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Native Americans lesson plan

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Justus-Liebig-Universität Giessen

FB05 - Sprache, Literatur, Kultur

Institut für Anglistik

Seminar: Using Media in the Foreign Language Classroom

SS 2007

Lecturer: Miriam Kämmerer

Names of presenters:Sandy Ackermann, Melanie Becker, Lisa Kupetz,

Oliver Schnick, Janina Zeisbrich



Title of presentation:

Native Americans

Age Group for our project:

A 10th grade in a Gymnasium

Time Frame and Reasons for the topic:

Our unit is supposed to consist of 10 lessons in order to give the pupils a good overview about Native Americans.

We chose this topic because we think it is necessary that pupils know about other cultures other than their own. When thinking of America, most pupils think of the Americans but forget the fact that the Native Americans ( Indians) still exist and have to live in Reservations. With this unit we want the pupils to broaden their horizon and view on different cultures and ways of living.

Media used:

For our unit we worked with the movie “Smoke Signals”, as well as the screenplay that goes with it. Furthermore we want to encourage the pupils to work with the internet for research and write emails to the missionary couple in Idaho for further information.


Course Outline: 10 lessons

Lesson 1:

  • Mindmap about the five categories Native American tribes, Integration into Society, Modernization and Reservations, Tradition and Beliefs, History
  • Class splitting into five groupseach group will deal with one of the above mentioned topics and receives a worksheet concerning their topic
  • Voc. Sheet

Lesson 2 and 3:

  • Groups will do research about their topic in the computer lab
  • They have to plan and compose mini-presentations about their topic, as well as a sheet of paper with all essential information which will be glued onto a poster

Lesson 4:

  • Each group presents what they have found out about their topic (5-10 minutes)
  • Afterwards, there will be a discussion/feedback about the five presentations
  • Each group will glue their sheet of paper with the most essential information onto a poster
  • Posters will be hung up in the classroom, visible for all the other groups

Lesson 5 and 6:

  • The pupils will receive an excerpt of the screenplay of “Smoke Signals”
  • The have to read it in class and discuss the stereotypes and characters they can find out while reading the excerpt
  • They should then talk about how they would have done the scene in the movie
  • Scene is shown
  • Discussion follows
  • Homework: they receive a worksheet with a summary of the movie and should then write where the scene we showed them could be placed within the movie

Lesson 7:

  • homework comparison
  • some pupils should read out their homework
  • a short vocabulary test follows

Lesson 8 and 9:

  • In these two lessons, the pupils will see the movie “Smoke Signals”
  • As a while-viewing activity they will receive a worksheet with questions concerning the movie and its characters etc.

Lesson 10:

  • The last lesson will be used for discussion of the while-viewing worksheet and the movie in general
  • The results of the email project will be discussed and evaluated
  • An end discussion of the whole unit will follow and close this lesson, as well as the unit “Native Americans”


Smoke Signals: A Screenplay by Sherman Alexie (Author). Publisher: Miramax Books (1998)

Smoke Signals: The movie (1998)


Online resources:


























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