Southwest Children's Literature

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Coyote School News

In the classroom/library:

Grade Level: 4th grade
Subject: Social Studies, Reading, Writing, Language Arts
Overview: Over the course of four days, students will learn about early 20th Century school and ranch life in the desert southwest. They will learn this by listening to the story Coyote School News by Joan Sandin, by participating in discussions about the book, observing and questioning a guest speaker (a ranch owner/operator), and by making connections. They'll note comparisons and contrasts between their own lives and the lives of the characters in Coyote School News. They, like the little cowpunchers in the story, will create their own articles and illustrations.
This lesson involves people of the Southwestern U.S., in particular ranching families, who are important in the fourth grade social studies curriculum. Some students will activate prior knowledge about these people based on their own experiences and knowledge.
At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:
1) Describe the lifestyle of ranching families now and during the early 20th century in Arizona.
2) Formulate their own articles by writing stories and creating illustrations like those in Coyote School News.
3) Respond to the theme of the story
4) Identify similarities and differences between their own culture and that of the students of Coyote School News.

Acquire and use new vocabulary in relevant contexts.
PO 2. Use context to determine the relevant meaning of a word.
STANDARD 1: History
1SS-E4. Describe the economic, social, and political life in the Arizona Territory and the legacy of various cultural groups to modern Arizona, with emphasis on:
PO 1. how Arizona became a part of the United States through the Mexican Cession and the Gadsden Purchase
PO 4. the importance and contributions of various occupations to the growing Arizona communities, including soldiers (Buffalo soldiers), miners, merchants, freighters, homemakers, ranchers, cowboys, farmers, and railroad workers
Strand 1: Writing Process
Concept 1: Prewriting.
PO 1. Generate ideas through a variety of activities (e.g., brainstorming,graphic organizers, drawing, writer's notebook, group discussion, printed material).
PO 4. Use organizational strategies (e.g., graphic organizer, KWL chart, log) to plan writing.
Concept 3: Revising
PO 1. Evaluate the draft for use of ideas and content, organization, voice, word choice, and sentence fluency.
PO 2. Add details to the draft to more effectively accomplish the purpose.
PO 3. Rearrange words, sentences, and paragraphs to clarify the meaning of the draft.
Concept 4: Editing
PO 1. Identify punctuation, spelling, and grammar and usage errors in the draft.
PO 2. Use resources (e.g., dictionary, word lists, spelling/grammar checkers) to correct conventions.
Strand 2: Writing Elements.
Concept 6: Conventions
PO 1. Use capital letters
PO 2. Punctuate endings of sentences
PO 3. Use commas
PO 4. Use quotation marks
PO 6. Use apostrophes
PO 7. Spell high frequency words correctly.

Coyote School News written and illustrated by Joan Sandin
Artifacts such as: rodeo/cowboy materials, boots, spurs, rope, branding iron, horse shoes, tack (bridle, bit, halter, saddle blanket)
Guest speaker, owner/operator of a cattle ranch near Wilcox, AZ.

pencils, colored pencils, crayons, paints, markers, paper, response graphic organizer

(Day 1)
Introductory Set
Look at artifacts. What do we know about horses? What do we know about cows? What do we know about ranches and ranching? What do we know about the Gadsden Purchase of 1854? Pass around, touch and feel objects. Using horses to lead cattle has long been an important aspect of ranch life and important to the culture and economy of the Southwest.

*Students will learn about ranching and ranch life in the desert Southwest
*Students will discover ranching and Mexican American cultural information embedded in the story.
*Students will explore personal connections to the themes of the story.

*Build Spanish vocabulary: chismoso, aye carumba, andalé, mira, barullo, chiles, de, día, fiesta, loco, míjo, muertos, perezoso, pobrecito, qué
*Read part of the story after conducting the grand conversation
*Review the significance of the Gadsden Purchase of 1854

(Day 2)
*Review cultural features of the story and review the plot of Coyote School News, so far.
*Continue reading book.
*Review Spanish vocabulary words and add new words.
*Discuss the impact of culture on the story.
*Discuss personal connections between students and the characters.

(Day 3)
Introductory Set
*Guest speaker- Jesse and his dog Prima will visit the class. Jesse will talk about growing up on a ranch and going to a school similar to the one the characters in Coyote School News attended. He'll also talk about what it's like to own and work on a cattle ranch. Jesse will answer questions and demonstrate roping.

*Show students our article and illustration.

Check for Understanding
*Review process of completing graphic organizer.
*Go over vocabulary.

Guided Practice
*Teachers support students as they work on the graphic organizer and their own articles and illustrations

Independent Practice
*Students will continue working on their articles/illustrations.

(Day 4)
*Students will continue working on their articles/illustrations.

*Students will discuss their articles and illustrations amongst peer groups. Teachers will publish the finished articles and illustrations on the Southwest Children's Literature website.

The articles and illustrations that each student composes will be used to assess their understanding of the subject matter. For those students who choose to write about other topics, their writing will be assessed according to the standards.

Extensions and Modifications: Students will continue this investigation of the desert Southwest culture in their social studies lesson. Students will further explore writing newspaper articles in their language arts. Students may be inspired to write about their own experiences in the desert Southwest. The teachers will provide individual support to students with language or other special needs during graphic organizer and article publishing portions of the lesson.

Teachers may read or invite students to read their local Newspapers, or other desert Southwest related materials.

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