Unterrichtsentwurf für den Englischunterricht: Storyline 'Indians' - Class 3/4


Lesson Plan, 2004
74 Pages, Grade: 1,0

Excerpt

CONTENTS

1. Background Information about the Topic
1.1. Native Americans
1.2. Three Major Native American Cultures
1.2.1. The Prairie and Plains Indians
1.2.2. The Forest Indians
1.2.3. The Pueblo-Indians
1.3. Common Features of Native American Cultures
1.3.1. A Creative and Imaginative Way of Living
1.3.2. Manitou, Beliefs and Ceremonies
1.3.3. Smoking as a Ritual
1.3.4. Medicine Men
1.3.5. Indian Names
1.3.6. The Role of Women

2. Didactic Considerations
2.1. Relation to the Curriculum
2.2. Relation to the Children’s Lives
2.3. Learning Objectives
2.3.1. Intercultural Competence
2.3.2. Content Objectives/ Regional Studies
2.3.3. Language Objectives
2.3.4. Language Learning Strategies
2.3.5. Social Competence

3. Methodical Design – Teacher’s Notes
3.1. EPISODE 1: Indian Tribes & Indian Homes
3.2. EPISODE 2: The Characters
3.3. EPISODE 3: The Thunderstorm
3.4. EPISODE 4: The Trade and a Message from Manitou
3.5. EPISODE 5: A Festival for Manitou

4. BIBLIOGRAPHY (Topic Indians)

5. Topic Plan

6. APPENDIX

1. Background Information about the Topic

1.1. Native Americans

The content of[1] the following Storyline project conceived around the topic Indians respectively Native Americans[2] is aimed to introduce children into Native American culture. In the context of regional studies the children are acquainted with various interesting aspects of Indian lives, of their habits and living conditions. Although in primary English a detailed discussion and reflection on the dramatic historical and contemporary Native American problems (the conflict with the ‘White Man’, the life in reservations, the danger of ‘cultural extinction’ etc.) is hardly possible, the occupation with more ‘positive’ aspects of the topic may provide a more realistic image of Native American culture than offered by commercial media thus making a first decisive step to counter the arising of rigid, prejudiced, stereotype-based attitudes that even a majority of adults have today.

The widespread stereotypical image of ‘Indians’ in movies (e.g. Winnetou), books or comics is an exaggerated portrayal of the so called Prairie and Plains Indians. However, there were other cultures and over 500 different tribes living together on the huge continent. The focus of this project is on three major Indian cultures: The Prairie and Plains Indians, the Forest Indians, and the Pueblo Indians.

1.2. Three Major Native American Cultures

1.2.1. The Prairie and Plains Indians

The Prairie and Plains Indian tribes, for example the Apache, Cheyenne, Blackfoot, Sioux, Comanche, Pawnee or the Kiowa, lived in the half-dry grassland in the heart of North America, an area called the Prairie and the Plains. As homes they had ‘tents’ made of wooden sticks and bison hides - the tepees. Quickly to be put up and taken down, tepees were a very suitable way of housing for the Prairie Indians, who regularly had to follow the bison herds.

For bison hunting the Prairie and Plains Indians either crept to the animals disguised as wolves or chased them on horses brought to North America by the Spanish in the 16th century. Bison served as the main source for almost everything: food, clothes, weapons, and things for the household. The Prairie Indians made more than 80 products out of dead bison: They used the leather for tepees, belts, clothes, bags music instruments and other accessories. The fur served as blankets, and the horns as jewellery, cups or spoons. They made bones to knives, arrow-heads, sewing needles and scrapers. Bison hair were plaited to baskets and belts, or they decorated clubs and tepees. The stomach was used as a bucket, the rough side of the bison tongue as a hairbrush, and the tail to wave away the flies. Even the dung was collected and dried to serve as fuel for the fire.

Bison are often falsely denoted as (American) buffaloes. Although a very slight similarity may be admitted, buffaloes differ from bison in appearance, species and location[3] . In combination with the respective pictures, this distinction may be noteworthy for the children as well, if they are, for instance, used to the term buffalo in connection with Indians thus being irritated by the term bison, and/ or if the children are interested in it.

Apart from bison, the Prairie Indians haunted also deer, grew corn and beans along the rivers and gathered several plants and fruits.

The Prairie Indians are further well-known for their grand feather head decorations made of eagle feathers, and their costumes.

