Native American Dance, Music, and Celebration Through the Choctaw Wedding

Overview and Objectives

Overview and Objectives

In this Learning Center, students will develop an understanding of Choctaw dance, music, and celebration as used in the traditional Choctaw wedding.  Through this inquiry-based exploration, students will utilize print and non-print texts, storytelling, creative writing, performing arts, and visual arts. They will build on previously learned concepts to explain how customs can affect the history of a group of people. Students will read the Native American Choctaw history of weddings, interview elders, view video segments, and conduct research.

This learning center is especially relevant to Choctaw students, but with modifications can be used in any classroom.

Enduring Understandings:

  • Most human societies have developed rituals marking wedding ceremonies.
  • The study of one traditional wedding ceremony of a group can open the door to studies of the traditions of other groups and their traditional wedding ceremonies.
  • Wedding customs, ceremonies, and beliefs have changed from the past to the present.

Time required:

5 class periods based on 50 minute sessions would be required to complete this assignment.

With additional extension activities, this unit of study could extend up to several weeks.

Materials and Supplies:

  •       Smart Board
  •       Video clips of Choctaw weddings (google Choctaw Weddings and see video on Resources page of this learning center)
  •       Internet websites (see Resources page of this learning center)
  •       Researched materials on the Choctaw wedding
  •       Interview questions (these will be individually elicited by each class or literature circle)
  •       Stories of Choctaw wedding ceremonies (orignal writings to model the assignment)
  •       Script to follow the dramatization of a Choctaw wedding
  •       Props including music, traditional clothing, traditional foods, dances, etc. that would be utilized to recreate a traditional wedding ceremony

Learning Objectives:

  • Students will learn the cultural and social importance of the Choctaw wedding ceremony by dramatizing it in class. (Performing Arts, storytelling, language arts, cultural change, visual arts, and inquiry)

 

 

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Background Information

Background Information

The traditional Choctaw wedding is one of the most honored cultual observances in the history of tribal cutlture. This tradition has its roots in the Fall Harvest Festival of each tribal clan. 

At the end of a long day of festivities, the clans would gather around a fire and listen to the elders of each clan tell stories of their past. During storytelling times, young men searching for a bride would observe the young unwed women in attendance from the various clans. When a man noticed a woman he was interested in, he would toss a small rock at her feet. If she accepted his proposal, she would toss the pebble back at his feet.

Once the proposal was accepted by the two families involved, the courtship would begin. The groom presented the bride's parents with livestock or other gifts in hopes that the parents would allow the wedding. Once the bride's parents approve of the wedding, the bride's aunt plans that wedding, which would follow the style of the clan they belong to. Following the courtship and wedding preparations, a traditional series of events will occur, as further outlined in this Learning Center.

Teaching Strategies

Teaching Strategies

1.  Students will view video clip of a Native American Choctaw wedding that is on the Resources page of this learning center (or one from a Native American Indian group of your culture or one close to your proximity) using a smart board.

  • Discuss actions of the various people involved in the ceremony.
  • Dicuss the dialogue of the various people involved in the ceremony.
  • Discuss the emotions of the various people involvede in the ceremony.
  • Discuss what makes this a traditional wedding.
  • Predict the effects the traditional wedding will have on a culture of the people.

 

2.  Students will research and identify the various aspects and steps in a traditional Choctaw wedding using resources identified in this learning center.

 

3.  Students will read and discuss Choctaw literature that depicts the marriage customs.

 

4.  (Specifically for Choctaw students; students in other parts of the world will want to investigate the traditional wedding customs of their locale.) Within small groups or in a whole group activity, students will develop questions for an interview of tribal elders to substantiate customs of marriage ceremonies (both traditional and modern). These questions can be compiled by the teacher on the white board as students brainstorm, or within literature groups, students can individually compile questions and then each group representative will share interview questions as the teacher charts them on a smart board.

 

5.  Students will be assigned to interview a tribal elder in order to obtain information on wedding ceremonies. Note: students should always conduct interviews in pairs, never alone.

 

6.  Conduct a discussion of the interview questions and responses. The results will be recorded by the teacher on the whiteboard. A comparison and contrast of traditional and customary ceremonies and modern ceremonies will be discuss and compiled.

 

7.  Students will be divided into two groups:

  • Groom/groom’s family
  • Bride/bride’s family

 

8.  Each group will take information gained from research, interviews, literature, and videos to create a dramatization of a traditional wedding. Role-playing will be used to prepare for the final dramatization.

  • Each group will be responsible for supplying traditional clothing, foods for the celebration, instruments, and chants for music, dances, etc.
  • After the assignment has been completed, the final dramatization will be performed. This could be performed in an assembly setting to demonstrate the traditional Native American Choctaw wedding.
  • Involve an elder as a resource person to ensure accuracy and appropriate respect.

