Materials: A sample origin myth, laptops or hard copies of origin myths, drawing paper, crayons, markers, or colored pencils.

Objectives (based on North Carolina Standard Course of Study):

  • The student will demonstrate increasing insight and reflection to print and non-print text through personal by:
    • Elaborating upon a significant past episode from the student's current perspective.
    • Projecting the student's voice in the work through reflective interpretation of relationships to people and events.
    • Writing a script for a specific audience and purpose.
  • The student will reflect and respond expressively to texts so that the audience will
    • Discover multiple perspectives in Native American folklore.
    • Investigate connections between life and literature.
    • Consider cultural or historical significance.
  • The student will demonstrate the ability to read, listen to and view a variety of increasingly complex print and non-print expressive texts appropriate to grade level and course literary focus, by:
    • Demonstrating comprehension of main idea and supporting details.
    • Summarizing key events and/or points from text.
    • Procedures:

1. Ask the students if they know any “origin myths” about a local landmark or idea, such as the school mascot. You may want to do a bit of preliminary research and bring in your own origin myth to start this conversation.

2. After a brief discussion, provide context for the time period, explaining that:

  • The first Native Americans came to the continent more than 10,000 years ago via a land bridge from Eurasia.
  • The stories we have from early Native America were passed down from generation to generation.
  • Many stories involve nature and attempt to explain natural phenomena.
  • Today, there are over 569 federally recognized tribes in 35 states, with a total membership of approximately 2.5 million (Source: Rural Assistance Center).
3. Ask students to use their laptops to visit one of the following web sites for a collection of Native American Origin Stories. If you do not have computer access for all students, you can print some of these myths and distribute them for discussion.

4. Give students a few minutes to explore these sites and find some myths that interest them.

5. Assign students to groups of 3-4. Distribute chart paper, construction paper or give students space on the chalkboard. Ask each group to choose a myth to illustrate and enact for the class. One student should be responsible for illustration while the others should be responsible for creating a script.

6. Ask each group to perform the stories for the rest of the class.

Evaluation: The performance and illustration can be graded for completion and effort.

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