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Here is a lesson plan on Navajo Pottery and Culture


Language Arts, Social Studies  


3, 4, 5, 6  

Title – Navajo Poetry
By – Jamie Rettke
Subject – Social Studies, Language Arts
Grade Level – 3-6
Topic: Exploring the Navajo culture through poetry

Grade level: 3-6

Student objectives: when asked, the students will be able to:

1.       Identify various elements of Native American poetry in relation to the culture

2.       Interpret meaning into Navajo poetry

3.       Construct one form of artistic expression based upon Navajo poetry


For the teacher:

·         The book Navajo: Visions and Voices Across the Mesa by Shonto Begay

For each student:

·         A copy of a poem

·         Drawing or writing materials

·         A sheet of white paper

Material preparation before the activity:

·         Copies of selected poems from the book listed above needs to be made. The teacher may also wish to create his/her own pieces of work to use as a modeling tool.

Motivation component: (~ 5 minutes)

Have the students close their eyes while the teacher reads one of the selected poems to the class.  Ask the student to think about it for a moment.  What images did they get when listening?  What did they think of? 

Procedures: (~ 20 minutes)

1.       Distribute a poem to each student, along with one sheet of white paper.

2.       Explain to the students that today they will read one of many poems written by Native Americans.  In this lesson, they will be reading works from Shonto Begay, a Navajo Indian.  After reading their poems, the students will have their choice of which activity to participate in.

n       Create an illustration for the poem.  To do this, the student must look deeply at the poem and the meanings behind it.  Illustrations may be made with any of the available materials.

n       Create an original work of poetry.  The poems must contain the same elements as the poem read.  (For example: mother earth, nature, animals, etc)

n       Write a short selection, identifying aspects of the poem and how they relate to the Native American culture. The students should describe reason why such aspects are important to the Navajo way of life. 

Closure: (~ 5 minutes)

 Have several students share their works with the class.  While doing this, identify various aspects of the Navajo culture.


1.           The students’ original creations. Evaluation will be based on how well the students’ products relate to Navajo poetry.  (Formative)

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