CREATIVE MOVEMENT LESSON PLAN
                             By: Martha Harris
                             Revised Lesson Plan

TITLE OF LESSON/TOPIC: Northwest Native American Potlatch Dance

GRADE LEVEL: Fourth Grade

MOVEMENT STRATEGY: Authentic Dance Form- Native American Dance

MAIN OBJECTIVES: Students will demonstrate an understanding of the Native
American Potlatch Dance by contributing to the culminating event through an authentic
Native American group performance.

       Cognitive: Washington State History, Native American Dance
       Affective: individual/group participation, understanding, active listening
       Social: collaboration, cooperation, interpersonal skills
       Artistic: choreography, basic knowledge of movement, creativity

     4. The student understands and applies knowledge of historical thinking,
     chronology, eras, turning points, major ideas, individuals, and themes in local,
     Washington State, tribal, United States, and world history in order to evaluate
     how history shapes the present and future.
     2. The student uses communication skills and strategies to interact/work
     effectively with others.
     3. The student uses communication skills and strategies to effectively present
     ideas and one's self in a variety of situations.
     1.1 Develops motor skills and movement concepts as developmentally
     3. The student communicates through the arts.
     4. The student makes connections within and across the arts to other disciplines,
         life, cultures, and work.


SPACE REQUIREMENTS: Large classroom or gym with 4-5 areas for groups to work
MATERIALS, SUGGESTED MUSIC: Drum, mask printed on tag board, string,
markers or crayons, scissors

WARM-UP: Gather students into a circle and model the Native American dance steps:
step drag-close, step lift-close, and shuffle (see dance step packet). Have students
practice dance steps as a group until they exhibit understanding.

  1. K-W-L CHART: (KNOW-WANT TO KNOW-LEARNED) Ask students what
     they know about a Native American Potlatch. Then find out what they want to
     know. When the lesson is near completion, come back to the students and review
     what they learned. Other activities prepared for the unit can be further extended to
     meet the learning wants of the students.
  2. Think-Pair-Share: Have each student think of, and write down some of the times
     they get together to have fun and celebrate with family, friends, and others (i.e.
     birthdays, Christmas parties, family reunions). Open up discussion for the Native
     American students in the classroom if they feel like sharing about their culture.
     Then, have students pair up and share their ideas with another classmate. After
     this has taken place, invite students to share the ideas with the class. List the
     students' ideas on the board. Discuss some of the purposes or activities that all
     festivals and gatherings have in common.
  3. Mini-Lecture: Introduce the Northwest Native American Potlatch.
          The word comes from the Chinook Jargon, meaning "to give away" or "a
             gift". The Northwest Coast Native American potlatch is a type of
             ceremony among Native peoples living in the Pacific Northwest region in
             both the United States and Canada.
          Potlatches can be held to celebrate births, rites of passages, weddings,
             funerals, puberty and honoring the deceased. These celebrations will
             typically include a feast, music, some theatrical performances involving
             tribal masks and spiritual events.
          The host family of each potlatch will also demonstrate their wealth and
             social status by distributing gifts to the guests. Gifts included food, canoes,
             blankets, copper and many other types of items.
          Dancers have always been an important part of Native American culture.
             For some cultures elaborate and theatrical dances are performed reflecting
             the hosts' genealogy and cultural wealth they possess. Many of these
             dances are also sacred ceremonies of secret societies or display of family
             origin from supernatural creatures.
          They dance to singing and the continuous beat of drums because the
             beating of the drum is considered to be the pulse of mother earth.
  4. Exhibit or Demonstration: Show students the Native Dance video filmed at the
     Chief of Seattle Days in Poulsbo. Point out the dress, masks, and movements
     (choreography, levels, flow of tension, and percussive foot movement with drum,
     etc.). Model a few movements with the students and practice as a group a few
   5. Directions: Announce to students that they will each be creating a mask and
      performing in a group Potlatch dance. Using the Native American Dance Move
      packet as a guide, they will choreograph a 3-5 minute routine and perform in front
      of the class.
           First, you will color your Native American mask and cut out carefully
              making sure not to cut through the mask. When it is cut out and ready, I
              will punch two holes on each side and give you a string so that you can
              wear it on your head.
           Second, you and your group will discuss and plan a dance routine that
              includes at least three of the Native American dance moves provided in
              the packet. Remember that this dance will be done with the drum, so you
              will need to assign one person to the drum who will be responsible for
              remembering the beats and performing during the dance.
   6. Work-time: Create groups of four- five students and move to tables. Allow one
      hour for the masks and groups to begin working on the performances. If more
      time is needed, continue assignment and allow more time. While groups are
      working, float around and assist students and answer questions.
   7. Performances: Groups perform for class while students are an audience. Allow
      time for questions after each performance. Have each group show the class the
      three dance moves they used. If time allows, class can practice moves when
   8. Reflection: Revisit the KWL Chart as a class and discuss what they have now
      learned about Native American Dance and the potlatches. If questions were not
      answered in the want-to-know column, possible future activities could be planned.

CULMINATING ACTIVITY: Form a large circle as a class and each student perform
their favorite dance move while beating the drum. Move the circle in different directions
and lead a fun group dance.

ASSESSMENT: Students will be assessed by group cooperation and contribution to the
Native American potlatch dance based on a 4,3,2, or 1 scale.

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