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Celebration

Keepers of the Animals - Native American Stories and Wildlife Activities for Children

Elementary, Secondary, Middle

Description

Celebration is part of a compilation entitled Keepers of the Animals which provides an integrated approach to the concepts of wildlife ecology and environmental and stewardship issues concerning animals, habitat, and natural history. Through the use of Native North American stories and hands-on activities integrated with subject areas such as creative arts, theater, science, social studies, mathematics, students learn to understand, live with and care for the animals. 

Celebration introduces its themes, celebration, appreciation and circles of life with two Native American stories.  The discussion section that follows provides information and questions to be posed to students about the different circle dances which are performed in appreciation of the gifts animals give to people. Students create a list of the gifts that animals give to people, such as food, clothing, and song and dance. They learn the steps to a circle dance to honour and give praise and thanks to the animals for the many gifts we receive from them. The activity provides goals, detailed teaching instructions and a list of required materials. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • How to perform a Circle Dance to give thanks to the animals for the gifts we receive.

Strengths

  • Excellent discussion/question/background information for teachers about Circle and Animal dances.
  • The resource is very easy to use.
  • Includes Extending the Experience activities.
  • Activities include an easy to use symbols system that provides a quick reference to both the setting and the topics of that activity. 
  • Weaknesses

  • No assessment/rubrics are provided.
  • No action component is suggested
  • No opportunities to share what they have learned with their parents or peers.
  • No opportunity for students to clarify their values.
  • The activity is teacher-directed.
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    Themes Addressed

    • Ecosystems (1)

      • Appreciating the Natural World
    • Indigenous Knowledge (1)

      • Rituals, Spirituality and Worldviews

    Sustainability Education Principles

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Poor/Not considered
    • Non-applicable to this resource
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives:
    • Satisfactory: absence of bias towards any one point of view
    • Good: students consider different points of view regarding issues, problems discussed
    • Very good: based on the consideration of different views, students form opinions and  take an informed position
    Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions Poor/Not considered
    • Not considered in this resource
    Multiple Dimensions of Problems & Solutions:

    Effectively addresses the environmental, economic and social dimensions of the issue(s) being explored.

    • Satisfactory: resource supports the examination of  these dimensions
    • Good:  resource explicitly examines the interplay of these dimensions
    • Very Good:  a systems-thinking approach is encouraged to examine these three dimensions
    Respects Complexity Poor/Not considered
    • Not considered in this resource
    Respects Complexity:

    The complexity of the problems/issues being discussed is respected.

    Acting on Learning Poor/Not considered
    • No action activity is suggested.
    Acting on Learning:

    Learning moves from understanding  issues  to working towards positive change — in personal lifestyle, in school, in the community,  or for the planet

    • Satisfactory: action opportunities are included as extensions 
    • Good: action opportunities are core components of the resource
    • Very Good: action opportunities for students are well supported and intended to result in observable, positive change
    Values Education Poor/Not considered
    • No formal opportunity to clarify their own values.
    Values Education:

    Students are explicitly provided with opportunities to identify, clarify and express their own beliefs/values.

    Empathy & Respect for Humans Good
    • The resource uses native wisdom to help young people learn to appreciate the great richness of the gifts animals give to people. They learn about the interconnectedness of the great family of all living things.
    Empathy & Respect for Humans: Empathy and respect are fostered for diverse groups of humans (including different genders, ethnic groups, sexual preferences, etc.).
    Personal Affinity with Earth Good
    • Students learn to understand the meaning of the Circle Dance and the importance of showing gratitude toward the animals. The Extending the Experience section offers a few outdoor experiences.
    Personal Affinity with Earth:

    Encourages a personal affinity with -the natural world.  

    • Satisfactory: connection is made to the natural world
    • Good: fosters appreciation/concern for the natural world
    • Very Good: fosters stewardship though practical and respectful experiences out-of-doors 
    Locally-Focused Learning Good
    • Students learn about the many gifts that humans receive from animals.
    Locally-Focused Learning:

    Includes learning experiences that take advantage of issues/elements within the local community. 

