Creature Feature - Using Native American Choctaw Literature

Overview and Objectives

Overview and Objectives

Enduring Understandings and Big Ideas

Native American stories often reflect the natural environment. One class of Choctaw stories tells how animals native to the area came to have certain characteristics.

This learning center uses such animal tales as a springboard for writing poetry about animals native to Mississippi.

Learning Objectives

  1. Students will read and recall Choctaw legends.
  2. Students will research a creature in a Choctaw legend.
  3. Students will create poetry about a creature in Choctaw legends.
  4. Students will create an art project based on their research about a creature from Choctaw legends.

Note: Other Native American tribes can adapt this lesson into their curriculum by including their tribe's animal tales and legends.

Time required.

Five 50-minute class periods.

Materials:

  • 8 ½ “ X 11” "Characteristic Cards" with the following information, each on a separate card:
  1. lays eggs
  2. bears live young
  3. herbivore
  4. carnivore
  5. omnivore,
  6. can swim
  7. can fly
  8. has claws
  9. has a pouch for young
  10. vertebrate
  11. invertebrate
  12. nocturnal
  13. cold-blooded
  14. warm-blooded
  15. can hop
  16. can jump
  17. can run
  18. etc.
  • Music that features animals (e.g. “The Lion Sleeps Tonight”, “Eye of the Tiger”, “Move It “(from the movie Madagascar), etc.)
  • Choctaw tales featuring animals; see the Resources page for a listing and information on where to obtain copies of the stories.
  • 3” x 5” index cards or Creature Feature research sheet.
  • Computers or Internet information that has been printed if computer is not available.
  • Books about animals
  • Art supplies (paper and crayons or markers, scissors) for trioramas
  • Art supplies for creature creations

Background: Choctaw Literature

Background: Choctaw Literature

Native American stories often reflect the natural environment. Choctaw legends and literature cover such topics as creation stories, historical legends, prophecy, jokes and tall tales, as well as stories about the supernatural. These stories have been retold over the years hoping to keep alive who the Choctaw people are and what they value and hold dear.

One class of Choctaw stories tells how animals native to the area came to have certain characteristics. This learning center uses such animal tales as a springboard for writing poetry about animals native to Mississippi.

Teaching Strategies

Teaching Strategies

Day 1: Provide copies of some of the Choctaw tales listed on the Resources page of this Learning Center. Allow students to choose the tale they would like to read and summarize to the class. Give students time to read silently. Once all students have completed reading the tale, have volunteers begin summarizing their tales by giving the title and the authors’ names when known. When all students have shared, have students discuss which tales they liked best and why. Ask students to save their tales for tomorrow’s activity.

Day 2: Divide students into groups of three to four students. Have the students take their Choctaw tales to the group. Give the students five to seven minutes to discuss characteristics of the creatures in the tales. Prompt the students to talk about habitat, reproduction, physical characteristics, diet, defense features, etc.

 

  1. When the timer sounds, have all students form a circle.
  2. Tell students that we may know a lot about a creature, but there is always more that we can learn. Tell them they are to pretend they are the creature from their Choctaw tales. They are to dance into the center of the circle in the same movement their creature would use, whenever you hold up a card that states a characteristic that is true of their animals.
  3. Start the music and hold up a characteristic card. Allow time for students to creature dance into the circle before changing cards. Go through all characteristic cards.
  4. Discuss as a class the things students knew about their creatures and the things they did not know about their creatures.
  5. If time permits, students may begin research on their animals using either method:
  • Write one fact per card about their animal; or
  • Record facts on Creature Feature research sheet.

Day 3: Students will complete research on their Choctaw tale creatures. Encourage them to use at least seven different sources (books, Internet, encyclopedias, magazines, etc.). If computers are available, have students print one to three photos or illustrations of their creature in action. If computers are not available, have students find one of their sources with a photo or illustration of their creature in action.

 

Days 4-6: Research will be presented for the next three days in the form of poetry and artwork.

