I wanted to share my plan with everyone in hopes that it will help some other Texas History teachers out, because I know for me, Texas History has been one of the hardest areas to plan because there are not that many resources out there.
Starting today, I am planning on doing a series of blog posts on how I teach different parts of our Texas History curriculum. Each post will be about a "big topic" that we cover throughout the year and the resources that I have found or come up with on my own to teach it.
To get started, I thought I would go with Native Americans of Texas. This is historically the first topic that we teach in the beginning of the year.
I like to have my students begin this unit by doing a little digging around and research on Native Americans in Texas. I was running into the trouble through that many websites they were finding did have the best information, or most appropriate information anyway. In order to combat this I found all of the "best" websites and used QR codes to put them into one document. I didn't want to be selfish with this time saving cache of information so the Native Americans of Texas Introduction and Research Resources is a FREEBIE in my TPT store!
I use this document for two things. First, I let the students explore on their own. Each pair of students, or small group, get a QR capable device and are given some time to look through information. Then when we begin our research projects, which I will talk about in a bit, the resources give them a good jumping off place to begin.
After my students have a general understanding of different Native American groups in Texas we break it down into five specific groups to learn more about. The groups that I have chosen are the Lipan Apache, Karankawa, Comanche, Jumano, and Caddo. We use a Native American Fold-Up to take notes about each of the groups. We talk about where each tribe lived, the shelter they used, how they fed themselves, the weapons they used, and interesting facts about their tribe.
Following our note taking, students choose the tribe they are most interested in learning about to complete more detailed research over. This is where the QR Code Research Resources come in handy again. I personally choose to have only five different groups, but you can have as many as you like. There are way more than five groups in the research packet.
We use our Social Studies Notebooks to record our findings about our tribe.
When each student finishes their research they then choose an artifact to create that represents their tribe. We have a VERY long talk about what artifacts are, and how they need to be museum quality because ultimately that is what we are going for. Students get into their tribal groups and each group has to create an artifact for each of the following areas; food, weapons, shelter, culture, and clothing.
Because students finish up their research and artifacts at all different times I make sure to have plenty of activities for them to do. Some are requirements, and some are choices.
The first requirement that I have is that students complete a set of task cards about Native Americans in Texas. These task cards have a QR code twist though that allows them to be self checking.
The culminating activity for this unit is for students to present their artifacts to the school with our Native American Museum. Each of our five 4th grade classrooms is transformed into a different room of a museum and hosts a Native American tribe. The students bring their artifacts and are the museum historians and curators. Every class in our school comes to tour the museum and the students explain their artifacts to each and every student. It is awesome!
If you have any ideas for Native Americans that you would like to share, please add them in the comments!