Sunday, December 2, 2012

Native Americans, Thanksgiving, and Countdown to Christmas

     I so meant to get this posted two weeks ago.  Better late than never, so they say...

     So before Thanksgiving, our class learned about Native Americans.  I always try to teach the Thanksgiving story from the point of view of the Native Americans as well as our classic one we all remember.  Although these are firsties and they don't need an in depth study, I still want them to maybe see past the traditional "feel good" story of that first Thanksgiving.

  And we also read about Sarah Hale, "The Woman Who Saved Thanksgiving". 

     It is always fun teaching about the natives who lived in America for thousands of years before white settlers ever found their way here.  And first graders always think the wildest stuff.  They get Christopher Columbus all confused with the Pilgrims (because we talk about him in October) and they have no concept of time.  After all, they have only been on this planet since 2006!

     So I invited my friend Bill, who is Choctaw, and his wife, Sonja to come teach our class about Choctaw customs.  I had the students prepare some questions ahead of time, and contrasted "asking" to "telling", so they wouldn't all raise their hands and tell stories about themselves.  My first graders had all kinds of questions ready.  Questions such as "Do you live in a teepee?" and "Did you know the Pilgrims?"  It was entertaining. 

     So when Bill and Sonja came to visit, they had lots of artifacts to show and interesting things to talk about :

 Did you know that if children were disrespectful to their elders, the tribe would tie the parents to a pole for a whole day?  Because it was the PARENTS' job to teach their children respect, and if the children weren't respectful, the parents were punished??!!
 This is a pouch made from a tortoise shell, used to carry medicines, etc.

                                                                  The peace pipe....

Pottery and beads

We all learned a lot and I appreciate Bill and Sonja for taking time out of their day to come share with us!  I am thankful for each little sweetie in this class and I look forward to the next three weeks, which are chock full of activities...

Soon to come...Gingerbread houses, Pete the Cat auditions, "Mooseltoe", and Christmas Around the World festivities!  I love December!  (Hopefully, I will have it all posted before January!)

I hope everyone is able to slow down long enough to enjoy the season and reflect on how blessed we truly are:)

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