Haiku

  1. Have students get out paper and pencil or pen, a photo or illustration of their creatures, and their research cards or Creature Feature research sheet.
  2. Give students three minutes to write three to five sentences about what their creatures are doing in the photo or illustration including the name of the creature, what it is doing, how it is doing the action, what it looks like, and where it is located. Choose a creature no one has researched and illustrate this, allowing the large group to give suggestions.
  3. Next, have the students cross out the following items in their descriptive sentences: articles (a, an, the), that, there, here, being verbs (am, is, are, was, were, be, being, and been), and conjunctions. Illustrate this with the animal chosen as the “group” example.
  4. Now have students write a description of their Choctaw tale creature using the information that is left. Suggest that verbs can be made into participles by adding "ing" to tell what the creature is doing. Model this process with the “group” creature.
  5. Explain the Japanese poetry form of haiku, which talks of nature and is three lines with syllable counts of line one – five syllables, line two – seven syllables, and line three – five syllables. Give examples with the “group” creature.
  6. Once students have done this, have them meet with a peer to check the syllable count and to help with revision. The teacher can take this opportunity to conference with each student to evaluate understanding.
  7. Next, students should type the Choctaw creature poetry in haiku form adding a graphic or student-created illustration. Print two copies. The title of the poem should contain the name of the creature.
  8. The student will create a triorama by using four squares. Click here to download and print directions for making a triorama. Square one should contain the title. Square two will contain the first line of the haiku (5 syllables). Square three will contain the second line of the haiku (7 syllables), and square four will contain the third line of the haiku (5 syllables). Glue the triangles back-to-back then glue each line to one of the triangles. Students can add photos or graphics on each triangle to illustrate the action of the line.
  9. Students present the triorama to the class.

Limerick

  1. Explain that a limerick is a five-line humorous poem with the following pattern: Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme and have 8 to 10 syllables each line. Lines 3 and 4 rhyme and have 5 to 7 syllables each line.
  2. Using the same creature example as in the haiku, work as a large group to model a limerick using facts that the class knows about the creature. Write the results on a chart, board, or Smart Board.
  3. Give students time to create a limerick about their Choctaw tale creature. The limerick may contain facts from the research, OR the limerick may summarize the Choctaw tale.
  4. Peers will meet with a partner to revise. Check the syllable count and the rhyming words.
  5. Students will conference with the teacher.
  6. Students will type their creature limerick and add a graphic or illustration.
  7. Students will present limericks to the class.

Example:

                   The Bat (by Julia Faulk)

With the squirrels the bat wanted to play ball                              (10 syllables)

"But you don't look like a squirrel at all"                                     (9 syllables)

"In a game I lost my tail,"                                                          (7 syllables)

The bat teased them with a wail.                                               (7 syllables)

And in a flash he flew off with the ball.                                        (10 syllables)

Bat

Art

Using recyclable materials, students will create  a model of the Choctaw tale creature they researched.

 

This bat was created by Shauna Lewis using a cocoa container, a paper plate, pipe cleaners, a ball of brown yard, part of a tissue tube, and a brown marker for color. (Photo by Penny Hardy)

While students are completing their research . . .

While students are completing their research . . .

The research process will take students several days to complete. Listed below are several mini lessons which can be taught during this research process.

  1. Working in groups – If students are not familiar with working in small groups, have them volunteer for jobs such as facilitator, materials manager, recorder, reporter, timekeeper, etc. Go over the responsibilities of each role. Throughout the entire research process, students should be given the opportunity to experience each role if possible.
  2. Plagiarism – Students should be introduced to the word “plagiarism”. Practice summarizing facts by having each small group take a factual paragraph and reword it by changing some of the words but not altering the facts. This mini lesson should be done at the beginning of the research process.
  3. Bibliography – Upper elementary through high school students are beginning to write research papers which should include a bibliography of sources used. Practice with small groups or as a large group by writing bibliography entries for various sources (Internet articles, encyclopedias, books, magazines, etc.).
  4. The Writing Process – Discuss the steps of the writing process: planning, drafting, revising, editing, and publishing. Talk about each step of the process as the students work through the activities of each day. At the end of each class period, discuss the step of the writing process covered in that day’s lesson.
  5. Revision – This part of the writing process can be used to teach any part of the language arts objectives with which students are having difficulties. (e.g. sentence structure, figurative language, sentence variety, vivid verbs, descriptive words, etc.).
  6. Revisions may be done in color pencil or pen so comparisons can be made between the original form and the revised form.
  7. Parts of a book or of a paper – Discuss with students the arrangement of their papers including title page, table of contents, final copy of paper, bibliography page, pictures, etc. Have them use one of their text books to identify these parts in their books.
  8. Text Features – Have groups peruse the research materials on their tables. What features help to explain the text? Have students make a jot list of these (e.g., title, illustrations, photographs, captions, footnotes, sidebars, graphs, charts, etc.). Identify these as text features. Have students make a poster that includes at least five different types of text features to help explain their topics of research.

