Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

Teacher professional development and classroom resources across the curriculum

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the expanding canon teaching multicultural literature
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Reader Response: Pat Mora and James Welch Reader Response: Keith Gilyard and Mourning Dove Inquiry: Rudolfo Anaya and James Baldwin Inquiry: Tomás Rivera and Esmeralda Santiago Cultural Studies: Ishmael Reed and Graciela Limón Cultural Studies: N. Scott Momaday and Russell Leong Critical Pedagogy: Octavia E. Butler and Ruthanne Lum McCunn Critical Pedagogy: Abiodun Oyewole and Lawson Fusao Inada
Theory Overview Lesson Plans Teaching Strategies Authors and Literary Works Resources
Session 1 Cultural Studies: Pat Mora and James Welch - Lesson Plans

Lesson Plan 1
Lesson Plan 2


REFLECTION - Interactive Forum

Explore two poems using four approaches.


Share your views on the discussion

Download the Session 1 Guide

Author: James Welch
Title of work: "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat," from Riding the Earthboy 40, and The Death of Jim Loney

Greg Hirst uses a reader-response approach by asking students to recognize that - for personal reasons - they are drawn to certain phrases and aspects of literature. In this lesson, Hirst helps his students to understand James Welch's work by getting them to focus on specific words that they find compelling and significant. This activity helps students figure out why these words have power in the context of a particular poem.

To prepare for the lesson, view The Expanding Canon video program 1, Part II. Online, review the Session 1 theory overview, strategies, information about the authors and literature, resources, and the downloadable print guide. Read "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat," from Riding the Earthboy 40, and The Death of Jim Loney -- featured poem available in the print guide.

Teachers will need the following supplies:
  • board and/or chart paper
  • copies of "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat," from Riding the Earthboy 40
  • copies of The Death of Jim Loney
Standards for the English Language Arts

In advance of the lesson, the students read The Death of Jim Loney -- except for the last chapter.

Day 1
1. Hirst provides some background information on the author, who was a member of the Blackfeet and Gros Ventre tribes. He then introduces Welch's book of poetry, Riding the Earthboy 40, and asks them what they think "Earthboy 40" means.

2. Hirst begins a discussion about the poem "Christmas Comes to Moccasin Flat" by asking:
  • What does Christmas mean to you?
  • Do you know where Moccasin Flat is?
3. Students take turns reading passages of the poem aloud. Hirst structures the reading so that each student stops where there is punctuation. At each stopping point, Hirst asks students to write any thought that comes to their minds. During the following discussion, students discuss their personal responses. Follow-up questions Hirst asks include:
  • How many images dealing with numbers have we found?
  • Why would there be 25 images?
4. Hirst asks students to pick out the most important word in each stanza of the poem. Students share their choices, and Hirst writes several on the board.

5. Hirst then asks students to choose one word on the board per stanza as the most important. When one word per stanza is left on the board, Hirst asks his students to use these words to summarize the poem in a sentence or two.

Day 2
1. Hirst begins by asking students to summarize what happens in the novel. In order to promote understanding of the character Jim Loney, he asks the students what all young "Jim Loneys" do when they are in school.

2. Focusing on the end of the novel, Hirst asks students to read passages aloud. He explains that the students are going to write their own alternate ending to the novel.

3. Divided into groups, students decide why they think the novel ends as it does. Hirst prompts discussion with questions such as:
  • Why did Jim kill a man he's known all of his life on the reservation?
  • What might be the reason this happened at this point in the novel?
4. The groups draft their own alternate ending to the novel. One student in each group drafts the group's collective ideas. Afterwards each group takes turns sharing the alternate endings with the class.

5. As a final activity, Hirst asks the students to read the final chapter of The Death of Jim Loney and compare it to the endings they created.

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