Woodland Activity Day Returns in 3rd Grade

By 3rd Grade Head Amy Przygoda
As we prepared for our Woodland Activity Day, many have asked the question, “To what does the term Woodland refer?”

Woodland refers to the geographical landscape of the Chicago area and throughout the Great Lakes region during the time of this Native American study. The 3rd grade teachers have presented all of the material they teach during this unit as well as what is presented on Woodland Activity Day to Native American experts representing four different tribes of the area. They all believe the term “Woodland” to be most appropriate for the day. The 3rd grade team also revised the activities the children participate in during the day to be more reflective of what would have actually been done during this period, and the American Indian experts have approved these activities as appropriate.

Click here for photos.

We hope this brief description helps clarify any questions you may have, but please feel free to reach out with further question and/or comments. In addition, here are a few of the many resources we use:

The Mitchell Museum
This is where we found our Woodland Activity Day flutist, Mr. William Buchholtz-Allison. He played the flute at Parker for at least eight years but will not join us this year. He is Algonquin and Canadian Cree and full of knowledge that he LOVES to share. 

The American Indian Association of Illinois (AIAI)
The 3rd grade team took all our Woodland Activity Day and curricular materials to the AIAI to have the president, Dr. Dorene Wiese (pronounced Wee-See) Ojibwe, analyze what/how we were teaching American Indian culture in the classroom. She was incredibly helpful, appreciates schools learning how to improve their Native teaching and is very generous with her time and resources. 

The American Indian Center
We created a Land Acknowledgement with The American Indian Center to use at Parker. We begin each of our big presentations with the acknowledgment.

Art Shegonee = Potawatomi and Menominee
During the 3rd grade Native American studies, we are fortunate to have had some very special guests. Mr. Shegonee, of the Menominee and Potawatomi Nations, visited from Madison, Wisc  He shared stories and artifacts and taught the students some of his traditional dances. He then danced solo, sharing a traditional dance he called the “The Sneak Up” and a contemporary dance called The Dance for Michael Jacobs.” Mr. Shegonee helped the children  understand more about the American Indian culture in the past as well as in the present.

Ernest Whiteman III = Northern Arapaho
Mr. Whiteman has also visited us during our Indigenous studies. He is a filmaker, actor, artist and educator. He taught our students about traditions and Native American Ledger art, shared his knowledge in filmmaking and storytelling and much more. He has also taken part in interviews with our students regarding Land Acknowledgements and Native representation in sports. Mr. Whiteman also took time to review our curriculum and guided us to make some important updates to activities and lessons to be more accurate and respectful.

Some of the websites we use:

Where we check on books we are interested in using with the students:

An app we have used on the iPads is called: Ojibway 
Francis W. Parker School educates students to think and act with empathy, courage and clarity as responsible citizens and leaders in a diverse democratic society and global community.