High Quality Work - Claim 1:
Complexity: Warm Springs Then and Now
Getting All Students From Background Knowledge to Complexity Through Context and Scaffolding
Warm Springs and Native American History: Then and Now
To learn to use critical thinking skills, it is necessary to understand there are always different perspectives. The question is whose perspective is "right"? In 7th grade, we looked at an overview of American history from the time the pilgrims landed at Plymouth Rock through the early 1900's from the perspective of those who's voices are often discounted in historical recounting - Native Americans. To do this we dug into case studies based on our guiding questions:
Who has the "right" to own land?
Why is preserving different cultures important?
How does art influence, reflect and teach us about different cultures?
What is Andrew Jackson's legacy?
Why are there reservations?
Students kept these questions in mind as we studied white settlement, Andrew Jackson and the general oppression and genocide of the aboriginal people of this country. They learned to use academic skills such as discerning the main idea of a text, citing textual evidence to show understanding, use research to support an argument and use context specific vocabulary. Through real world experiences such as interviewing tribal elders and leaders, spending time on a private reservation residence, being part of ancient traditions and delving into material culture in an experiential way, students immersed into this rich culture and deepened their understanding. Knowing how to recognize stereotypes, forced assimilation, cultural racism and government-sanctioned oppression, students are able to look at current day issues with multiple perspectives and be more equipped to come to their own conclusions.
All students in the two 7th grade classes contributed to the final products below. For example, for the calendar product 20% of students in this class were on IEPs and 15% were on 504 plans. These students all interviewed, researched, created beadwork and pastel environments, composed informative pieces and reflections and each have 1 or more written excerpts and artwork featured in the final published product. Jump to final products here.
Building Background Knowledge...
the first step towards critical thinking
In small groups students researched, through a variety of readings, to understand in order to explain an era in history through a Native American lens. Each member of the group became an expert on a different aspect of the era. The goal was to have a complete description of the time that explained how this era contributes to why there are reservations today. Eras included:
1400s - Columbus “discovers” the new land thinking it is India
1600s – Settlers from Europe arrive to stay
1700s – More white settlers come – development on Native land, Natives fight back, sold as slaves and diseases introduced cause 1000’s of Native Americans to die.
Early 1800’s – 100,000s of European settlers - White settlements spread to the woodlands. Fighting back and assimilation.
1800s on the West Coast - Gold discovered, settlement expand rapidly on west coast. Forced off of their land. 100,000s of Native Americans die and are killed.
Groups collaborated to create posters as evidence to teach the rest of the class about the era.
Close Read & TDQs
Close read strategies and Text Dependent Questions help students build strong background knowledge and comprehension about Andrew Jackson’s precidency.
Andrew Jackson Claim and Evidence Essay
After reading three articles highlighting different perspectives of Jackson’s presidency, students make a claim choosing whether he was a good president or a bad president. Students then write an essay, using evidence (facts and examples) from the pieces read to support and strengthen the claim.
Click on "images" for complete essays.
Using their newfound historical understanding and learning about real life situations and people on the Warm Springs reservation as background, students then research a topic affecting the Plateau people historically or currently including: treaties, education, current events and material culture. All students write a short research paper that they pare down in order to showcase it in a final product.
Click on "images" for the complete document and calendar page.
Warm Springs: Then & Now
An Academic Calendar: July 2017 - August 2017
This Calendar represents a small fraction of the learning gained, highlighting our experiences from our final in-depth investigation: Warm Springs, Then and Now. Excerpts from students’ research, short biographies, photographs, reflections from experiences, environment art created when staying on the Warm Springs Reservation, and examples of student beadwork, are coalesced into this final Calendar.
Click on images for complete Products
The Place and the People:
An Exploration of Warm Springs
This Book is a collection of biographies of Warm Springs people told directly to students, and portrait masks representing each person. Tribal members recounted their lives, shared experiences and explained their culture next to the Deschutes in the heart of the Warm Springs Reservation. After built background knowledge in Plateau material culture in art, students focused on, learning about, and practicing beadwork. Adding this experience to their other background knowledge, students took this understanding and respect for the material culture of the people of the Plateau and created portrait masks telling the story of each person’s life.
Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian
As a read aloud, classes experience Sherman Alexie's young adult fiction novel getting immersed in the reality of what native youth often experience today. Students created this word wall with new vocabulary, reflected on and made connections to characters’ experiences, visualized and drew scenes, and gained insights into some challenges of life on and off the reservations for their native peers.
The synthesis process helps students connect the cause and effect of historical events to the realities of our own communities. All students contribute polished pieces to these products. Students begin to understand that the decisions we make, as a society today will affect history going forward, and they experience first hand the differences between being part of the dominant or non-dominant culture.