Writing legends, creating dream catchers and reading stories are just some of the creative activities that helped fourth graders at Locust Valley Intermediate School understand history through the lens of New York State. The curriculum includes focusing on native people in the New York region and Christine Worsdale helped her students understand what it was like to be a Native American in this region by having them replicate some of the activities that these people participated in throughout history. 

Students read the story Eagle Song, about a Mohawk boy who relocates to Brooklyn. This story not only reinforced the history of Native Americans, it also reinforced the concept of inclusion and accepting differences in others. Ms. Worsdale’s students, working in small teams, used ideas from the book to help them write their own legends. They also created dream catchers, which were made from hoops covered with beads and feathers, which the Native Americans believed caught bad dreams, only allowing good dreams through.

Various scholastic elements such as art, social studies and ELA were used to teach this unit. From reading and writing to creating the artistic dream catchers, students improved their skills in many areas. 

“This is an important part of the curriculum,” explained Ms. Worsdale. “Reading interesting stories, creating their own artwork and writing creative stories make the unit of study more enjoyable and therefore, and more likely to remember.”