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Creation Stories

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Keywords: Traditional Storytelling, Native Americans, American Indians, Creation Stories
Subject(s): Writing, Podcasting, Technology, Reading, English/Language Arts
Grades 6 through 12
Planned By: Emily Wilson
Original Author: Emily Wilson, Sunderland
Students are split into groups and asked to read and research American Indian “creation stories” as a way to understand the actual origins of American Literature. They are provided the base stories and research of the Cherokee, Apache, and Shawnee cultures. The information is provided in forms of text, and streaming video, web quests and related pod casts. As part of the research, students are asked to read, listen to pod casts, music and relate the details and similarities of the stories. This portion of the lesson is a group report. Students agree to work as a team to gather the information, cite sources and report their findings to the class, both in-class and online by providing their research report in a classroom webpage online. They will use the Clip Art Station School Subscription library to download photographs, sounds, and clip art to enhance their projects.

They will conduct Internet research using various search engines via available school laptops and computers. They cite their sources by copying and pasting websites into storyboard worksheets and script writing worksheets from the Worksheet Station site. This will be perfect for podcast planning and writing brief summaries about each site. They will use their own research from their information and chapter books to create an online report page that includes an introduction, vocabulary and quotes, related websites, reviews, and graphics. The groups will write and record an audio script using the Tool Factory audio software.

During this portion of the project, the students work collaboratively to develop comprehension skills, to research and cite sources, to publish on the Internet, and also develop a podcast.

The students include the following sections for their podcast:
• An introduction to the tribe
• Related vocabulary
• Quotes about the topic (sources cited)
• Book and/or article reviews
• Graphics
• Interviews, related information, and stories
• Related poems
• Interesting facts

Finally, students will be asked to create a fantasy creation story for their own individual fictitious tribe. They will write a script, record their stories with the headset and microphone, and edit them using the Tool Factory. They will also enhance the recordings with supporting sound effects, favorite tribal music of their own choice. Students will also be encouraged to get out of the classroom and use the portable Olympus Digital Voice Recorders to record interviews at various tribal locations in order to add ambiance and an understanding through audio of their tribe’s environment. Olympus Digital SLR cameras will also be used to help students creatively express themselves as to their tribe’s culture, clothing and geographic location.

Once completed the students will post their own creation story podcasts in the classroom’s online course and Web Page Station server. They will be instructed to write a short abstract and lead-in of their tribe’s fantasy creation story for posting on the discussion board.

The final portion of the project involves critical review of not only their tribal story, but also to listen to at least three other student’s podcasts and participate by posting comments on the discussion board.

The originality of this assignment and ability to podcast is a true motivator for students to read and think through the origin stories. Students will learn to compare, contrast and write in detail. They will have to explain the fantasy culture they have created, and perform their work as they read and produce their pod cast.

Through the classroom’s online discussion board, the students will choose the top four fantasy tribe creation story podcasts. Their blog postings will include a critque of the overall angle, a comparison and similarities against the actual tribe's researched by the groups in the first part of the lesson.
Materials: English/Language Arts