Author:
Lorna Loy, Brenda Beyal
Subject:
Literature, Elementary English Language Arts, History, Science
Material Type:
Activity/Lab, Lesson Plan
Level:
Lower Elementary, Upper Elementary
Tags:
  • Coyote
  • Language Arts
  • Lesson Plan
  • Myths
  • Native American
  • Paiute
  • Trickster
  • Wildfires
    License:
    Creative Commons Attribution Non-Commercial
    Language:
    English
    Media Formats:
    Text/HTML

    Education Standards

    How Beaver Lost the Fur on His Tail

    How Beaver Lost the Fur on His Tail

    Overview

    Tookwee’nup, legends, are Paiute stories told during the winter months. They are mythical, often humorous, and they contain a moral. Tookwee’nup teach Paiute children why things are like they are. The stories give spiritual instruction and expose the children to human characteristics that we all possess. This lesson uses this Paiute tale to help students learn about fire myth patterns, wildfires and develop vocabulary. 

    Details

    • Time frame: 1 Class period, 60 minutes 
    • Format (synchronous, asynchronous, face-to-face, virtual, etc.): Whole group
    • Cultural Consultants on the writing of the book: Karma Grayman, Dorena Martineau, Arthur Richard, Eleanor Tom and Rita Walker
    • Adapted by: LeeAnn Parker
    • Illustrated by: Molly Trainor
    • Authors: Orignal lesson by Margaret Olderog, modified by Brenda Beyal and Lorna Loy   

     

    Goals and Outcomes

     

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

    • Improve comprehension by reading the Paiute tail "How Beaver Lost the Fur on His Tail."
    • Identify and relate how characters respond to challenges and events. 
    • Summarize the text and decide the theme of the story.
    • Learn more about wildfires. 
    • Share at least two things they learned about the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah.


     

     

    Background Knowledge

    Teacher Background Knowledge

    Paiute Tribal Group in Utah
    The teacher needs to be familiar with the Paiute tale "How Beaver Lost the Fur on His Tail," theme of the story, purpose of traditional Native American tales, and be able to explain to the students that traditional storytellers used these stories not only for entertainment but also to teach lessons about life through the characters and the consequences of their choices. The resource titled, "Native American Storytelling" gives a summary of storytelling that teachers can use to pick main points they feel are important to teach to their students. Take time to learn more about the Paiute people from the resources below, choose several aspects of culture and traditional ways you would like to share with your students. 

    The Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU) is one of eight sovereign nations within Utah. There are five tribal groups but three of the five have two distinct and separate nations each that are  recognized by the federal government. PITU and the San Juan Southern Paiute Tribe are the two which are part of the Paiute tribal group. Within the PITU there are five constituent bands; Kanosh, Koosharem, Shivwits, Ceder, and Indian Peaks. Their traditional lands range from high mountains near Cedar City to deep canyons, and forests to deserts all through Utah’s southwest. There are 10 parcels of land that comprise their reservation lands located in four Utah counties. They traditionally knew where water sources were located and became experts at dry farming. They were experts at identifying edible plants and harvesting wild game.

    Fire Myths
    Explain that almost all cultures have a myth that explains how fire came into the world. Fire myths usually follow this pattern: 

    • The people have no fire. 
    • A hero gets fire, usually by a clever trick. 
    • Characters find that fire is very useful. 
    • But fire also brings evil/danger with it.

    Student Background Knowledge
    It would be helpful if students had prior knowledge of several decoding strategies such as using context clues, dividing words into syllables, identifying root words, prefixes and suffixes. 

    Students should also be able to discuss and work together in partners or groups. 
     

     

    Lesson Preparation

     

    Initial Preparation

    • Preview the story and become familiar with the characters, their problems and the solutions to those problems. Determine how the students in your class might relate the story to their own experiences; think of an experience of your own that you can share with the class.
    • Read through the entire lesson including teacher background information, vocabulary list, to ensure you understand the materials. Choose what information you will be sharing with the students about the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah. 
    • Print Wildfires 101 handout, one for each student.
    • Preview the video Wildfires 101, National Geographic.

    Materials Needed

    • Digital copy of the PITU traditional tale "How Beaver Lost the Fur on HIs Tail" or copies of the story for paired reading (downloadable and printable book format).
    • Wildfires 101 handout
    • Blank paper and pencil

    Strategies for Diverse Learners

    Students who struggle with writing their ideas can be paired or grouped with other students to complete the project; students can illustrate their finished writing pieces with images or characters from the story.
    Gifted students can be challenged by creating puppet plays or storytelling sessions, using props, puppets, music, etc. The lesson can be adapted to facilitate the struggling student by using paired reading or buddy-share sessions.
     