9.  Students will create an original story, poem, or play using original characters and Choctaw wedding customs to depict a traditional wedding ceremony. The individual stages of the writing process must be evident in the finished work.

 

10.  Students will create an original piece of two-dimensional visual art (drawing or painting) to depict the various scenes portrayed in a traditional wedding ceremony.

 

 Extended Activities:

  • Students will select a Native American tribe within the region in which they live. The same classroom procedures of research and activities will be followed to complete the assignment.
  •  A comparison/contrast of various tribes' wedding customs can be undertaken.
  • A comparison/contrast of various diverse cultures and nationalities could be compiled.
  • A recipe book could be designed and filled with traditional foods that would be served at the wedding ceremony.
  • Students could learn and perform a traditional wedding dance.
  • A chant could be written, designed, and performed that might occur at a wedding ceremony. Confer with a tribal elder in undertaking this activity.

Assessments

Assessments

  • Through a checklist, determine the accuracy of the answers given for the classroom discussion. (This is teacher conducted using a checklist that students are famiiar with and that the teacher controls.)
  • The interview questions will be assessed according to the purpose for which the interviews will be conducted. (This will follow the study of techniques for conducting a successful interview.) See a sample rubric below.
  • The results of the interviews will be assessed by group consensus to determine if the interviews were successful in obtaining information.
  • A rubric will be used to determine the level of understanding of the events in the traditional wedding ceremony, as dramatized in class or the school assembly. 
  • A writing rubric will be utilized to interpet the effectivenss of the creative writing. The stages of the writing process will be assessed (planning, drafting, revising, and publishing). See below for an appropriate rubric.

RUBRIC FOR CREATIVE WRITING- 8th GRADE

 

½ point

1 point

Sentence structure

Student sentences are not complete, they are short and the verbs do not agree with the pronoun. Common mistake with present simple “to be” and simple present.

Sentences are complete and well structured. The verbs agree with the pronoun and the usage of the “to be”, present simple and present progressive is correct. 

Word choice

The selection of the vocabulary is poor but well applied. They use few adjectives to describe the celebration they chose. They make several mistakes.

The selection of the vocabulary is more complete and is well applied. They still make mistakes but not as many.  They use more adjectives to describe the celebration they chose.

Introductions sentence and description

Students are not able to use an introductory sentence in their writing. They begin by describing the celebration in 4-5 sentences

Students introduce the celebration in one complete sentence. After the introductory sentence they begin describing the celebration in 6-7 sentences.

Conclusion

They use one, poor, not well structured sentence to express, in a very limited, way an opinion.

They use more than one complete sentence to express their personal opinion. The conclusion is not as limited but has few mistakes.

Presentation

Students present their writings written in computer, using the correct font that has been required. No clarity and cleanness.

No folder.

Students present their writings in computer, using the font that has been required, clarity, cleanness and the assigned color folder.

 

Poetry Rubric

 

Name:_____________________________                Date:_________________________

 

 

 

Criteria

 

4

 

 

3

 

2

 

Ideas and content

Focuses on an idea, feeling or experience.  Uses specific, concrete images.  May include poetic sound devices

 

Exceptional focus of an idea, feeling or experience.  Exceptional use of images. Includes many examples poetic sound devices

 

Adequate focus of an idea, feeling or experience. Adequate use of images. Includes some examples poetic sound devices

 

 

Inadequate focus of an idea, feeling or experience. Adequate use of images. Includes no examples poetic sound devices

 

 

Sentence Fluency

Uses lines of varying lengths and a variety of sentence structures

 

Uses a large variety of varying sentence lengths and structure.

 

Uses some variety of varying sentence lengths and structure.

 

Uses no variety of varying sentence lengths and structure.

 

Organization

Uses a logical, effective organizational strategy.

 

Uses an exceptional logical and effective organizational strategy.

 

 

Uses an adequate logical and effective organizational strategy.

 

Uses an inadequate organizational strategy.

 

Voice

Uses own unique style.  Writes honestly, as if the reader were right there.  Writes with confidence and enthusiasm.

 

 

Uses an exceptional and unique writing style.  Writes exceptionally honest, as if the reader were right there.  Writes with exceptional confidence and enthusiasm.

 

Uses an adequate writing style. Writes somewhat honestly, as if the reader were right there.  Writes with a standard amount of with confidence and enthusiasm.

 

Uses an inadequate writing style.  Does not make the reader feel a part of the text. Writes with minimal confidence and enthusiasm.

Mechanics

Grammar

Spelling

Punctuation

Capitalization

 

Text contains only a minimal amount of errors

 

Text contains several errors.

 

Text contains numerous errors.

 

Total:  ______

     15

 

 

 

 

INTERVIEW RUBRIC

 

 

1.

2.

3.

4.

5.

SCORE

Preparation before the interview.

No preparation was made.

A few questions were prepared.

