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Chipmunk & the Owl Sisters

Keepers of the Night - Native American Stories and Nocturnal Activities for Children

Elementary

Description

Chipmunk and the Owl Sisters is part of a compilation entitled Keepers of the Night which provides an integrated approach to teaching the fascination of stories and activities around the campfire.  Through the use of Native North American stories, nighttime artistic and hands-on activities, children learn to develop a caring, constructive relationship with nature and the outdoors.  

Chipmunk and the Owl Sisters introduces its themes, storytelling and traditional North American games with two Native American stories.  The discussion section that follows provides background information and questions about activities around the campfire such as storytelling, food and cooking, dances and games.  Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities that vary from playing Native North American games, learning to build a campfire to cooking traditional Native foods. Each activity provides goals, detailed teaching instructions and a list of required materials. 

The Campfire – Students learn to build a basic campfire. They choose an appropriate site for the fire, set up and start the fire using a bow drill. 

Opening the Circle of the Fire – Students learn from and enjoy Native American traditions by participating in an activity that teaches them to enjoy their time around the fire while being a helpful member of a community. They share some ideas on how to learn about and share Native North American traditions.   

Storytelling – Students listen to different kinds of traditional Native North American stories around the campfire. Afterward they prepare stories, skits, group theater sketches and storytelling to share around a campfire at another time. 

Bear Dance – Students participate in a group dance to celebrate the bear, symbol of courage. Before learning the dance they make a papier-mâché bear mask and a den for the bear in the form of a small lodge constructed from dead branches and a tarp.  

Fireside Feast – Students prepare simple, wholesome traditional foods and enjoy a meal around the fire. They discover and enjoy some of the many foods that come from Native North American culture. 

Native Games – Students play some traditional Native North American games. They realize that many contemporary games and sports are gifts from Native North Americans. 

A section entitled Extending the Experience provides a variety of activities to reinforce and supplement the lessons of the stories and activities. 

General Assessment

What skills does this resource explicitly teach?

  • How to build a campfire.
  • How to build and use a bow drill.
  • How to build a simple lean-to.

Strengths

  • Excellent discussion/question/background information for teachers.
  • The resource is very easy to use.
  • Excellent outdoors activities to encourage an  interconnectedness with the environment.
  • Excellent activites for an environmental program or school activities that involve an overnight field trip to wilderness areas.
  • Includes many 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.
    • Most activities are teacher-directed and for older students.

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    Themes Addressed

    • Ecosystems (1)

      • Appreciating the Natural World

    Sustainability Education Principles

    Principle Rating Explanation
    Consideration of Alternative Perspectives Poor/Not considered
    • Non-applicable in 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 opportunities provided.
    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
    • Students are not explicitly given an 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 valuable lessons about the natural world.
    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
    • All of the activities take place outdoors.
    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
    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 with two Native North American legends. 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
    • Most of the activities will be teacher directed if they are used with younger students. After the demonstration, students experience the games and other Native North America traditions. They participate in a variety of hands-on activities and learn to understand how Native North Americans enjoy and celebrate the magical time of the campfire.
    Open-Ended Instruction :

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

    Integrated Learning Satisfactory
    • Math
    • Science
    • Language 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 Satisfactory
    • Students participate in a variety of hands-on activities. Through these tasks students learn to understand that we can learn from Native North Americans and have our lives enriched by the experience.
    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 Satisfactory
    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
    • All of the activities take place in an outdoor, nocturnal environment.
    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 Satisfactory
    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 students assessment methods 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 Satisfactory
    • Some incidential teaching that arises from cooperative learning.
    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 Good
    • A good variety of meaningful opportunities for students to further their knowledge are suggested.
    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.