Western Maritime Region – Lesson Plan (Language Arts)

I have two different ideas for my lesson plan.  I will discuss them with my group members on Monday and make a decision on which one to pursue.  These ideas are:

(1)  Tsunami Stories:  Compare the Unangan and/or Sugapik myths and stories concerning tsunamis to the tsunami myths/stories of the Moken (Sea-Gypsy) people of Southeast Asia.  (In 2004, the Moken people in Thailand were perhaps the only people to realize that a tsunami was coming, which caused nearly all of them to successfully evacuate to higher ground or out to sea.)  I might also include one other regions/peoples origin story concerning tsunamis (I’m thinking perhaps Japan, where the word tsunami comes from).

  • Split the class into groups corresponding to a specific region/people.  Then have each group read “their” tsunami myth/origin story plus a brief account of an actual tsunami from that region. Ask each group to infer and discuss the relationship (if any) between “their” origin story and what it might say about the people/culture/place.  Approx 25-30 minutes
  • Have the groups present the origin story plus a very brief account of a historical tsunami in that region to the other groups.  Approx 15-20 minutes.
  • After group presentations ask each group to quickly talk about and then present similarities/differences on how the myths/stories compare between the different peoples/cultures/places.  Approx 10 minutes.

(2)  Elements of the Aleutians:  Water, Wind and Fire – Split the class into three groups and have each group read/discuss a Unangan or Sugapik myth/origin story on either Water (possibly a Tsunami story), or Wind (the Aleutians have been called the Birthplace of the Winds), or Fire (a Volcano myth/origin story).  20 minutes.

  • Have each group present their myth/origin story on one of the three elements to the other two groups.  10 minutes.
  • Have each student (group maybe?) develop their own origin myth based upon three natural features/forces of nature that surround, affect or shape their own community.  30 minutes.


4 thoughts on “Western Maritime Region – Lesson Plan (Language Arts)”

  1. I think they both sound great. Do you know what specific grades you are teaching next year? If they are students that are taking world history, for example, then maybe the first would be cool.

  2. I mirror Erin’s thoughts. These are both wonderfully culturally relevant ideas, I also like how you draw in Pacific Rim cultures. I was thinking how it might be cool to related those cultures in a pre-lesson to the Alaskan tribes, for example, where each of those cultures were developmentally in the same year i.e. food production, dwelling, etc. Looking forward to discussing this with the group!

  3. I see some great potential for collaboration between your lesson and Matt’s. Your lesson really touches on the story-telling component of nature. I am always amazed when stories that spiritualize nature (often perceived by the dominant culture to be irrelevant to the STEM curriculum) but then when really examining the two ways of learning side-by-side, one can see that the indigenous ways of seeing nature is very applicable to the western science behind that topic. (Movement of glaciers being described in books as having scientific basis).
    I really like the second option because it covers an area of learning in nature (elements) that is thematically seen in many cultures (Western Zodiac signs, children’s cartoons/superheros, etc…)

  4. I like both ideas – especially the interaction between origin / event stories and their real-world counter parts. For example, understanding of the last Cascadia Subduction event is based on interaction of Native American tales, geological evidence and Japanese tsunami records.

    A great chance to compare different ways of knowing

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