At DAA, we teach science and social studies (and reading, writing, speaking, listening, and so much more!) through expeditions. Expeditions center around a specific topic and allow students to dive really deep into the content. In 3rd grade, our first expedition is called Our Great State: The Early History of Michigan. We have been reading many texts to learn about Native Americans and the legends that they told to make sense of the world around them.
As part of each expedition, we try to bring in experts in the content that we are studying to share their expertise with our students. We were lucky enough to welcome a Native American storyteller, Genot Picor, into our classroom last week. Genot taught the students so much about Native American life and story telling! First, he told us many traditional stories. Students were involved in using sign language to tell the stories as well as acting out the stories. It was so fun and engaging, and made it so real to have the stories come to life in our classroom.
For the second part of our expert visit, Genot split the students into groups and they got to explore four different stations. At one station, they wrote their own ending to a Native American legend. At a second station, they played a stick and ring game that Native American children played to practice spear fishing. At a third station, they played a game called "Finding your Way Home" that Native Americans used to practice the skill of memorizing landmarks to find their way home. Finally, at the fourth station, students analyzed animal prints and used evidence to guess which native animal made the prints.
In their own words, students said that they loved learning from an expert because "it was so much more fun and interesting to hear a story and act it out then just read it from a book"! Thank you, Genot, for making our content come alive for our students!!