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Impact II: Projects & Lesson Plans: Knots on a Legend Rope

HOW IT WORKS
Knots on a Legend Rope is an interdisciplinary program that taps into the Multiple Intelligences philosophy and gives students a key to Native American culture. The initial activity is a trip to the Museum of Natural History. Groups of two or more students observe dioramas of North American mammals that played an important role for Native Americans. The students take notes, which become part of their research portfolios, and then draw two sketches of the dioramas using charcoal pencils first and then pastels. A group of students can photograph or videotape the dioramas for reference purposes. Next, the children write and word-process reports about the animals, and use clip art to insert pictures. They proofread and edit their work on the computer. The teacher’s task is to guide the students and give them individual help when needed. Then the students read and discuss books written by Paul Goble, whose legends carry students deep into Native American culture. They read and analyze Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling, which proposes in a very unusual and entertaining way how the world was created. After class discussions, the students create their own original legends and poems. The culminating activity is publishing a big book: Native American Animal Stories. The teacher laminates and binds the children’s drawings with the matching printed legends and poems into the book. Finally, a rope will be tied to the binding of the book. Every time a person reads a legend, she/he will tie a knot on the rope as a symbol of a lasting relationship and of deep appreciation for the valuable lessons of the past.

STUDENTS
This program was initiated in grade four of a dual-language gifted class, but students of all grades, technological backgrounds, and learning styles can participate. Cooperative groups, individuals, or full classes can work on this interdisciplinary unit throughout the school year. 

THE STAFF
Karina Maceczek has been teaching bilingual and ESL classes at P.S. 200 for nine years. Karina is presently involved in curriculum writing for the Globe Program and the Board of Education as well as the Action Research Project and the D&D project conducted by Brown University and NYU.

WHAT YOU NEED
The program requires a class trip to the Museum of Natural History. In the museum, students will need worksheets for note taking, paper for drawing (12x24), charcoal pencils, and pastels. A camera and a video camera would be a plus for documenting the steps of the program. Suggested literature for class discussions is The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Longfellow; Buffalo Woman, Dream Wolf, and The Girl Who Loved Wild Horses by Paul Goble; Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault; and Just So Stories by Rudyard Kipling. Students need access to research software and at least one classroom computer. This project can be also done in cooperation with the school computer lab. Software applications include Grolier’s Encyclopedia and the San Diego Zoo’s Animals in Their World.

OVERALL VALUE
The program is a wonderful opportunity to grasp the lessons of the past. The unit opens a broad path of exploration, research, and discovery, and helps students understand the culture of Native North Americans and their interaction with the environment. The close links between the subject areas make the learning process meaningful and valuable. The program exposes the students to innovative strategies and methods of teaching and learning. The parts of the program are easy to adapt for social studies and science class projects.

Karina Maceczek's
Dissemination Packet

(pdf file: requires Adobe Acrobat Reader)

CURRICULUM AREAS
Language Arts
Science
Social Studies
Technology
Art

GRADES
3-8

MORE INFORMATION
Karina Maceczek
P. S. 2 00
The Benson Elementary School
1940 Benson Ave.
Brooklyn, NY 11214
(718) 236-5466
Fax: (718) 232-3428
Kmaceczek@aol.com

 

IMPACT II Catalog 2000-2001
(pdf file: requires
Adobe Acrobat Reader).

 

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