     

    Lesson Procedure

    Vocabulary: ornament, marveled, strut, envying, vanity

    Lesson

    • Show students the book, title, author, illustrator. Ask students what they notice and ask questions to activate curiosity.
      • What do you see?
      • Does this look like the story will be fiction or nonfiction?
      • How do you think Beaver lost the fur on his tail?
    • Share that today students will be listening to a tale shared by the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah (PITU). This tale can be considered a myth. At the beginning of the book it states the following, “Tookwee’nup, legends, are Paiute stories told during the winter months. They are mythical, often humorous, and they contain a moral. Tookwee’nup teach Paiute children why things are like they are. The stories give spiritual instruction and expose the children to human characteristics that we all possess.”  Myths are not just stories but serve a purpose in Paiute culture. They are sacred tales that are passed down from one generation to the next. They are as important today as they were in times past. 
    • Share two pieces of information about the Paiute Indian Tribe of Utah you learned in the background information.
    • Introduce the vocabulary words one at a time along with the sentences they are used in. Have students turn to a neighbor or to their table group and together write a definition using the context clues. Have students also decide if it is a noun, adjective, adverb etc. and using their prior knowledge of decoding strategies (syllables, prefixes and so on) give as much information as they can about the word. 
      • ornament- pg. 2 “Beaver could think of no other animal with as fine an ornament as his tail.”
      • marveled- pg. 1 “His fur was sleek and beautiful, and the other animals marveled at how his fur shimmered in the morning sun.”
      • strut- pg. 1 “He was a proud creature, and he loved to strut around.” 
      • envying- pg. “With his tail held up, he loved to strut along on his travels among the other animals, and he often felt their envying gazes.” 
      • vanity- pg. “It was only your vanity that burned your tail.” 
    • Read the story and then hold a discussion with the students to broaden understanding of the story and reinforce text details, setting, problem/conflict, plot, theme, character, point of view and resolution. Discuss the moral of the story and share how they can use the teaching in their life. Share a story about a time in your life that was similar to the experiences of any of the characters in the story.
    • Explain that almost all cultures have a myth that explains how fire came into the world. Fire myths usually follow this pattern: 
      • The people have no fire. 
      • A hero gets fire, usually by a clever trick. 
      • Characters find that fire is very useful. 
      • But fire also brings evil/danger with it.
    • Ask students if the Paiute tale followed the pattern above. 
    • Refer back to the story and reread page 8 and the first paragraph on page 9. Pose the following questions and discuss the responses of the students, asking them to defend their answers:
      • Who is right, Beaver or Wolf?
      • How can they both be right?
    • Guide students to answer the same questions for fires in the forest. Let the students know that they will be learning about wildfires and the goal today is to understand more about what they are, if they are helpful and how to prevent them. 
    • Pass out the handout and instruct the students to answer questions as they watch the video. Tell them you are going to pause the video periodically so they can complete their answers. Show the video.
    • Discuss the video and refer back to the questions asked previously about who is right. Share information from the article, How Plants Use Fire (And Are Used By It). Have students do a 3 minute brain drain by writing down what they learned today and at least three things they wonder about. 

    Extensions

    • The arts, especially the visual arts and performance arts, provide excellent potential for lesson plan extensions. Have students act out parts of the story and have students guess what part of the story they are portraying. 
    • Use the story as an introduction to research adaptations of animals to their environment.
    • Review the rules for fire safety in the home. 
    • Prepare a lesson on the moral of the story. 
    • Read other fire myths and compare and contrast with the Paiute story. 

    Spotlight
    U.S. Department of the Interior Interagency Hotshot Crews (IHC)- Native American firefighters
     

    Assessments

     

    The teacher will assess student's learning by listening to student responses during discussions and reviewing the movie worksheet and end of lesson brain drain.  

    Additional Resources

    • Excellent lesson plans can be found at the US Forest Service website.   
    • Coyote Steals Fire, the BYU ARTS Partnership Native American Curriculum Initiative in partnership with the Northwestern Band of the Shoshone Nation created two arts integrated lessons to be used in the classroom.  
    • Give students an opportunity to listen to the book, "Coyote Steals Fire” and create a work of art.