1.2.2. The Forest Indians

The Forest Indians were located in the northeast (around the Great Lakes) and southeast of the continent. The most well-known tribes are the Cherokee, Mahican (Mohikaner), Seminole, Huron and the Irokesen[4], who are famous for their hairstyle. Before the arrival of the Europeans the east was covered with forest representing an environment for diverse ways of living. On contrary to the Prairie and Plains Indians they were settled and lived in so-called longhouses (up to 25 meters long!) made of wood and bark. In one longhouse 5 to 20 families could live.

Wood was not the only benefit of the forest. The Forest Indians could also hunt deer, rabbits and bears, they caught fish, gathered herbs, mushrooms and different berries, and grew corn, pumpkins and beans. Around the Great Lakes the women reaped water rice.

1.2.3. The Pueblo-Indians

Living in the southwest of North America the Pueblo Indians had to cope with a hot and dry climate. The main part of this area is a plateau of 2000 meters height, characterised by deep canyons engraved by rivers as the Colorado. Only few plants and trees grow on the plateau. Notwithstanding the Pueblo Indians, who had a highly developed culture, managed to live in such a difficult environment. Their name Pueblo comes from the Spanish and means village. As Spanish invaders came to America they discovered that tribes such as the Hopi, the Zuni, the Navajo lived in whole villages constituted of multi-storey stone and loam houses. The different storeys were connected by leaders.

Besides hunting, farming and gathering they kept sheep and horses. Similarly to all other Indian cultures, one of their most important plant was corn. The Pueblo Indians, however, invented a delicacy: popcorn. Placed on hot stones to dry the corn burst with a loud ‘pop’ and could be eaten straight away.

The Pueblo Indians are also famous for their handicraft work, particularly the woven blankets with symbolic patterns, diverse pottery, and their silver jewellery with turquoises.

1.3. Common Features of Native American Cultures

1.3.1. A Creative and Imaginative Way of Living

Although very distinct in many aspects, Native American tribes shared some general common, or at least similar, characteristics and habits. In fact, it may be claimed that they all were extremely creative, inventive and imaginative in many ways of their lives[5]. Apart from various ways of gaining, processing and consuming food they were creative as regards their clothes, daily objects and handicrafts, as well as their communication: They knew different types of spoken languages (there are hundreds of them), picture languages (mostly painted on leather), sign languages (with hands), further symbols and signals (smoke signal, light signal with mirrors and sunlight, symbols on clothes, blankets, body painting etc.).

1.3.2. Manitou, Beliefs and Ceremonies

Indians believed in an overall power immanent to all things around them that was responsible for life and death, for growth and development, and for all natural spectacles and catastrophes. They called this power of nature Manitou. Contradictory to Indian religion and philosophy Christian influence lead to the monotheistic idea of Manitou being one single omnipotent creature. At least, however, Indians believed in (good and bad) spirits. Widespread was for instance the belief in personal protective spirits which was very strong in the case of medicine men. In this context, through sacrifice the tribes tried to soothe evil spirits and too strong Manitou powers, for instance lightning and thunder, that could endanger them. Apart from that they regularly celebrated various feasts with ceremonies, holy rituals, a lot of decoration, music, singing and dancing. Thus they wanted to renew and combine the sky and the earth with all its living creatures, to gain new life power believing that human beings are a part of nature and live in unity with ‘Mother Earth’, with all plants and animals.

1.3.3. Smoking as a Ritual

Smoking tobacco was quite common among the Native American population. It also represented a kind of ceremony. One belief was that the smoke joined human beings with the sun and the entire cosmos. Smoking as a holy ritual was always coupled to a message from the spirits: Medicine men smoked the pipe to heal the ill, chieftains for a successful hunt, and family fathers to adopt a child. The delivery of a red-painted pipe to another tribe meant the declaration of war. If two tribes wanted to make peace, they smoked a blue-painted peace pipe.

1.3.4. Medicine Men

Medicine men had, apart from the chieftains, an outstanding position in every tribe. Their main function of healing ill people was usually coupled to a whole ceremony. They danced, sang, and played the drums until they fell into trance thus being able to ‘ask the spirits for help’. Some wore special masks, others made large pictures out of coloured sand on the floor on which the ill person had to sit to attain direct contact to the healing spirits. Indians believed that as the medicine men were able to ‘contact’ the holy spirits, they received also other messages than about healing and could foresee future events. Having a very strong protective spirit they could even perform unusual acts such as lure deer or influence the weather.

