Lesson Plan Navajo Culture and ELA

Navajo Culture and ELA

By Christy Hanson


Dine’ Culture Standards (3.PO2) I will develop an understanding of Dine’ way of life through Iina’. I will implement and recognize the Dine’ lifestyle. I will present the stories related to Land and Water Beings.

Dine Government (3.PO3) Executive Branch (3.PO3): I will describe the purpose of at least one subdivision. Legislative Branch (3.PO3): I will describe the Navajo Nation election process. Judicial Branch (3.PO4): I will analyze the purpose of a judicial system.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RH.6-8.4 Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including vocabulary specific to domains related to history/social studies.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.7.1 Write arguments to support claims with clear reasons and relevant evidence.

⏰ Time

45 minutes

📲 Technology Required

Device with web-browser – Chromebook, laptop or desktop computer, phone or tablet

📃 Summary

Students learn about Diné (Navajo) culture from multiple perspectives, first through a presentation on Navajo tribal government and its three branches (executive, legislative, and judicial) that are modeled after the federal government, as well as its security branch. Also included are four cultural laws governing Navajo leadership. A written assignment exploring roles of effective governance follows as assessment. The lesson concludes with a game, Making Camp Navajo, that discusses Diné traditions in sheep ranching and rug weaving.


Presentation on Diné Governance

Use the slide presentation, Navajo Civics, to introduce students to the history and structure of government on the Navajo Nation.

Download this map of the Navajo Nation to view its five agencies: Chinle, Eastern, Fort Defiance, Northern, and Western.

Class Discussion on Important Issues in Governance

Teachers can use the questions on Slide 26 of the presentation or edit the slides to add their own questions.

Writing Assignment

Students select one or more of the writing prompts and write an essay addressing the prompt. Teachers can use slides 27-31 for the prompts or create their own.

Play a Game

The lesson concludes with the Making Camp Navajo game. Students should play through the introduction and then the activities under the LIFE choices.

Choose Numbers, Life or Random
Choices Screen – click LIFE button
Sheep image, weaving image and girl with sheep
Life Choices – Select and Play each of these


Three types of assessment are included in this lesson. The brainstorming session provides a gauge of the understanding of the class as a whole of the types of issues that can be addressed by government. The writing assignment serves as an individual assessment of student understanding of government. Teacher reports of data collected automatically in Making Camp Navajo document student completion of the activities.

Financial Literacy Starts with Time Management

by Janna Jensen


CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.8.4 Produce clear and coherent writing in which the development, organization, and style are appropriate to task, purpose, and audience.

📲Technology Required

Any Internet enabled device


Day 1: 45 minutes, Day 2 (a week later): 30 minutes


Students watch a 12-minute video that gives time management tips for students. They complete a worksheet to assess where they spend their time and identify changes they would like to make. As a class, students discuss their own time management strategies. Out of class, students track their time usage for a week. In the follow-up lesson, students review in writing and class discussion how well they predicted their time usage and strategies for improving time management in the future.


Discuss how time management relates to financial literacy

We recommend introducing the lesson with a brief discussion of how time management relates to financial literacy. We’ve all heard that time is money, so this 10-lesson unit on financial literacy begins with time management. Truly, students need to find the time to get a job, keep a job or write a budget, so it starts here.

Watch a video on time management

A 12-minute video on how to manage your time as a student

Writing Assignment

Have students download and complete the time management tips worksheet. You can copy and paste the instructions below into your Google classroom or other classroom management system.

Instructions for time management worksheet

This is an assignment that we will be using throughout the financial literacy unit. AFTER you have watched the assigned video, start today with pages 2 and 3 of the worksheet.

  1. Download the time management worksheet.
  2. Open a Google doc and answer the 3 questions from page 2 on how you spend your time, your priorities and what you want to stop doing.
  3. On page 3 of the worksheet, Ellen discusses four methods of time management. In your Google doc, answer these questions – Which one appeals to you the most? Why do you think that will work for you? ANSWER IN COMPLETE SENTENCES. For example, “I think the time blocking would work best for me because I tend to get bored and jump from one task to another. That wastes a lot of time remembering where I left off.”