    • Satisfactory: learning is made relevant to the lives of the learners
    • Good: learning is made relevant and has a local focus
    • Very Good: learning is made relevant, local and takes place ‘outside’ , in the community 
    Past, Present & Future Satisfactory
    • The resource introduces its theme using a Native North American story. The book provides a map of native North America showing cultural areas and tribal locations as they appeared around 1600.
    Past, Present & Future: Promotes an understanding of the past, a sense of the present, and a positive vision for the future.

    Pedagogical Approaches

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Open-Ended Instruction Satisfactory
    • Students brainstorm a list of gifts animals give to people and learn the steps to a Circle Dance.
    Open-Ended Instruction :

    Lessons are structured so that multiple/complex answers are possible; students are not steered toward one 'right' answer.

    Integrated Learning Satisfactory
    • Language Arts
    • Science
    • Creative Arts
    Integrated Learning:

    Learning brings together content and skills  from more than one  subject area

    • Satisfactory: content from a number of different  subject areas is readily identifiable
    • Good:  resource is appropriate for use in more than one subject area
    • Very Good:  the lines between subjects are blurred 
    Inquiry Learning Poor/Not considered
    • The activity is very teacher directed, little opportunity for self-discovery.
    Inquiry Learning:

    Learning is directed by questions, problems, or challenges that students work to address.   

    • Satisfactory: Students are provided with questions/problems to solve and some direction on how to arrive at solutions.
    • Good: students, assisted by the teacher clarify the question(s) to ask and the process to follow to arrive at solutions.  Sometimes referred to as Guided Inquiry
    • Very Good:  students generate the questions and assume much of the responsibility for how to solve them.  . Sometimes referred to as self-directed learning.

     

    Differentiated Instruction Poor/Not considered
    Differentiated Instruction:

    Activities address a range of student learning styles, abilities and readiness.

    • Satisfactory:  includes a variety of instructional approaches
    • Good: addresses  the needs of visual, auditory &  kinesthetic learners
    • Very Good: also includes strategies for learners with difficulties
    Experiential Learning Good
    • The students learn and perform a Circle Dance.
    Experiential Learning:

    Authentic learning experiences are provided

    • Satisfactory: learning takes place through ‘hands-on’ experience or simulation
    • Good: learning involves direct experience in a ‘real world context’
    • Very good: learning involves ‘real world experiences’ taking place’ beyond the school walls.
    Cooperative Learning Good
    • Students learn to perform the Circle Dance so that everyone remains connected and the circle remains unbroken throughout the dance.
    Cooperative Learning:

    Group and cooperative learning strategies are a priority.

    • Satisfactory:  students work in groups
    • Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught and practiced
    • Very Good: cooperative learning skills are explicitly taught, practiced and assessed
    Assessment & Evaluation Poor/Not considered
    • No assessment opportunities are provided.
    Assessment & Evaluation: Tools are provided that help students and teachers to capture formative and summative information about students' learning and performance. These tools may include reflection questions, checklists, rubrics, etc.
    Peer Teaching Poor/Not considered
    Peer Teaching:

    Provides opportunities for students to actively present their knowledge and skills to peers and/or act as teachers and mentors.

    • Satisfactory: incidental teaching that arises from cooperative learning, presentations, etc.
    • Good or Very Good: an opportunity is intentionally created to empower students to teach other students/community members. The audience is somehow reliant on the students' teaching (students are not simply ‘presenting')
    Case Studies Poor/Not considered

    No case studies are provided.

    Case Studies:

    Relevant case studies are included.  Case studies are thorough descriptions of real events from real situations that students use to explore  concepts in an authentic context.

    Locus of Control Satisfactory
    • The "Extending the Experience|section offers a few activity suggestions.
    Locus of Control: Meaningful opportunities are provided for students to choose elements of program content, the medium in which they wish to work, and/or to go deeper into a chosen issue.