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        Using Supporting Evidence to Interpret Meaning - A Native American Folktale

        Students will watch a video clip with a Native American storyteller telling a traditional story. Students will use supporting evidence from the story to give meaning to oral and written texts.

        Lesson Summary


        Students listen to a Native American folktale and later give meaning to oral and written texts using supporting evidence from the story.

        Why is this an important concept?

        When learners can interpret meanings of phrases by using supporting evidence in a text, they are using contextual clues. These learners clearly comprehend the explicit and implied information that is available in the text.

        Grade Level:


        Suggested Time

        (1-2) 50-minute periods

        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Make copies of the following materials for each student: Shulayen video transcript and the Shulayen Meaning of Words handout.

        2.Tell students that words or phrases can have different meanings depending upon how they are used in a story and that when they are unsure what a word or phrase means they can figure out the meaning through clues or evidence found in the story.

        3. Write the following phrase on the board: "coyote spirit." Tell students that in the Native American story of Shulayen, the phrase "coyote spirit" is associated with a character in the story. Ask students to guess what the meaning could be. Ask students to use words that describe a coyote. Ask students to think about how words that describe a coyote could also be used to describe a boy. Write the students' answers on the board.

        4. Tell students they are going to watch a video featuring a California Indian storyteller. As they watch, ask students to listen for the words "coyote spirit" and think about what the phrase could mean within the story. Play the video.

        5. Once the video clip ends, ask students to share their ideas about what the storyteller meant by "coyote spirit." Write their ideas and any descriptive language on the board. Ask students if the expression "coyote spirit" could have more than one meaning and discuss. Ask students for evidence from the story that supports their ideas. Play the video a second time if necessary.

        6. Ask students to work with a partner and write their ideas and descriptive language on the Shulayen Meaning of Words handout.

        7. Next, tell students there are others terms and phrases in the story that also need an interpretation. Write "many stars" and "tender spirit" on the board.

        8. Play the video again. Ask students to listen for each of these phrases, then ask if there is more than one meaning and discuss. Ask students to continue to provide evidence that supports the meanings they have given. After viewing the video again ask students to write the meanings on the Shulayen Meaning of Words handout.

        9. Using the Shulayen Video Transcript, ask students to read the text and identify each phrase by circling "coyote spirit," "many stars"and "tender spirit." Next ask students to identify a phrase that could be the same in meaning as "many stars" and circle that phrase. (This phrase is "spots on her face.")

        For students who need additional teacher guidance:

        1. Ask students what they know about coyotes. List the various responses.

        2. Next, tell students the words they used to describe coyotes could also be used to describe people.

        3. Tell students they are about to watch a video featuring a California Indian storyteller. Ask them to listen to her say the words "coyote spirit" in her story of Shulayen, a Native American girl.

        4. Play the video and pause it after the storyteller says "coyote spirit." Ask students to give "coyote spirit" a meaning for the story.

        5. Use the same play, pause and discuss technique for the terms "many stars" and "tender spirit." Ask students to provide a reason or evidence as to why they think their meaning applies to the story.

        Part II: Assessment

        Using the Shulayen Meaning of Words text, ask students to give a meaning to the phrases in bold. Once they give a meaning for each phrase, ask students to write a sentence stating why they think the meaning is correct.


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