An HBHA Third Grade Tradition: The Native American Fair


Kara Kahn

Photos by Bini Allen

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A display about the Ojibwe Tribe

On Wednesday Dec. 18, the Hyman Brand Hebrew Academy presented their annual Native American Fair. Members of the class prepared for this by researching specific tribes and learning about Native American culture.

Over the past few months, students learned about a variety of Native American tribes that lived all across the country during the Precolonial and early American period. Each student picked one of six tribes designated by teachers and created a research project that they presented to the community.

Hayden Galler, third grade teacher, focused on six main critical thinking and learning skills for the students, including cause and effect, compare and contrast, geography, research, and teaching.

Students worked on these skills while they learned about their Native American tribes. For example, when learning where their perspective tribes lived, third graders practiced the skill of recognizing cause and effect and how each tribe’s geographical location affected the way they lived. American culture was compared and contrasted with Native American cultures, and the students learned how their chosen tribes lived in comparison to how we live now.

Geography was an important part of this unit. Students learned about the different regions of the United States and their physical characteristics. They related those physical characteristics to the lifestyle of their respective tribes.

Galler’s class also practiced their research skills using books and the Internet in order to find out more information about their Native American tribes. Once the third graders completed the research phase of the assignment, students used their creativity skills to create an arts and crafts poster that resembles something a member of their tribe would use.

When all of their hard work is complete the students will practice their teaching skills at the Native American Fair, a long running tradition at HBHA. Many current high school students still remember third grade and automatically think of the day they came to school dressed in Native American garb.

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Third graders teach other students about the Native Americans

Ninth grade student Leah Sosland remembers how much fun she had at her Native American Fair.  “I remember making a model of my tribe’s hut out of clay,” said Sosland. “That was so much fun! And I looked forward to dressing up like a Native American for weeks.”

Third grade student Ari Shafton expressed his excitement for the Native American Fair.  “My tribe is the Cherokee,” said Shafton. “I picked the Cherokee because my mom’s grandparents were Cherokee. I have been making a waddle and dob house, which is a house like ours but it has straw on top and clay around it.”

Students enjoyed the learning process and were excited to share their new knowledge at the Native American Fair.  “This has been a popular project for the third graders in the past,” said Galler. ” I am proud of all the hard work they put into this project.”