Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Course Redesign Update: June 3, Native American content plan

So, I've figured out a way to re-organize my plan for the Native American section to include a Hiawatha unit. I am glad about that, and I am pleased with the range of materials I'm now able to include; there are two weeks dedicated to Native American materials, so that is 16 units I get to include. Here is what I have planned:

  • 6 units based on Judson's books: I was really encouraged by the positive experiences some students had this year using Judson for their class projects too, so I feel good about including them all - they are organized geographically: Mississippi Valley-Great Lakes, Great Plains, California-Southwest, Pacific Northwest, Alaska, and Canada
  • 2 thematic units from Stith Thompson: I chose hero stories (that has been a big goal of mine based on the fantastic hero project a student did last year) and also animal wives and husbands; that unit will be a great option for comparing/contrasting with European fairy tales
  • 6 specific tribal units: Cherokee, Apache, Tejas, Sioux, Blackfeet, and Eskimo - there are so many more I could include... so in the future I will be developing more of these tribal units
  • 2 "literary" units: it turns out I can include exactly half of Longfellow's Hiawatha (up to his marriage with Minnehaha) and I also found a retelling of Schoolcraft (the source Longfellow used) - American Indian Fairy Tales, which gives a nice comparison and contrast since Hiawatha is in verse but the other retelling (by Larned) is in prose - and both of them have audio at LibriVox too
Speaking of audio, this is going to be the unit that is most short on audio, but luckily Grinnell's Blackfeet stories are at LibriVox! That's actually why I included the Blackfeet stories, but then I was thrilled to find out that it included the story of Kutoyis (Blood-Clot Boy) which is a hero legend I really wanted to include.

The hero materials throughout all these units is just excellent, and of course there are great trickster materials, and also lots of lovely creation stories and aetiological tales too. I really want to do a good job with the Native American part of the class, and I think this is going to give students more AND better opportunities to engage than in the old class where there was just one week of Native American material, not two, and the reading choice was just between Cherokee and California-Southwest.

What an improvement - I am so excited about it, and I'm going to focus for the next 10 days or so in order to get the Native American units all posted. They take longer to proofread (some of the Judson books are just from OCR, not from already digitized texts), so hopefully this way I can get them all proofread now and then give them a second proofing in August, just to make sure they really are good to go.

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