Track Your Time Homework

You can copy and paste the instructions below into your Google classroom or other classroom management system.

Instructions for time tracking assignment

Where does the time go? If you are like most people, you did not come up with 24 hours accounted for in your time management worksheet assignment. For the next week, track how you spend your time each day. The easiest way to do this for most people is using the notes app on their phone. If you don’t have your phone with you all of the time, a piece of paper and a pen will work just as well.

  • EVERY day for one week, record how you spend your time. For example, “Midnight to 7am – sleeping. 7-8 Got ready for school. 8-8:30 Bus to school. 8:30- 2:30 – classes. 2:30 – 4:30 basketball practice. 4:30-5 Bus home. 5-6 Dinner. 6-7 Study. 7-8 Played GTA game. 8-9 Talk to friend online 9-9:30 study 9:30 – 11 Watch YouTube. 11-12 Sleep.”
  • Your activities must add up to 24 hours each day.
  • The easiest way to keep an accurate account is to write down how many minutes or hours you spent immediately after you finish doing something, for example, 12:00- 12:15 TikTok

HINT: To spur the next week’s discussion, it may be helpful for the teacher to do this activity as well.


After watching the video and answering the questions in writing, students discuss the following questions as a class. You may wish to simply ask each question, or use this slides presentation to show the questions. Students learning at home can answer the questions in writing.

  • What are some things you do to try to be efficient with your time?
  • Do you have a strategy for your time management?
  • How could you become better at time management? Did you identify any ways you spend your time that you would like to change?

DAY 2 (A week after Day 1)

Complete Written and Reading Assignment

Students complete page 4 of the time management worksheet and read tips on page 5.


After completing the written assignment, students discuss questions as a class. You may wish to simply ask each question, or use this slide presentation to show the questions. Students learning at home can answer the questions in writing.

  • Did anything about how you spent your time surprise you? Did you spend more or less time on some activities than you thought you did?
  • How helpful do you think tracking your time was for you?
  • Did you use any of the time management strategies suggested in the video? If so, how did those work for you?

HINT: It may be helpful to lead off the discussion with your own answers to these questions.


Students will submit responses to worksheet questions for teacher comment. Since this assignment is primarily asking for student opinions, we recommend marking the worksheet assignment as 100% if completed with the student using complete sentences to answer the question regarding page 3, 90% if all questions are answered but not with complete sentences.

For the time tracking assignment

State Standards


North Dakota Business Education Standard 3.3a.1.13   Describe appropriate time management techniques and their application/transference to the workplace.

Scrambled States: Ag in Language Arts

📖 Standard

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.4.2 Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RI.4.4 Determine the meaning of general academic and domain-specific words or phrases in a text relevant to a grade 4 topic or subject area.

⏰ Time

Three to five hours total. We recommend spreading this lesson over 3 to 5 days.

📲 Technology Required

None required. Students may used a computer or mobile device to access the states’ page or to watch a video on the Scrambled States but these resources are also available in print.

📃 Summary

Teachers read The Scrambled States of America book, or have students read book or watch video. Students select a state from National Ag in the Classroom site and take notes on their state, including new vocabulary. Students read a book related to their state – link to a list is provided. Students complete a notes page and then use this page to write an informational essay.

📚 Lesson

Begin with The Scrambled States of America – book, audio book or video

Begin the lesson by reading the book The Scrambled States of America aloud to the class or you may play the audiobook in class along with the book (which I recommend). It’s very likely your public library has the audiobook available for free download. Students learning at home can download the audio book on to a phone or tablet. If you prefer, you can have students watch the video, in class or at home.