1.3.5. Indian Names

The names of Indians differ from those of Western civilisations. In their translations from Indian languages into English (or German and other languages) they are often composed of two or more words denoting a characteristic or ability of a person, an important event or a dream. Indian names could change several times in the course of the life, if something important or extraordinary happened.

1.3.6. The Role of Women

Many people may be convinced of Native Americans living in patriarchal communities. In fact, women had an important function and a high standing that no male tribe member was allowed to judge upon. Female opinions were listened to, respected and considered. They often were in charge of their own belongings, and were even involved in political decisions. Men were not allowed to begin a war without the consent of the women. A mother could even forbid her son to participate in a war procession. Whereas men went hunting or had to clear a forest, women were responsible for the household and farming, for sowing and harvest, and for all food supplies. With regard to child education and handicraft work both genders were involved. In some Pueblo tribes, even, weaving was a mere male activity.

2. Didactic Considerations

2.1. Relation to the Curriculum

The Storyline unit on hand has been designed under the predetermined condition that the entire topic had to be related to ‘regional studies’. Topics of regional studies, however, are not explicitly listed in the curricular plan for primary schools, neither in the old[6] nor in the new[7] one. Therefore the difficulty was not that much to choose one of the topics given in the curriculum rather than to really personally find or think of a theme, coupled – of course – to the condition of inventing an interesting story around it. The previous curriculum (respectively the addendum regarding foreign language teaching, 2001) states in its introductory chapter:

Inhaltliche Informationen über das Zielsprachenland erhalten die Kinder in den entsprechenden Themenkreisen und in Projekten und vorhaben, die zum Teil vergleichend die Kultur des Muttersprachenlandes und des Zielsprachenlandes beschreiben. [...] Darüber hinaus sollen - wenn immer möglich – historische und gegenwärtige Zusammenhänge aus europäischer Perspektive aufgegriffen werden, um so die Gemeinsamkeiten in der Vielfalt aufzuzeigen (z.B. Klimatische Bedingungen beim Thema „Wetter“, Siedlungsformen, [...] etc). (2001, p. 13).

Hence, not the topic itself is intended to represent the regional studies but regional aspects of the countries of the target language are to be integrated into various overall themes. With regard to the condition of the whole topic to be landeskundlich, it may nevertheless argued that Native American/ Indian culture is both a historically and contemporarily relevant part of North American culture that, in a playful and sensitive way, may be already conveyed to children.

The very recent curriculum (2004) uses an even broader formulation:

Die Begegnung mit kultureller Vielfalt regt zur Aufgeschlossenheit gegenüber anderen Kulturen an und ermutigt zugleich zur Reflexion über eigene Erfahrungen und soziokulturelle Bedingungen. So wird interkulturelle Kompetenz aufgebaut, die [...] Empathie, Achtung und Toleranz fördert sowie einen Perspektivenwechsel ermöglicht. (2004, p. 64)

According to that it is not that much a question of what exactly is taught in regional studies, but that a connection to other cultures is established wherever and whenever it is possible. In this, respect the thematic context of Native American culture definitely promotes intercultural learning, as the children, proceeding from their own – often stereotypic – knowledge and assumptions, encounter realistic portrayals of former and present Indian ways of life thus encouraged to reflect on and possibly modify their ideas.

Within the subject area Mensch, Natur und Kultur, that should be frequently linked to foreign language teaching (2004, p. 68, 99), Native Americans/ Indians can thematically be integrated into the 3rd content area Kinder dieser Welt: sich informieren, sich verständigen, sich verstehen:

Die Schülerinnen und Schüler erkennen Besonderheiten, Unterschiede und Gemeinsamkeiten vertrauter und fremder Länder und Kulturen im eigenen Erfahrungsbereich; entdecken Spuren verschiedener Kulturen in ihrer Alltagswelt. Die Schülerinnen und Schüler können Elemente anderer Länder und Kulturen in eigene Gestaltungen einbeziehen; Rechte anderer erkennen und respektieren [...]. (2004, p. 101)

Encountering Indian culture through Storyline in a playful, sensitive way the children become acquainted with other forms and ideas of life, with distinct objects and music, and with living, feeding and clothing as a form of expression of other cultures (2004, p. 101).

