Prior to this lesson, students will have brainstormed different thematic units they would like to explore. One of these ideas would have been SEASONS. This lesson would be one in that particular unit.
Begin with January and introduce the Navajo word, Yasnil tees. Discuss the meaning of Yas (snow), niltees (cook). Begin a K-W-L chart. Have students brainstorm ideas associated with the month of January. As you write their ideas, repeat the words or phrases in Navajo. Next have students brainstorm what they want to learn about January. Put these on the chart. Display this chart in the class.
Have students find pictures in the magazines or other materials associated with the month. Once the students have these materials ready, again discuss characteristics of the month.
Invite an elder from the community for students to interview. Prior to this visit, have students write some questions to ask the elder. Students will practice interviewing each other, acting both as an interviewee and interviewer . When the elder comes, students will videotape the interview to add to their classroom video collection.
Divide students into cooperative groups. Have each group choose a month and illustrate the characteristics they learned about their month. Put these together in a big book format and add them to your class library. The teacher along with the students will scan their pictures and put them on a HyperStudio card with a sound button. The students will describe their pictures onto the sound button. The cards will be linked into a presentation.
Repeat above process for each month.
January -- Yasnil tees -- Crusting or icing of snow
January is the time when Navajos gather clean snow to melt over a wood stove inside the hogan. The water from melted snow will be used for drinking water and washing clothes.
February -- Atsabiyaazh -- Hatching of baby eagles
Livestock are very important in Navajo life. From sun up to sundown, Navajos main concern is for their flocks. The herding life is hard in winter, when snow blankets the grass and forces herds to wander in constant search for food.
March -- Woozhchíiid -- Sound of baby eagles
The Navajo have different kinds of livestock: sheep, goats, cattle and horses. March is the lambing season and the time when other livestock give birth.
April -- Tíaachil -- Beginning of plant and animal life
This is the time when Navajo clean their irrigation ditches and clear the field by burning off weeds. They prepare their land for Spring planting.
May -- Tíaatsoh -- Growth of plant and animal life
Shearing of sheep and goats takes place in early May. If sheep and goats are not sheared by this time they will lose their wool. The wool is packed in large gunny sacks to be sold to traders.
June -- Yaíiishjaashcili -- Early planting time
June is the time when Navajos plant their early crops: sweet corn, squash, and melon. Before they had the plow, Navajos used digging sticks for planting.
July -- Yaíiishjaashtsoh -- Sprouting of July plants
July is the time for summer ceremonies. The Enemy Way ceremony occurs during this time. Other summer activities include rodeos, horse races, and chicken pull.
August -- Biniíanitíaatsísozi -- Maturing of early crops
Early crops are ripening by this time. Navajos continue tending their crops by hoeing weeds, irrigating, and scaring animals and birds from the fields.
September -- Biniíanitíaatsoh -- Maturing of late crops
September is the time to harvest. Navajo children return to school. During this time, Navajo women prepare different kinds of corn bread; kneel down bread and blue bread are some examples.
October -- Ghaaji -- Dividing of the seasons
October marks the time for shoe games. Shoe games are part of Navajo curing ceremonies. The games are used to teach discipline, endurance and self-respect to young people. All Navajo games have a special meaning that is told in a story.
November -- Nil chíihtsíosi -- Mild cold and light winds
The Yeibichei dance, Fire dance and winter ceremonies take place at this time. The Yeibichei, or Nine Night Chant, is a curing ceremony. The Fire Dance also lasts nine nights and is called the Mountain Top Way.
December -- Nil chíihtsoh -- Increasing cold winds
Navajo elders tell Coyote stories and other legends to their children at this time. This is the time when Spider Woman is asleep, so string games can be played.
Assessment by Rubric
Adequately Meets Requirements
Month is properly labeled.
Month is labeled.
Month is not labeled.
Illustration contains at least 8 characteristics discussed.
Illustration contains at least 5 characteristics discussed.
Picture contains at least than 3 characteristics discussed.