Resources

Resources

Note: The following book by Tom Mould contains a number of animal stories that are appropriate for this Learning Center.

 

Mould, Tom. Choctaw Tales. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

 

“The Ball Game” by Simpson Tubby (bat, squirrel)

“Race between the Hummingbird and the Crane” [unknown]

“The Hummingbird” [unknown]

“How the Biskantak Got Water for the Birds” [unknown]

“Why the Buzzard Has More Offspring than the Owl” [unknown]

“Why the Guinea Hen Is Speckled” by Olman Comby (cow, wolf, guinea hen)

“Boatmaker” by Olman Comby  (crane)

“The Hunters and the Bears” [unknown]

“Rabbit and the Bears” by Gus Comby

“How the Bear Lost his Tail” by Olman Comby (bear, fox, fish)

“How the Rabbit Got a Short Tail” by Inez Henry (rabbit, fish, alligator)

“How the Bullfrog Lost his Horns” [unknown] (bullfrog, deer)

“How the Alligator Got His Back” by Gus Comby (monkey, fox, rabbit, squirrel, alligator)

“Rabbit and Turtle Race” by Gus Comby 

“Race between the Turkey and the Terrapin” [unknown]

“Turtle and Turkey” by Pisatuntema

“Why Terrapins Never Get Fat” by Olman Comby

“Turtle, Turkey, and the Ants” by Pisauntema

“Why There Are Seams in the Terrapin’s Shell” [unknown]

“Why the Turtle’s Shell Is Sewed Up” by Inez Henry

“How the Terrapin Lost the Ability to Climb Trees” [unknown] (lizard, terrapin)

“Raccoon and Possum” by Gus Comby

“Possum and Coon” by Grady John

“The Panther and the Opossum” [unknown] (panther, opossum, wolf)

“Possum and the Fox” by Harry Polk

“Why the Rabbit’s Skin Is Loose” by Olman Comby (wildcat, rabbit)

“Bear and Rabbit” by Gus Comby

“How the Rabbit Fooled the Turkeys” [unknown]

“Rabbit and Fox Farm Together” [unknown]

“Rabbit Rides Wolf” by Gus Comby

"Rabbit Gains a Wife” by Olman Comby (rabbit, fox)

“How Rabbit Made the Animals Angry” by Olman Comby (rabbit, wolf, possum, coon, panther, terrapin)

“Rabbit and the Garden” by Olman Comby (rabbit, possum)

A second source, equally valuable, is available on-line as "Animal Stories" from First People – The Legends. Go to www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Legends-C.html

 

“Choctaw Corn Legend” (hawk)

“Bishinik, the Little Chahta News Bird” (small, speckled yellow billed, scissortail species of woodpecker and the scissortail fly catcher)

“How Poison Came into the World” (wasps, bees, snakes)

“The Tale of the Wind Horse” by Tipi Pinti

“The Redbird” by Tipi Pinti

“The Possum and the Raccoon”

“The Story of Tanchi” (squirrel, deer, black bird)

“Where Do Ants Come From” (ants, grasshoppers)

“Eclipse of the Sun Blamed on Black Squirrel”

“Grandmother Spider Steals the Fire” (spider, opossum, buzzard, crow)

“Why the Owls Stare” (owl, pigeon)

“The Alligator and the Hunter” (alligator, blue jay, deer)

“Why the Possom Has a Large Mouth” (deer, possum)

Books/ Magazines

Agnone, Julie, ed. National Geographic Kids. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. November, 2007.

Biel, Timothy Levi. Turtles Zoo Books. Quality Productions, Inc. San Diego, CA 1988.

Brownell, M. Barbara. Busy Beavers. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1988.

Buxton, Jane Heath. Baby Bears and How They Grow. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1986.