Students Select a State and Learn about its Agriculture

National Ag in the Classroom site has an agricultural facts sheet for every state. You can add this link to their assignment in Google classroom (or write it on the chalkboard – )

If your students don’t have access to devices or Internet, you can print out the 51 sheets (including the District of Columbia) here.

Update their Word Journals

As some of the words in the fact sheets may be new to fourth-graders, this is a great opportunity to update their word journals, what some teachers refer to as a “personal dictionary”. If this is your students’ first experience using a word journal, you may wish to give them this Google doc to read or read it together as a class, “Creating your personal dictionary.

Read a Book Related to Agriculture in the State

Time required for this activity will vary depending on your students’ reading speed and choice of books. I recommend allotting 20 minutes per day over 2-3 days. If your school library does not have these available, you may be able to get from your public library. Also, remember, many public libraries have ebooks your students can read on any computer, tablet or phone. If you have not taken advantage of these services, now might be a great time to introduce them,

The Illinois Ag in the Classroom program has produced More Scrambled States of Agriculture a combination of agricultural fact sheets. reading list, agriculture science and art activities. Recognizing that students at a range of reading levels, books included range from Pre-K to grade 5-9 reading level, with reading levels listed next to each book. My favorite quote, from the book, “A Hog Ate My Homework.”

I would like to be a farmer when I grow up, because farming is easy!
They don’t need to go to school, because they just play in the dirt and ride around on ATVs. When it rains, they can just stay inside and play video games. When the sun comes back out, the corn just grows out of the ground by itself. In the fall, someone comes by, cuts it down, and gives the farmer a bunch of money. They use that money to buy candy and video games. The end.

– Willie

Take Notes

Since this is likely your students first experience with research, I recommend the “foldable notes” to help them prepare. All they need to do is fold a piece of paper in half, then fold it again and a third time so now they have eight boxes. You can also have them use a Google slide with 8 boxes but often students like the physical activity of creating their notes.

Next, label each of the 8 boxes.

Crops    Livestock      Farms    Climate

Soil        Interesting    Book      Quote

You can use the foldable notes example here since students almost always ask for an example. I recommend having students go back to the state agricultural fact sheet and the book and take notes after having done the reading. It’s not a bad habit to learn to re-read something for information you may have missed the first time.

Write a State of Agriculture Report

As this is likely to be the first informational essay students have written, I recommend providing students an example and sentence stems as prompts. You can find an example in this Google doc that uses the foldable notes from above to write an essay. The first page of the Google doc gives an outline, with sentence stems. The second page shows a completed informational essay.


Three forms of assessment are included in this assignment.

  • In the personal dictionary or word journal, students are required to include a minimum of five words with definitions for 50 points. Each word, spelled correctly is 2 points and a correct definition is another 8 points. I deduct a point for grammar or spelling errors in the definition, but only one.
  • For the foldable notes assignment, each note is 10 points for a total of 80 points. I do not grade grammar or spelling in the notes because these are for the student, however, I do highlight errors and tell students there will be a deduction if the error is in their essay.
  • The essay is on a 0- 100 scale. I give 5 points each for title and author and 10 points for each of the prompts completed with one or more grammatically correct sentences. If a student does not respond to one of the prompts but instead includes other relevant information, for example, the number of people working in agriculture, that would be acceptable, too.

Related Lesson

It’s recommended that this lesson be followed by Scrambled States: Ag in Math Class.

Visiting Grandma: ELA Lesson 2

📖Grade 5 Standards Addressed

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.W.5.1.A Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.L.5.3 Use knowledge of language and its conventions when writing, speaking, reading, or listening.


45 minutes


A device with a web-browser – PC, Mac or Chromebook – or phone or tablet


This is the second in a 10-unit English/ Language Arts unit centered around a visit to their grandmother. Students organize a letter responding to the grandmother. The lesson ends with playing the words sections of Making Camp Premium.

