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Southeast Indians -  Illustration

Animal Spirit Helpers
and the Old Ones
Southeast Native Americans
Seminole
Lesson Plan

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  • Class Activity:

    Brainstorm a list of problems on the white board that they might face in their daily life. Give them some examples if needed: A school bully, too much homework, a best friend who is not speaking to you. Get a list together of about 10 problems that are broad enough that many students might experience these problems at one time or another.

    Brainstorm a list of animals that live in the Florida Everglades.


  • Group (or Individual) Activity:

    Have each group select one problem and one animal guide from the class created lists of their choice.

    Direct students to write a short story about the problem they selected and their animal guide's helpful advice offered to solve that problem. Do not end your story. Do not tell what happens next.

    Additional Instructions: Helpful suggestions from their animal guide must fit the animal. For example, if their spirit guide is an ostridge, their animal guide might recommend they ignore the problem. Or, a panther, no matter how hard he tries, cannot fly; however, he can leap great distances, so leaping would be fine.

    Give groups (or individuals) some time. Then...


  • Class Activity:

    Tell the class that they are now the "Old Ones". They are the wise elders of the village. Have each group present their problem and their guide's helpful advice. The "Old Ones" are to offer advice of their own. Don't forget your manners! Be sure to thank the "Old Ones" for their guidance.


  • Group Activity:

    After each group has had a chance to present their story, and the "Old Ones" have added their advice, have each group finish their story. Direct each group to add an illustration of their animal spirit guide. Don't forget - the Seminoles loved tall tales. Have fun with your story.

    Have each group present the ending of their story orally to the class. Do not yet present their illustration. If groups wish, and stories are short enough, have them read their whole story.

    Ask the class: Whose advice did they take? Their own, their spirit guide's, or the advice of the Old Ones? (Get some answers.)

    Say: The Seminoles did not share the identify of their personal animal spirit guide with anyone. Today, we are going to make an exception. Ask: What animal do you think was the spirit guide for this group? Get some guesses. Have each group identify their spirit guide animal orally and by showing their illustration.

    Post each group's story on the walls of your classroom, along with their illustration of their animal guide.


  • Activity Conclusion:

    Say: The Seminole Indians believed that it was important to get advice on a problem that concerned you. It gave you something to think about, and time to think. Seminole teachings say: But ultimately, no matter how sound or unsound the advice, what you do and how you handle your problem is up to you, and so are the repercussions of your actions.


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