Johnson, Nancy Pelander. 95 Animals of the Bible. Master Books, Inc. Green Forest, AR 1997, 2000.

Kindersley, Dorling. Animal - The Definitive Visual Guide to the World's Wildlife. DK Publishing, Inc. New York 2001, 2005.

Kindersley, Dorling. Animals - A Visual Encyclopedia. DK Publishing, Inc. New York 2008.

McCauley, Jane. Animals in Summer. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1988.

McCauley, Jane. Animals that Live in Trees. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1986.

McGoldrick, Jane R.  Animal Clowns. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1989.

McGrath, Susan. Saving Our Animal Friends. National Geographic Society. Washington, D.C. 1986.

Morgan, Sally. Alligators and Crocodiles. QEB Publishing, Inc. Laguna Hills, CA 2006

Morgan, Sally. Bears. QEB Publishing, Inc. Laguna Hills, CA 2004.

Morgan, Sally. Eagles. QEB Publishing, Inc. Laguna Hills, CA 2005.

Morgan, Sally. Tortoises and Turtles. QEB Publishing, Inc. Laguna Hills, CA 2006.

Mould, Tom. Choctaw Tales. Jackson, Mississippi: University Press of Mississippi, 2004.

Nutt, Lisa. Fearsome Creature Sticker Book. Parragon Books, Ltd. UK 2007.

Seidensticker, Dr. John. and Dr. Susan Lumpkin. Dangerous Animals. Time-Life Books Weldon Owen Pty Limmited 1995, 1997.

Singer, Marilyn. Venom. Scholastic, Inc. New York 2007.

Wengerd, Marvin, ed. Nature Friend. Carlisle Press. Sugarcreek, Ohio. 2004.

Internet Links:

http://www.dk.com

http://enature.com/fieldguides/intermediate.asp?curGroupID=5

http://enchantedlearning.com/coloring/northamer.shtml

http://www.firstpeople.us/FP-Html-Legends/Legends-C.html

http://www.maasd.ecsd.net/triorama_directions.htm.

http://www.nationalzoo.si.edu/Animals/NorthAmerica/Facts/default.cfm

http://www.nature.ca/notebooks/english/namerica.htm

Assessments and Checking for Understanding

Assessments and Checking for Understanding

Creature Feature Research Poetry/Model Assessment Rubric (Haiku)

Element of research

Points possible

Points earned

Line 1 contains 5 syllables.

 

10

 

Line 2 contains 7 syllables.

 

10

 

Line 3 contains 5 syllables.

 

10

 

Haiku states the creature’s name either in title or within the poem.

10

 

Haiku reveals an action, an activity, or a habitat of the creature researched.

10

 

Haiku reveals a characteristic of the creature researched.

 

10

 

Student creates a triorama of creature following the specified instructions.

10

 

Student uses recyclable materials to create a model of researched creature.

20

 

Student presents triorama (haiku) and recyclable model of the creature researched.

10

 

                                                             Rubric for Limerick  

4

3

2

1

*five lines

*five lines

*five lines

*five lines

First, second, and fifth lines have  8 to 10 syllables each

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with each other

Lines 3 and 4 have 5 to 7 syllables each

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other

Light-hearted and humorous

Appropriate illustration

*Must have 3 of 4

Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 8 to 10 syllables each

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with each other

Lines 3 and 4 have 5 to 7 syllables each

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other

Light-hearted and humorous

Appropriate illustration

*Must have 2 of 4

Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 8 to 10 syllables each

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with each other

Lines 3 and 4 have 5 to 7 syllables each

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other

Light-hearted and humorous

*Must have 1 of 4

Lines 1, 2, and 5 have 8 to 10 syllables each

Lines 1, 2, and 5 rhyme with each other

Lines 3 and 4 have 5 to 7 syllables each

Lines 3 and 4 rhyme with each other.

 

Grading Scale

4 = 90-100

3= 80-89

2=70-79

1= 60-69               

Rubric for Triorama

                   4

1 triangle contains a picture of the creature and the title

1 triangle contains the first line of the haiku with 5 syllables in the line and a matching illustration

1 triangle contains the second line of the haiku with 7 syllables and a matching picture/illustration of the animal

1 triangle contains the third line of the haiku with 5 syllables and a matching picture/illustration

The haiku is listed in the proper sequence.

