Teaching Early Ojibwe and Seasonal Cycles

Guest blogger: Jessica Grabe, Seward Montessori

This is the third year that I have taught Minnesota Studies and the second using iPads.  At the beginning of the year the students very much gravitate to the one-to-one textbook using iPads.  This is new to them, and quickly draws in their attention right from the start. 

The unit I would like to share with you is using Chapter 4: Early Ojibwe as the springboard to a lesson and an assessment.  I began with the students taking notes on the vocabulary for the chapter.  The student then chose many different ways to learn the content from the chapter: partner reading, whole group reading, listening, and individual reading. Throughout the chapter learning process the students participated in discussion, pair shares, and inside-outside circle collaboration.  

ojibwe seasons
Student activity, courtesy of Jessica Grabe.

When the chapter content had been read and discussed, table groups completed a sorting activity.  The multi-ability groups were put together and each group contained 4-6 students.  The activity began with an X on their tables and a basket full of slips of paper that contained words and phrases, all of which were facts from their chapter.  They then worked collaboratively splitting up the slips according to the season.  Each quadrant of the X representing a different season.  This activity engaged the groups and led to both teaching and learning opportunities. When they were finished they raised their hand to be checked.  If there had been any mistakes, I would pull out the incorrect slips and they would try it again.

Instead of a test, I added an art component.  Each student chose one of the seasons to use for their mini-project. They were then given a 4×8 inch piece of posterboard and colored pencils.  Through words and imagery they needed to show me everything that they had learned about their chosen season.  When everyone had completed their project the students did a gallery walk to present their work.  The four seasons were then attached and displayed to show the seasonal cycle of the Ojibwe people.

Student work, courtesy of Jessica Grabe.

2 thoughts on “Teaching Early Ojibwe and Seasonal Cycles

  1. We also do a similar activity using a different graphic organizer. This is a great idea to engage more students to work together. I’ll definitely try this activity next year!


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