades
6 to 12
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native...more
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From the National Museum of the American Indian, this online exhibit is subtitled "Tradition, Change and Celebration in Native Women's Dresses." The exhibit uses 19th century Native women's clothing as insight into Native American culture of the time period, and features stunning photographs of Native dresses and commentary by present-day Native women. The site both describes the ways Native women made their clothing in the 19th century and the ways that clothing can give us important clues about the role of women in Native society. Of interest also are the ways clothing began to reflect the influence of the dominant white culture on traditional Native practices. The site also includes information about today's Native Powwow dance competitions which bridge the distance between traditional culture and the modern world, and bring 19th century Native women's clothing and costume into the 21st century. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. This site requires Flash. You can get it from the TeachersFirst Toolbox page.

tag(s): clothing (9), native americans (78), women (101)

In the Classroom

Traditionally, American history has been taught as the story of the dominant European culture's triumph over more primitive Native cultures. Native American culture is too often pictured as one-dimensional rather than as a rich collection of diverse tribes and cultures. If Native women are featured at all, they may be represented only by Pocahontas and Sacajawea. This site allows a fuller exploration of the variety of Native women's cultures and would serve as an outstanding supplement to a study of the European settlement of the West. The photographs of the women's dresses are lovely and would display nicely on an interactive whiteboard or projector. The commentary would be useful for any student doing more in-depth research into Native culture. The site's focus on women's roles and culture would also fit nicely with a unit on women's history. The Resources link contains lesson plans and educational material. To extend the clothing-as -culture approach in your classroom, ask students to create a wiki showing the role of clothing in ethnic subcultures of the U.S. today or at other places and times. Middle school grades might want to work together with the art or FCS teachers on this.
  This resource requires Adobe Flash and PDF reader software like Adobe Acrobat.

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First American Art - Smithsonian

Grades
9 to 12
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This newly released site includes scores of examples of Native American art from a wide variety of tribes and periods. Organized into general themes, there's not a lot of description...more
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This newly released site includes scores of examples of Native American art from a wide variety of tribes and periods. Organized into general themes, there's not a lot of description of each item beyond the time and place of its creation. As a whole, however, the site shows a marvelous overview of the ways in which Native Americans integrated their art with their lives

tag(s): clothing (9), crafts (41)

In the Classroom

Use this site as a learning center or station during a unit on on Native American culture. Separate students into cooperative learning groups, allowing them to explore the site on classroom computers. Based on what they have observed in the site, have students summarize their findings in a presentation format. Have students create a multimedia presentation using UtellStory, reviewed here. This site allows users to narrate a picture. Challenge students to find a photo (legally permitted to be reproduced), and then narrate the photo of some aspect of Native American art as if it is a news report. To find Creative Commons images for student projects (with credit, of course), try Compfight, reviewed here.
 This resource requires Adobe Flash.

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American Indian FAQ's for Kids

Grades
4 to 7
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to many questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans. Design a simple scavenger hunt around...more
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Although this informational site is heavy on text, it is filled with answers to many questions that kids typically ask about Native Americans. Design a simple scavenger hunt around the site, or use as a reference for student research. Easy-to-navigate Q & A format.

tag(s): cultures (105), india (36), native americans (78)

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