There are many books related to Native Americans of the Eastern Woodlands that can help students better visualize and understand the people, their history, and their present. Some short picture books can be used as a whole class read-alouds, where other longer books can be used as longer novel studies. Using Storyboard That, students can create a plot summary of the book using visuals and descriptions.
The story used in this example is Thirteen Moons on Turtle's Back: A Native American Year of Moons by Joseph Bruchac. It's a traditional story that stems from many different First Nations spiritual beliefs about thirteen cycles of the moon in a year along with the change and wonder of the seasons. This picture book is appropriate for ages 5 and up.
Here are some other stories that relate to the Indigenous People of the Eastern Woodlands:
I am Not a Number is the story of eight-year-old Irene who was removed from her First Nations family to live in a residential school. Written by Jenny Kay Dupuis, it speaks about the experiences of her grandmother in Canada’s residential school system. This picture book is appropriate for ages 7-11.
Malian's Song by Margaret M. Bruchac is the story of a young girl living with her Abenaki family near Montreal in 1759. It is based on the true story of English Major Robert Rogers’ brutal and devastating attack on her village and the resilience and strength displayed by the Abenaki in the aftermath.
1621: A New Look At Thanksgiving (National Geographic) by Catherine O’Neill Grace and Margaret M. Bruchac tells the story of Thanksgiving from a more balanced and historically accurate viewpoint using photographs taken of a re-enactment at Plimoth Plantation.
The Birchbark House by Louise Erdrich is a highly acclaimed series about life in mid 1800s America through the eyes of 7-year-old Omakayas, or Little Frog, who lives with her Ojibwa family on Lake Superior’s Madeline Island. This chapter book is appropriate for ages 8-12.
The Warriors by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) is a modern story about a boy named Jake Forrest, an Iroquois boy who loves lacrosse. He moves from his reservation to live with his mother in Washington D.C. where he struggles to maintain his cultural identity while fitting in at an elite private school. This chapter book is appropriate for ages 9-12.
Eagle Song by Joseph Bruchac (Abenaki) is another modern story about a boy named Danny Bigtree who encounters racism when he moves from his Mohawk reservation to Brooklyn, NY. Danny finds inspiration from his Iroquois heroes to stand up for himself.
Kunu's Basket: A Story From Indian Island by Francis, Lee DeCora (Penobscot Indian Nation in Maine and the Winnebago Tribe of Nebraska) is a contemporary story about a boy named Kunu learning the traditional method of basket weaving and the importance of patience and perseverance. It includes an author’s note about the traditions and importance of basketmaking in Penobscot Nation culture.
Rabbit's Snow Dance by James and Joseph Bruchac playfully retells the Iroquois folktale that teaches children about the changing of the seasons and the importance of patience and being a good friend. This picture book is appropriate for ages 3-7.
Giving Thanks: A Native American Good Morning Message by Chief Jake Swamp (Mohawk) is a colorful picture book that depicts the special message of gratitude that is spoken at Native American ceremonies of the Iroquois.
(These instructions are completely customizable. After clicking "Use This Assignment With My Students", update the instructions on the Edit Tab of the assignment.)
Objective: Summarize the story in a 3-5 cell storyboard describing the main events in the beginning, middle, and end of the story.
Grade Level 5-6
Difficulty Level 3 (Developing to Mastery)
Type of Assignment Individual
Type of Activity: Plot Diagrams and Narrative ArcsCommon Core Standards
(You can also create your own on Quick Rubric.)
Each of the cells represents a different part of the story. The cells are in order from beginning to end.
One cell is out of order, or the storyboard is missing important information.
Important information is missing and/or two or more cells are out of order.
Cells include images that accurately show events in the story and do not get in the way of understanding.
Most images show the events of the story, but some are incorrect.
The images are unclear or do not make sense with the story.
Descriptions match the images and show the change over time.
Descriptions do not always match the images or mention the importance of the event.
Descriptions are missing or do not match the images.
Spelling and Grammar
Spelling and grammar is mostly accurate. Mistakes do not get in the way of understanding.
Spelling is very inaccurate and hinders full understanding.
Text is very difficult to understand.