The Greedy Porcupine: A Shoshone Tale

The Greedy Porcupine: A Shoshone Tale

Details

  • Time frame: 2 class sessions - 45 minute each
  • Whole class, small groups and/or individual
  • Authors - Revise lesson by Lorna Loy and Brenda Beyal

 

Goals and Outcomes

As a result of this activity, students will accomplish the following:

  1. Students will become familiar with a traditional Shoshone tale, "The Greedy Porcupine,"  written and illustrated by children from the Northwestern Band (Utah) of the Shoshone Nation.
  2. Share two things they learned about Native American storytelling with classmates. 
  3. Students will identify setting, characters, the problem, the solution and the lesson or moral of the story. 
  4. The character mapping activity will increase comprehension of the story and provide the basis for the discussion in character education, tying in with the moral of the story.

Background Knowledge

Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation

The Shoshone, Paiute, Bannock and Ute people are related, and call themselves Newe or Neme (the People). Prior to contact with Europeans, the Newe groups formed small extended-family groupings that traveled extensively as semi-nomadic hunter-gatherers to survive in the harsh environment of the Great Basin desert. The Northwestern Shoshone traveled with the changing season. In the early autumn, the Northwestern Shoshone moved into the region near what is now Salmon, Idaho to fish. In the spring and summer, the Northwestern band traveled around southern Idaho and throughout Utah. During these months, they spent their time gathering seeds, roots, and berries and socializing with each other. Late summer was root digging time and smaller-game hunting time. Around late October, the band moved into western Utah and parts of Nevada for the annual gathering of pine nuts. The nutrient-rich nuts were an important part of the Shoshone diet. The area around what is now called Franklin and Preston, Idaho, was a permanent wintering home of the Northwestern Shoshone. It was known as Moson Kahni, which means Home of the Lungs. The rocks in the area looked sponge-like and made the Shoshone think of lungs. In this area and the rest of Cache Valley were natural places for the shoshone make their homes. More information about the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation can be accessed in the resources below. 

The resource, "Native American Storytelling" gives a summary of storytelling for teachers to use in choosing main points that they feel are important to teach to thier students. The book includes a glossary with words in the native language, as well as vocabulary and teaching points. The teacher should explain that traditional stories from the Native American people in Utah have been handed down from one storyteller to another over the ages. The story is adapted each time, depending upon the individual storyteller, but the same message is taught or reinforced in the storyline. Teachers need to be able to explain to students that Native American traditional storytellers used legends, folktales and fables for many reasons. These stories recount the history of the people, they are used to entertain children, to educate children about morals and values, to teach life lessons through the characters and the consequences of thier choices. In this story, the lesson Porcupine learns is something we all should learn (to be grateful for the gifts and talents we are given, and not use them wrongly for our own pleasure or entertainment or gain). Have the students watch for the lesson Porcupine learns. The lesson Porcupine learns is something we all should learn (to be grateful for the gifts and talents we are given, and not use them wrongly for our own pleasure or entertainment or gain). Have the students watch for the lesson Porcupine learns. According to Shoshone culture, everyone should be proud of who he or she is, not envious of others. Everyone should also be grateful for what they have and avoid complaining. Everyone is given special gifts and talents, which should be used appropriately. If talents are misused, they could be taken away.

Related Resources:

Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation

Utah American Indian Digital Archive

History To Go: Shoshone of Northern Utah

UEN: Utah Tribal Nations

 

Lesson Preparation

Initial Preparation

  • Preview the story for the theme and/or significant message, moral or lesson of the story. Porcupine's experiences teach us that our human nature is such that we want better and better. But in search of better and in receiving better, we let go of many good things which have been or could have been given to us. The good things given to us should leave us satisfied and happy but when we are greedy, we lose the good already obtained. Learn to make your choice wisely. According to Shoshone culture, everyone should be proud of who he or she is, not envious of others. Everyone should also be grateful for what they have and avoid complaining. Everyone is given special gifts and talents, which should be used appropriately. If talents are misused, they could be taken away.
  • Be prepared to guide the students through a prediction making session. 
  • Be prepared to guide the students through the character map. 
  • Choose how to share information about Native American storytelling (see attachment) and information about the Northwest Band of Shoshone tribe (see section on "Background Knowledge"). 

Material Needed

Diverse Learners

Differentiate by providing less complex character map templates — for those working to grasp the basics of stories and characters, more complex maps, with students ready to engage in more complex work.

Lesson Procedure

SESSION ONE: Time Frame: 45 minutes

Native American Storytelling

  1. Tell the students they will be reading a Native American traditional story, retold by the elders or storytellers from the Northwest Band of Shoshone tribe who are locate in Utah. Show them a map of this location - Utah - Indian Tribal Lands and help students locate the tribal lands. Give other background information to help students become familiar with the Northwestern Band of Shoshone Nation. 

  2. Share the purpose of Native American storytelling. See the pdf document attachment "Native American Storytelling"

Shared reading setting: read the story "The Greedy Porcupine" as a class. 

