Animals of Keepunumuk: Native American Crafts and Storytelling

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Looking for meaningful Thanksgiving activity for grades K-2? Combine paper crafts with storytelling and explore the Thanksgiving story from the perspective of Native peoples.

Native American Crafts and Stories for Thanksgiving

Celebrate Thanksgiving and Native American Heritage Month with this Native American craft activity for lower elementary students. The step-by-step, standards-aligned lesson plan and printable templates provide everything you need for a meaningful and engaging lesson centered onKeepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story, a beautiful picture book that tells the story of Thanksgiving from the Native American perspective.

The Thanksgiving story that most people are familiar with, that has been told throughout American history, only celebrates the Pilgrims. What is often not mentioned, is the role that members of the Wampanoag Tribe had in helping the Pilgrims through their first winter. And without Weeâchumun (corn), the Native people wouldn’t have helped. This important picture book honors both the history and tradition that surround the story of the first Thanksgiving and celebrates Native American culture.

What's Inside:

  • Standards-aligned lesson plan
  • Step-by-step instructions
  • Printable animal templates.

Lesson details:

  • Read Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story to the class.
  • Explain to the class that they are going to continue the story themselves. Re-read pages 19-21 of Keepunumuk: Weeâchumun’s Thanksgiving Story to the class, and then ask them about each of the animals’ personalities. Using the text, help the class to talk about the personalities of each animal.
  • Demonstrating with the puppets, explain how the different animals use their body parts and senses in different ways to see, hear, grasp objects, protect themselves, move from place to place, and seek, find, and take in food, water, and air. Or, elicit the students to discover those facts through a series of prompts.
  • Encouraging them to use their imaginations, have the students come up with a play about the animals and act it out using the puppets they made. Encourage them to come up with the plot through a group discussion with prompts.
  • Have students plan a “set” for the story with props that may be available, such as a sheet over a table or other items such as rocks, moss, etc. You can also color backdrops on paper with crayons./li>
  • Assign or have students volunteer to act out the play in front of the class. Stress that the animals have to move, grab things, and behave in a realistic manner.

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