📚Lesson Plan

1. Introduce the Lesson

This Google slides presentation introduces the unit. Students are given a letter to their grandmother read and correct. The link to the letter is in the slides presentation, so you can open the presentation, read it to your students and then assign it on Google classroom. The presentation includes links to sound files to read the slides and letter to students to accommodate individual students. This presentation can be used in the classroom, in a web meeting or done individually by students at home.

1a. Assign reading letter and correcting errors

The letter from you (the grandchild) is linked in the Google slide presentation. You can also find the link here.

The teacher answer key for the grandchild’s letter can be found here

2. Play Making Camp Premium

Finish the lesson by playing any selections from the WORDS section of Making Camp Premium

4 Choices - Numbers Life Random Words
Select WORDS at bottom right

Related lessons

This follows the first lesson in the unit, A Letter from Grandmother.

A Dakota boyhood is the lesson that is recommended to follow in this ELA unit.

ASSESSMENT: Making Camp Premium Teacher Reports

You can view your students’ progress on mastering this standard by viewing your Making Camp Premium Teacher Reports. You can view the Making Camp Premium reports here. 

Division and English/ Language Arts

📖 Standards

Find whole-number quotients and remainders with up to four-digit dividends and one-digit divisors, using strategies based on place value, the properties of operations, and/or the relationship between multiplication and division. Illustrate and explain the calculation by using equations, rectangular arrays, and/or area models.

Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.


40-45 minutes

📲 Technology Required

Making Camp Premium plays in any browser, so, of course, on Chromebooks. It can also be downloaded on phones or tablets and played offline by students who have limited Internet access. Schools that are part of the Growing Math project or who have a 7 Generation Games site license have access to the game for students to use at home or school.

📃 Summary

This is a fun lesson where students practice division, combined with Ojibwe history and then complete a creative writing assignment.

📚 Lesson Plan

1. Game Play with Making Camp

  1. Open Making Camp. Go to the main choices screen by clicking on the small green icon with boxes at the lower left of the screen.
  2. Click NUMBERS.
  3. Click the box with the numbers to practice division.
Click the numbers box for division practice.
Each correct quotient earns a fridge magnet to decorate the fridge!

Students should play until they earn at least 15 points.

2. Spend the points earned and learn about Ojibwe history

One of the best teachers we know said, “History is more than names and dates. It’s how people lived. It’s the things they used.” When trading for a wigwam, students will watch videos on how to build a wigwam and on trading. They’ll learn that tribes traded with one another for hundreds of years.

3. Short story writing prompt

So how did we get from a refrigerator to a wigwam? You can use this Google slides presentation to tie in Native American history with Sam’s life in the twenty-first century. This presentation can also be added to your Google classroom as an assignment for students. Here is the introduction for Sam and his account:

This is Sam. He’s also Ojibwe but he’s not from a long time ago. He’s 16 years old. He lives on a reservation in the northern United States. You’ve probably heard of it. He doesn’t live in a wigwam. He lives in a white house with a grey roof. That’s the refrigerator in his house. The magnets have been there ever since he was in second grade.

Read the passage about Sam.

4. Writing assignment

Read about Sam and write a story about him. What do you think happened to him in second grade? Why does everyone except for his cousin, Angie, think he’s not smart? Do you think he and Angie can really walk to Maine?


Math problems in Making Camp Premium are scored automatically. You can see how many students attempted and the number correct in the data reports. All Growing Math teachers and all schools with 7 Generation Game licenses receive access to these reports. Writing assignments can be assessed according to the teacher’s own rubric.

State Standards

Minnesota Math Standard – Use strategies and algorithms based on knowledge of place value, equality and properties of operations to divide multi-digit whole numbers by one- or two-digit numbers. Strategies may include mental strategies, partial quotients, the commutative, associative, and distributive properties and repeated subtraction.

Minnesota Math Standard – Divide multi-digit numbers, using efficient and generalizable procedures, based on knowledge of place value, including standard algorithms. Recognize that quotients can be represented in a variety of ways, including a whole number with a remainder, a fraction or mixed number, or a decimal.