  1. Before reading, discuss any unfamiliar words. Review the vocabulary words. 
  2. Make predictions using the strategy "First Lines." First Lines helps students learn to make predictions about the content of what they are about to read or what is about to be read to them. It helps students focus their attention on what they can tell from the first lines of a story.     
    • Read aloud only the first line in the story.  
    • Ask students to make predictions for the reading based on the first sentence.
    • Engage the class in discussion about the predictions.
    • Encourage students to return to their original predictions after reading the text, assessing their original predictions and building evidence to support those predictions which are accurate. Students can create new predictions as well.
    • VARIATION - you can have your class use a graphic organizer for First Lines. Graphic organizer includes: the first line, the prediction(s), and explanation, rationale or evidence and revision. Your class will only fill all areas except the revision. Revision will be completed when the return to their original predictions after reading the text. 
  3. Have your class discuss the character traits of Porcupine (as a whole class). Teacher Note: A CHARACTER MAP is a graphic organizer that helps students learn about a character and how the character impacts and is impacted by setting, other characters, and plot. Use your own character map or the attached character map to lead your discussion. 
    • Discuss the main components of characterization, i.e., what a character says and thinks, what a characters looks like, how a character acts, and how others view and treat the character.
    • Discuss how characters impact and are impacted by other elements of literature, e.g., setting, characters, and plot.
    • Provide students with a character map graphic organizer and model how to use it. Using a class text(s) and a think aloud to illustrate your thinking; scaffold as needed.
    • As students read, have them complete the character map. After reading, have students fill in any missing parts; scaffold as needed.

Diverse Learners

  • Include writing as a way of organizing predictions and/or thoughts generated from discussions.
  • Have students work in groups and support each other as they make a prediction.
  • Remind students that there is not a "right" or "wrong" way to make predictions about a text.
  • Emphasize that they should be able to support their predictions from the information in the sentence.

SESSION TWO: Time Frame: 45 minutes

  1. Hand out copies of character map, found in the attachments of this lesson. Have students fill in the character guide with the name of the main character, Porcupine.
  2. As a whole class, instruct the students to brainstorm words from the story that might be used to describe the main character, and write the words on the board (5 minutes).
  3. Pair up the students and instruct them to work on the character map and complete it with their ideas and observations about the main character (15 minutes).
  4. Then complete a whole class character map. Or use the same character map you used in the previous session and revise the character map.
  5. Have some of the students share their responses in a whole-class setting (10 minutes).
  6. Discuss with the class the difference between how Porcupine felt before receiving the gift of the shooting arrows (a discussion about what the arrows really are might be good right now) and how the gift changed how he treated others. Ask the students: Why do you think he changed? Why do you think Shinob, the Great One, changed his gift? Do you think Porcupine deserved it? (10 minutes)

Diverse Learners

  • Scaffold your instruction by providing prompts for each section on your map. For example, in the "Character' Problem" box of your map, use prompts such as: Who are the main characters? Where does the story take place? What does Porcupine say to lead you to his problem? You can write in these prompts before printing or making copies of a character map intended for students to fill out independently. 
  • Differentiate by providing less complex character map templates — for those working to grasp the basics of stories and characters, more complex maps, with students ready to engage in more complex work.
  • Have the students complete story maps in pairs, being sure to partner a reader or writer who needs extra support with one who has more skill. Partners can also fill out a story map together after a Paired Reading activity.

Extensions

  1. This traditional tale provides opportunities for theater, creating poetry, art, science (a study on defense mechanisms of animals). 
  2. Students might choreograph a movement/dance performance that shows the storyline, using characters and movement set to music; character studies based upon other traditional tales where a lesson is taught via the story involving a character is another possible extension.

Assessment

 

Assessment of student learning and mastery can be conducted in a variety of ways, including:

  • Questioning
  • Assignments
  • Performances
  • Presentations
  • Observations
  • Product of Character Mapping

You may use the following questions to guide an informal assessment of prediction skills:

  • Do the predictions make sense to the story?
  • Can the student support their prediction with text evidence?
  • Can the student monitor and reflect on whether their prediction was correct or incorrect?
  • Can the student create new predictions?
  • Can the student return to the original predictions after reading text and build evident to support predictions or make new predictions?

Use the following questions to guide your assessment of cultural learning:

  • Can the student show on a map approximately where the Northwestern Band of Shoshone are located?
  • Can the student relate reasons why storytelling is important to the Native American people?

Additional Resources

Northwest Band of the Shoshone Nation: Official Website 

PBS: Circle of Stories - Circle of Stories uses documentary film, photography, artwork and music to honor and explore Native American storytelling.

University of Utah Digital Library: NWB Shoshone Nation - The Utah American Indian Digital Archive (UAIDA) is a gateway to the best resources regarding Utah's Indian tribes. With articles, books, government documents, tribal documents, oral histories, photographs, and maps pertaining to all 6 Utah tribes, this unique archive captures the complicated history of the tribes from multiple perspectives. 

Utah American Indian Digital Archive - The Utah American Indian Digital Archive (UAIDA) is a gateway to the best resources regarding Utah's Indian tribes. With articles, books, government documents, tribal documents, oral histories, photographs, and maps pertaining to all 6 Utah tribes, this unique archive captures the complicated history of the tribes from multiple perspectives. 

Smithsonian: Native Knowledge 360 - (NK360°) provides educators and students with new perspectives on Native American history and cultures. Most Americans have only been exposed to part of the story, as told from a single perspective through the lenses of popular media and textbooks. NK360° provides educational materials, virtual student programs, and teacher training that incorporate Native narratives, more comprehensive histories, and accurate information to enlighten and inform teaching and learning about Native America. NK360° challenges common assumptions about Native peoples and offers a view that includes not only the past but also the vibrancy of Native peoples and cultures today.

Native American Teaching Artist Roster - The Arts Education Program of the Utah Division of Arts & Museums (UDAM) maintains a teaching artist roster as a resource for grantees, schools and communities. Artists are accepted through a two panel process for artistic and educational merit. In 1996, the UDAM folk and traditional arts panel and the arts education panel ruled that folk and traditional artists may be recommended and approved as standard bearers in their art form by each respective and specific cultural community.

BYU ARTS Parentership: Lesson Plans - Founded as an initiative in the BYU-Public School Partnership, the BYU ARTS Partnership works to increase the quality and quantity of arts education in Utah elementary schools. BYU faculty, district administrators, and teachers collaborate to provide professional development programs and create materials and resources for teachers.