Buffalo Woman, Death of the Iron Horse, Her Seven Brothers, and Star Boy Lesson Plan
- Grades: 3–5
About this book
About this book
About this book
- Buffalo Woman, Death of the Iron Horse, Her Seven Brothers, and Star Boy, all by Paul Goble. (Multiple copies if possible.)
- chart paper
Set Up and Prepare
Explain to your students that Native Americans told legends by word of mouth to explain their culture, religion, and way of life. Many legends have been passed down through time from generation to generation. We can learn a lot about the Plains Native Americans by reading legends about them.Have the students identify the different elements of a legend and create a class chart.Elements: (most legends usually have the following elements)1. Explains how something came to be2. Based on a heroic character or event3. Teaches the reader about different cultures and belief systems4. Contains events that were thought to be true when created5. Teaches a lesson (Theme)6. Problem & solution7. Setting After creating the class chart, I usually find a short legend about the Plains Native Americans to read to the students aloud. I ask the students to see if they can identify the different elements of a legend as I read the story. When I am finished reading, as a class we complete the class “Elements of a Legends Chart”.(I model the activity with a short Native American legend rather than a Paul Goble book because it doesn’t take as much time. There are many books you can find that contain a collection of short legends. A colleague recommended Spider Spins a Story edited by Jill Max. The students will be reading plenty of his books during the next few days.)
After modeling with the students, I have them chose a Paul Goble book to read, and then have them complete the “Elements of a Legend” chart identifying the elements of the legend from that book. Students repeat this process and read at least three different legends by Paul Goble.
I have multiple copies of several of Paul Goble legends so it is easy to have many students reading the same book at one time. I usually have the students sit in groups with other students that are reading the same book; that way they can discuss with each other. When they are finished reading that book they fill out the “Elements of a Legend” chart and then switch to the next book.
(If you are only able to obtain one or two copies of his books you can have the students read aloud or pair read.)
Supporting All Learners
There are many new vocabulary words that coincide with the Native American culture. My students usually are good about inferring the meaning of new words by using the pictures or context clues. However, I encourage them to look a new word up in a dictionary and we keep a Native American Vocabulary Dictionary in the front of the room for all to use. As students look up new words they write them down in the Dictionary.
Students can research a Native American tribe from a different area of the United States. When they have collected enough information about that tribe's lifestyle and culture they can make up their own legend about that tribe. Challenge your students to included as many elements of a legend as they can. You might even use the "Elements of a Legend" worksheet as a pre-writing activity.
After 2-3 days of reading the legends, I have the students gather at the carpet area with their charts. I have them focus on one element of the chart; “Teaches the reader about different cultures and belief systems." I ask the students to reread this area on all of their charts. The students are then asked to turn to the person next to them and discuss what they learned about the Plains Native American culture by reading the legends. We then have a class discussion. Next, I have the students complete the “What I've learned about the Plains Native Americans” worksheet independently. Students are then paired and they compare their lists.