An adequate number of questions, most of which relate in some way to the research focus, was prepared.

A comprehensive list of questions relating directly to research focus was prepared. 

A comprehensive list of questions and supplementary questions relating directly to research focus was prepared.  Background knowledge of the person, if known, was included.

 

Establishing rapport

No attempt was made to establish rapport with the person.

The student introduced himself and began to ask questions.

The student introduced himself, briefly mentioned the purpose of the interview and began with an easy question.

The student introduced himself, explained the purpose of the interview and began with an easy open-ended question.

The student introduced himself, explained the purpose of the interview, made eye contact, smiled encouragement, and began with an easy, open-ended question.

 

Manner

The student interrupted or hurried the person being interviewed and forgot to thank them at the end.

The student made an attempt to be polite.  .  Listened, and thanked the person at the end of the interview.

The student was polite.  Tried to make eye contact and nodded encouragement occasionally.  Listened, and thanked the person at the end of the interview.

The student was polite and tried to put the person at ease with the situation.  Made some eye contact and nodded encouragement occasionally.  Listened, didn’t interrupt and thanked the person at the end of the interview.

The student was friendly and polite, putting the person at ease with the situation.  Made eye contact and nodded encouragement.  Listened, didn’t interrupt and thanked the person at the end of the interview.

 

Matter

The student asked the person a few questions.

The student asked the person a reasonable number of appropriate questions.

The student asked appropriate questions and tried to encourage the person to give more detail. 

The student asked appropriate questions, clarified comments, and encouraged the person to give more detail.  Asked some supplementary questions.

The student asked appropriate questions, rephrasing them if necessary.  Clarified comments, summarised what was said and encouraged the person to give more detail.  Asked relevant supplementary questions based on what the person said.

 

Knowledge gained

The student cannot answer questions about the person who was interviewed.

The student can answer some questions about the person who was interviewed.

The student can answer questions about the person’s views and begins to make connections between the interview and the research focus. 

The student can explain the person’s views in detail and the ways in which they relate to the research focus. 

The student can explain the person’s views in detail and the ways in which they relate to the research focus.  The student can also evaluate the significance of the interview to the project.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Transactional Writing Rubric

 

 

Name: _____________________________                  Date:________________________

 

 

Criteria

 

3

 

2

 

1

Idea Development

Develops relevant ideas.  Uses descriptive details and examples

Focuses on an idea, feeling or experience.

 

 

Relevant ideas are exceptionally developed.  Exceptional use of descriptive details and examples.  Text is exceptionally focused on an idea, feeling or experience.

 

 

Relevant ideas are adequately developed.  Adequate use of descriptive details and examples.  Text adequately focuses on an idea, feeling or experience.

 

Relevant ideas are inadequately developed.  Inadequate use of descriptive details and examples.  Text inadequately focuses on an idea, feeling or experience.

Organization

Organizes information clearly and logically.

Uses appropriate format for type of text chosen.

Originality of presentation format.

 

 

 

Text is exceptionally organized, clear and logical.  Text uses an appropriate format for type of text chosen and an original presentation format.

 

Resources

Resources

Howard, J.H. and L. Lindsay. Choctaw Music and Dance. Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1990.


Swanton, J.R. Source Material for the Social & Ceremonial Life of the Choctaw Indians.


http://www.choctaw.org


http://mike-boucher.com/wordpress/?page_id=265 (Select the search from the list given)


In addition, see the video of a Choctaw wedding at left.

Academic Standards

Academic Standards

National Standards:

           

English Language Arts

1.   Students read a wide range of print and non-print texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States; to acquire new information; and for personal fulfillment.

2.   Students read a wide range of literature.

3.   Students apply a wide range of strategies to comprehend, interpret, evaluate, and appreciate texts. They draw on their prior experience, their interactions with other reader and writers, their knowledge of word meaning and other texts.

4.   Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for a variety of purposes.

5.   Students employ a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes.

6.   Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and non-print texts.

7.   Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate their discoveries in ways that suite their purpose and audience.

8.   Students use a variety of technological and information resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

9.   Students develop an understanding of respect for diversity in language use, patterns, and dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles.

 

 

Fine Arts: Music

4b. Students arrange simple pieces for voices or instruments.

4c. Students use a variety of traditional and nontraditional sound sources when

      composing and arranging.

9c. Students compare in several cultures of the world, functions music serves,

      roles of musicians, and conditions under which music is typically performed.

 

Fine Arts: Visual Arts

 1b. Students intentionally take advantage of the qualities and characteristics of art

      media, techniques, and processes to enhance communication of their

      experiences, and ideas.

4b. Students describe and place a variety of art objects in historical and cultural contexts.

 

Technology

 1a. Students demonstrate a sound understanding of the nature and operation of

      technology systems. 

 1b. Students are proficient in the use of technology.

 3a. Students use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity.

 5a. Students use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources.