Title Gif

Forward | Objectives | Introduction | Assessing Needs | Characteristics of TNA Students
Learning Concepts | Instructional Strategies | Sample Lesson Plan

PART I (Teaching Activity)


Introduce the lesson through a story or narrative that covers the major aspects of the topic to be developed.


Writing a biography

What is it like to be famous? Most of us wouldn't know, but we certainly know people who have become famous. These are people that have become models in some way. Maybe they did something brave, or invented something fantastic, or discovered something incredible. They are people that have led interesting lives in some way. We admire them for doing what they did or showing us something we value. [Tell a brief story of a few famous people. The Encarta Encyclopedia, the Internet, or other common reference sources can provide ample material for a short summary. If you want to captivate students from specific backgrounds, use people from their heritage (Native American heroes, African American heroes, outstanding women, sports figures, actors, politicians from the area, environmentalists, whatever will catch your students' attention).

A math project

"My uncle once wanted a garden that would have all of his favorite foods in it. When he talked about it, we could just taste Aunt Lucy's cooking. Uncle Bob drew out his plan for a plot in the back yard. He had a rectangle with ten horizontal rows...."

"I have a friend in town who built her house using mainly newspapers mixed with cement and straw bales. Here are some pictures of the construction while it was taking place. She started with the living room...."


Ask students to comment on their background in the topic for the lesson. What do they know? What can they add to the discussion? In the writing project, they can tell a bit about someone they thinks had great qualities and why. In the math projects, they can tell what they know about planting a garden or building a shed. In a science project they can contribute ideas about lab results.

Create a Web around the Topic

Discuss relationships of concepts to topic, coming from a variety of points of view. How far does the topic reach? How many other disciplines in the institution/community  could become involved in contributing to learning about the topic? How much and what types of concepts/projects can the class handle?

PART II (Learning Activity)

A. Establish the model for the lesson.

Lay out the plan with the students, discuss the resources available for groups working in each segment of the topic, and assign students, at least most of them, to group projects. Remember to let students know why they are participating in the activity and how it relates to their lives and communities.

Note: If you are introducing a new skill, be sure to allow students plenty of time to observe and study a model before they are instructed to implement the activities. As they begin the activity, be available to provide feedback before they are left on their own.

Lay out the plan/activities

For non-linear thinkers, particularly Native Americans, a circle provides a good container to replace or add to the linear outline. Draw a circle and divide the circle in as many parts as you and your students feel are necessary to cover the topic. Four parts appeal a lot to Native Americans. They understand the number four (four directions, four stages of development on earth, four elements, etc...). Look at the circles and parts in the figures at the top of this page. Could they serve as an image to be modified for developing a topic in your area? Think outside of the traditional box for a minute and find out what comes to you.



If you use the model above, think of the center as the topic. The four parts can be anything you feel is appropriate for your topic and group. They could represent four activities that groups of students will develop. Following are some ideas for four-part plans to cover activities for one topic. Each row represents an individual/independent lesson approach.

Internet Links/Descriptions Power Point Presentation Written Report Show and Tell Projects
Blue Print Measures Carpeting and Tiling Landscaping Garden
Historical People Historical Places Historical Events Effects on the Present
Background Events Contributions Summary
Rivers Mountains People Animals
Types of Careers Employers Tasks Skills
Book Summary Chapter Collages Character Analysis Role Plays
Story Telling Writing Summary Structure Analysis New Endings
Business Plan Ledgers Management Issues Financing

If you observe the patterns in the circles above following the  title of this page, think of patterns you might add to your lesson "painting." A circle can contain many geometrical and natural figures that are very familiar in everyone's environment. Wouldn't it be fun to create art as you make assignments? Wow.


One important element to reinforce in any grouping is to recognize and reinforce the strengths of students who will be working in each group. By using the strengths of the members in each group, they will do their best work and others will learn from their insights.

PART III (Student Assessment)


Where standards and curriculum expectations have to be met, make sure that students understand how they will be graded and when projects are due.

Performance-based assessments work best with holistic learners. If you have both holistic and linear students, projects can include linguistic aspects, charts, and linear figures. In other words, vary the grading elements so that both linear and holistic learners have a chance to excel. In the four parts suggested above, a teacher can include a great variety of assignments to include the strengths of all learners. Points would thus be awarded for completing projects and, perhaps, for completing a short test over what students learned in the projects.

PART IV (Other Assessments)

In reviewing your success in implementing you lesson, consider the following aspects.

1. Teaching

1.      Did I involve students in the introduction (Story and Discussion)? If not, who was left out and why? If so, can I make the introduction even better by adding graphics or other media?

2.      What did I learn from student comments and do I know where the strengths are likely to lie in my class/group/student?

3.      Did I have enough variety in the project and include lots of visuals in the activities?

4.      Did I offer enough models for observation before diving into activities?

5.      How could I add more humor during the session (if I haven't already).

2. Learning

1.      Were most students interested and involved in the activities? If some were not, what could I do, if anything, to get them to participate more?

2.      Did the groups work well together?

3.      Did the activities/assessments promote learning among linear and holistic students?

4.      How did my students feel about the lesson, according to what I can observe and hear?