The Lesser Blessed
Topic: How does literature compare to real life? What perceptions do you have about modern Native Americans from this novel?
Level: high school English/Language Arts
Vocabulary: culture; elements of culture (social groups, language, daily life, art, history, government, economy)
Content Standards: see attached
Timeline: Approximately 2 – 3 weeks
Interdisciplinary component: Social Studies; Native Americans; compare/contrast cultures
Resources/Materials: digital cameras; powerpoint or other presentation software or program; class sets of novels The Lesser Blessed and The Absolutely True Diary of a
Days 1 - 2: High School culture. Classroom discussion of the elements of culture, then applying that to the culture of your school, including social groups; language; daily life; art; history; government; economy.
Intro/hook: Students will work in groups of 3 – 5 and will have two days to photograph
scenes from the daily activities at school. All or part of one class period can be spent gathering photographs. The rest will need to be taken during communal times such as before school, passing periods or break time, lunch time, and extracurricular activities. Student description: You are a social scientist studying high school life. Capture as many examples as you can to demonstrate each of the elements of culture. You should have a minimum of 3 – 5 photographs to illustrate each element. For language, you will need some written examples of dialogue and language.
Assign the books to be read by the groups. Half the class will read The Lesser Blessed,
and the other half will read The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-time Indian. Students
will work in groups of 3 - 5. Read pages 1 – 29 of The Lesser Blessed, and pages 1 – 43
of The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian by day 4 and be prepared to discuss
with your group.
Days 3 – 4: Computer lab. Describe your observations in a visual presentation using technology (i.e. power point or some other presentation program). Take photographs to illustrate the aspects of the culture you are observing and explain what you have seen.
Days 5 – 6: Groups will present their powerpoints and narrate their culture presentation.
Days 7 – 10: Continue with reading assignments. Every three days groups will meet to share reading responses and discuss their observations of the high school culture of their novels.
Everyone will do the following during and/after reading:
; Tab/mark pages with examples of the culture of the high school and the students
featured in your book.
; Write a reading response approximately every 30 pages, at least one every third
day; minimum of 6 reading responses, at least 200 words each. ; Groups will meet every three days to share reading responses and discuss their
observations of the high school culture in the novel.
; Find “words of wisdom”, quotes from the book that are meaningful
; How is the culture of the schools in the novels similar and different to our high
; What examples of Native American culture can you find?
; What role do families play in students’ lives?
; What different cultures are represented in your school?
Final project/assessment options:
； Write a compare and contrast essay about the high school environment in the
novel and your own high school experience.
； Research and prepare a report about the Dogrib tribe or others mentioned in The
Lesser Blessed, or the Spokane tribe from The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-
； Write an essay about the history of either of the reservations from the novels ； Write a paper about your observations. How do social groups affect the
climate/culture of your school? How do families affect the high school culture?