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        Hiawatha: Identify Cultural Influences - Lesson Plan | Weston Woods

        In this lesson plan, students identify aspects of Native American life represented in Henry Wadsworth Longfellow's epic poem, “The Song of Hiawatha."

        Lesson Summary


        Students identify aspects of Native American life represented in the poem and illustrations of Hiawatha, illustrated by Susan Jeffers, based upon the epic poem, The Song of Hiawatha by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow.

        Why is this an important concept?

        Learners expand their thinking and their comprehension of texts when they consider how culture influences the characters and plot. For example, cultural influences can help explain a character's motivation or could explain the conflict in a text.

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        Media Resources


        The Lesson

        Part I: Learning Activity

        1. Make copies of the Native American Life and Culture handout and distribute to each student.

        2. Explain to students that they will watch a video segment presenting a portion of the classic epic poem Hiawatha, written by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow. Longfellow wrotethe original poem in 1855 because he was intrigued by Native American culture. Consider watching the entire segment one time without asking students to take notes. Whilewatching the segment, ask students to identify aspects of Native American life and culture in the 1800’s that are depicted in the poem.

        3. Watch the segment a second time. Ask students to take notes on the Native American Life and Culture handout and then discuss in small groups.

        For students who needadditional guidance:

        Consider pausing the video at intervals,allowing the students an opportunity to take notes on the various segments.

        Part II: Assessment

        Students select one aspect of Native Americanlife depicted in the poem and illustrate it. On the back of their illustration,students write an explanation of their illustration and what aspects of NativeAmerican culture it depicts.

        Portfolio: The illustration and writtenexplanation may be added to student portfolios to provide evidence that theyhave met this performance indicator.


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