                  3

4 of 5 of the following:

1 triangle contains a picture of the creature and the title

1 triangle contains the first line of the haiku with 5 syllables in the line and a matching illustration

1 triangle contains the second line of the haiku with 7 syllables and a matching picture/illustration of the animal

1 triangle contains the third line of the haiku with 5 syllables and a matching picture/illustration

The haiku is listed in the proper sequence.

                  2

3 of 5 of the following:

1 triangle contains a picture of the creature and the title

1 triangle contains the first line of the haiku with 5 syllables in the line and a matching illustration

1 triangle contains the second line of the haiku with 7 syllables and a matching illustration or photo

1 triangle contains the third line of the haiku with 5 syllables and a matching photo or illustration

The haiku is listed in the proper sequence.

                 1

2 of 5 of the following:

1 triangle contains a picture of the creature and the title

1 triangle contains the first line of the haiku with 5 syllables in the line and a matching illustration

1 triangle contains the second line of the haiku with 7 syllables and a matching picture/illustration of the animal

1 triangle contains the third line of the haiku with 5 syllables and a matching picture/illustration

The haiku is listed in the proper sequence.

 

Grading scale:

4 = 90-100

3=80-89

2=70-79

1=60-69

                                                     Rubric for Research Project

Component of research

Points possible

Points earned

1.      Presentation

A.      Projects voice

B.      Enunciates words correctly

C.      Makes eye contact with the audience

D.      Poised throughout presentation

E.      Gestures are not distracting

20

 

2.      Research paper

A.      Introduction

B.      Body – Follows a logical sequence and covers the topic

C.      Conclusion

D.      Mechanics/spelling

20

 

3.      Title page

A.      Title of research paper

B.      Student’s name

C.      Teacher’s name (class name)

D.      Date

E.      Name of school

10

 

4.      Index cards

A.      Need to have proof of at least three different types of sources – magazines, books, Internet, videos, etc.

B.       One fact per card

C.       Bibliography entry on back of card

18

 

5.      Bibliography page

A.      Uses the correct bibliographical format

B.      Has at least 8 different sources (2 points per source)

16

 

6.      Visual (e.g. Poster, model of animal, illustration, etc.)

16

 

                                                                                                               100 pts. possible       Score______

National and Mississippi Academic Standards

National and Mississippi Academic Standards

Mississippi Language Arts Objectives:

The student will apply strategies and skills to comprehend, respond to, interpret, or evaluate a variety of texts of increasing length, difficulty, and complexity

  •  2a4 Genres - Fiction, nonfiction, poetry, biographies, autobiographies, and plays.
  •  2c - The student will evaluate or revise a summary or paraphrase of the events or ideas in one or more literary texts.
  •  2d2 - literary devices (e.g. imagery, exaggeration, dialogue, irony, sarcasm)
  •  2d3 - Sound devices ( e.g. rhyme, rhythm, alliteration, onomatopoeia, assonance)

The student will express, communicate, evaluate, or exchange ideas effectively

  • 3a1 Planning
  • 3a2 Drafting
  • 3a3 Revising
  • 3a4 Editing
  • 3a5 Publishing/Sharing

The student will compose informational text.

  • 3d1 - Reports
  • 3d5  - poems
  • 3f The student will compose texts in a variety of modes based on inquiry and research.

National academic standards:

 

Language Arts:

  • NL-ENG.K-12.1 Students will read a wide range of print and nonprint texts to build an understanding of texts, of themselves, and of the cultures of the United States.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.4 Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.5 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.
  • NL-ENG.K-12.6  Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions, media techniques, figurative language and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts.
  • NL-ENG.K12-7 Students gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources to communicate their discoveries.
  • NL-ENG.K12-8  Students use a variety of technological and information  resources to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge.

Physical Education:


NPH.K-12.1  Demonstrates competency in many movement forms and proficiency in a few movement forms.

 

Science:


NS.5-8.3 Students should develop understanding

  • structure and function in living systems
  • reproduction and heredity
  • regulation and behavior
  • populations and ecosystems
  • diversity and adaptations of organisms

Choctaw Tribal objective:

Students will read and recall Choctaw legends . CC7/8.1B