Apart from the cultural aspect the theme may represent a highly stimulating and varied context to revise and practise language. With respect to the different topics listed in the curriculum the thematic unit Native Americans/ Indians concerns almost all of them for instance My body, My family and my friends, Food and drink, My clothes, The weather, Hobbies, Shopping (adapted to a trade market), Animals, That’s what I do every day, and Meeting people of different cultural background (2001, p. 40-49), thus contributing to the spiral concept of primary foreign language teaching. Therefore, the topics should be not considered as compulsory, either, but as helpful suggestions that may be handled flexibly and variably as regards their choice, order and concrete implementation: “Die in den Inhaltsteilen aufgeführten Themen sind nicht als obligatorischer Wissensbestand am Ende jeder Klasse bzw. am Ende der Grundschulzeit aufzufassen” (2001, p. 19).

The language that the children encounter lies also predominantly within the teacher’s responsibility:

Die im Weiteren aufgelisteten Redemittel stellen Beispiele (= Beispiele im Sinne von Möglichkeiten) für eine sprachliche Umsetzung dar. Sie sollen in dieser oder ähnlicher Weise im Sinne des spiralförmig angelegten Lernangebots immer wieder Gegenstand des Sprachunterrichts sein. Der vorgeschlagene Wortschatz bis Ende Klasse 4 ist weder in der Gesamtzahl der Wörter noch in der aufgelisteten Form für alle Kinder verbindlich. Der Lehrplan führt lediglich an, mit welchen möglichen Wörtern die sprachliche Arbeit erfolgreich geleistet werden kann. (2001, p. 22, originally italic type)

With regard to specific topics, the new curriculum is again even more flexible than the previous one. No pages with listed subjects and thematic units with concrete vocabulary suggestions can be found any more, except of a short paragraph that states 16 possible thematic fields postulating to relate these topics to the children’s experiences. Amongst them the Storyline about Native Americans deals – very similarly to the former curriculum - with Me and my body, Family, Friends, Animals, Hobbies, Clothes, Food and Drink, Feasts and celebrations, Meeting people from different backgrounds (2004, p. 73). In addition the thematic unit Native Americans/ Indians involves different language and communication skills stated in the new curriculum, for instance expressing likes and dislikes (particularly as a character of the story), describing people and objects, stating one’s belongings, asking for and offering something (e.g. during the ‘the trade’), and making suggestions (2004, p.79).

2.2. Relation to the Children’s Lives

Most children are fascinated by Indians. They know Indian – although very superficial and stereotypic – portrayals from films, books, comics etc., they love to play ‘Indians’ or dress up as such for carnival. Significantly, whereas many themes are characterised by an either male or female preference, both girls and boys seem to be similarly appealed by the topic Indians, which is a great advantage for the classroom. Hence the topic relates to the children’s interests, arises their motivation and curiosity, and allows them to bring in their own experiences.

2.3. Learning Objectives

2.3.1. Intercultural Competence

On the basis of their own knowledge the children first construct hypotheses about Native American culture verifying them later with real evidence thus ascertaining peculiarities, as well as distinct and common features in comparison to the own culture(s). Encouraged to reflection, empathy, openness, and tolerance towards other cultures, the children discover that in some respects their existing knowledge does not conform to the reality, for instance that not all Indians live in tepees. Hence the children have to adapt their previous knowledge according to their new findings. It is not at all necessary that they know by heart all the detailed distinct features of the single tribes and Indian cultures but that they recognise and appreciate the great variety of Native American cultures. Then they develop intercultural competence.

2.3.2. Content Objectives/ Regional Studies

The children discover

- the distinct features and peculiarities of three main Indian cultures,
- common characteristics of Native American culture as regards names, food, clothes, activities and habits, feasts, music and dance etc.
- the relevance of nature for Indian life,
- that living in accordance and harmony with nature, and handling one’s environment and its natural resources with consideration, responsibility and respect is still (or even more) relevant today.

2.3.3. Language Objectives

Lexical competence:

The revision and the learning of new vocabulary depends on the children’s own interests and contributions, and on the frequency of appearance and use during the project. In any case the children

- encounter a whole range of useful words and phrases concerning Indian names, homes, food, clothes, activities etc., also concerning the topics weather, animals, me and my body, family, friends and daily activities.
- establish lexical fields and vocabulary lists: the wordbanks
- compose Indian names,
- describe objects, people and simple situations on and with the help of the frieze,
- state their likes and dislikes about something,
- state their property
- offer and ask for something.

Communicative competence:

Storyline offers communicative situations all the time. These include

- various receptive activities and strategies to understand the language of the communication partner/ of the input: mainly through listening but also through some simple reading,
- various productive activities and strategies to make oneself understood and convey authentic information, mainly through (simple, formula-like) speaking, only little and modelled writing, and also through paralinguistic means (mimics, gestures, visuals),
- interacting with classmates (e.g. during group work) and teacher,
- presenting learning outcomes,
- participating in a role play,
- performing a ‘show’ for real visitors.

2.3.4. Language Learning Strategies

The children are able to

- construct their own hypotheses of the foreign language, compare and relate them to new findings to broaden and differentiate their own knowledge,
- ask their classmates or the teacher for help or repetition,
- use English picture dictionaries and the provided materials (books, booklets, brochures etc.) and media,
- taking simple individual notes,
- self-reflection, self-scrutiny and self-evaluation,
- work independently and self-responsibly in groups.

2.3.5. Social Competence

Social learning of cooperation, consideration and respect is firstly promoted through the topic Native Americans/ Indians whose mutual treatment was highly exemplary. Secondly, the methodology of Storyline itself fosters social learning through permanent collective work and responsibility.

3. Methodical Design – Teacher’s Notes

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3.1. EPISODE 1:Indian Tribes & Indian Homes

(Setting the scene)

Step 1: Opening / Introduction

Class organisation: Plenum

Materials: Puppets (e.g. M 1 & M 2) and props for the play (candle as fire, Indian music, joss sticks)

Time: 5 minutes

Language objectives: prior knowledge

Before you start

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Step 2: Brainstorming and developing wordbank WB 1

Class organisation: Plenum

Materials: Flipchart paper (DIN A 1), markers, tape / glue, pictures (P)

Time: 10 minutes

Language objectives: prior knowledge about Native Americans

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Step 3: Gathering information about Indians

Class organisation: Group work

Materials: Three different booklets (one booklet for each Indian culture; one booklet for each group), WS 1

Time: 15-20 minutes

Language objectives: reading and understanding

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Step 4: Brainstorming and developing wordbank WB 2

Class organisation: Plenum

Materials: Flipcharts, markers, pictures (P), three copies of North American map (M 13), coloured crayons, WS 1

Time: 10 minutes

Language objectives: presenting from ‘notes’ (WS 1)

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Step 5: Inventing tribe names and choosing the chiefs of the tribes

Class organisation: Group work

Materials: Paper cards

Time: 5 minutes

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Step 6: Creating homes and landscapes

Class organisation: Group work

Materials: Collage material (paper, crayons, glue, scissors, wood, moss, etc.)

Time: 20-30 minutes

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Step 7: Presenting homes and landscapes

Class organisation: Plenum

Materials: collages of homes and landscapes

Time: 15 minutes

Language objectives: presenting, free speech (with modelled phrases)

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3.2. EPISODE 2: The Characters

(Inventing the characters)

Before you start

illustration not visible in this excerpt

STEP 1: Introducing two model characters

Class organisation: Plenum

Materials: Two character models (M 1, M 2), blackboard

Time: 5 minutes

Language objectives: Indian names (adjectives and nouns)

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[...]


[1] Details for the background information about Native Americans was mainly drawn from Seiler, 2002.

[2] The use of either or both terms depends on the children’s understanding. Indians has a closer relation to the German expression and the children’s experiences, but is, on the other hand, coupled to several stereotypes and prejudices.

[3] Compare Brockhaus (1986), p. 315 and 398.

[4] We nowhere could find the English counterpart of the tribe’s name.

[5] A characteristic that is desirable for today’s children as well.

[6] 2001

[7] 2004

Excerpt out of 74 pages

Details

Title
Unterrichtsentwurf für den Englischunterricht: Storyline 'Indians' - Class 3/4
College
University of Education Freiburg im Breisgau
Grade
1,0
Authors
Year
2004
Pages
74
Catalog Number
V43974
ISBN (eBook)
9783638416504
ISBN (Book)
9783638597074
File size
5856 KB
Language
English
Notes
A whole project (topic "Indians", primary school) based on the Storyline Approach. All drawings: copyright by Katja Krenický
Tags
Unterrichtsentwurf, Englischunterricht, Storyline, Indians, Class
Quote paper
Katja Krenicky-Albert (Author)Katrin Morlock (Author), 2004, Unterrichtsentwurf für den Englischunterricht: Storyline 'Indians' - Class 3/4, Munich, GRIN Verlag, https://www.grin.com/document/43974

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