Kaya American Girl Lesson Plan: Book 1 Part B

Disclaimer:  My formatting is all messed up in this first paragraph and I can't seem to fix it!  Sorry.   To date, I've written about How I Organized the Kaya History Club, and The First Meeting we had.  Our second meeting also focused on the first book in the series.  Here's an overview of how our club meeting went.  I didn't have nearly enough time to do all the activities and implement all the ideas I had for this club. But I thought I'd just go ahead and list them here so that you can choose which might work best for you and your situation.   After hearing the narration from the assigned girl, we moved on to the following book discussions.  You may also choose to save these for snack time.  It keeps things from getting out of hand.      Discussion Questions:   A) “It takes a lot of work to learn what we need to know.” Pg. 34 How is this true? It takes a life time to learn what we need to know. Learning is a life long process. We needn’t be frustrated if we don’t know everything right now. Be patient. Keep trying. Keep learning.
B) How did Kaya earn Steps High’s trust? How do you earn someone’s trust? Pg 56
Relate the story of Joseph who was sold into Egypt. Through hard work, loyalty and integrity, Joseph earned Potipher’s trust, then the Pharo’s trust. He ultimately regained his freedom by being loyal, hardworking and trustworthy. After being a slave, he became the second most powerful man in Egypt. Earning trust from others set him free.
  Nez Perce Life:
C) How do you like to wake up in the morning? What is your routine? How do the NP wake up? Pg. 30-31 Morning rituals: Camp crier, morning prayer of thanks to Hunyawat, cold water bath in river to stay strong and healthy (all ages all seasons).
D) What was the proceedure for eating meals? Pg. 28-29

E)  Can you name some of the things the Nez Perce ate?  Camas bulbs, finger cakes, kouse cakes, salmon, berries, elk, deer, pemican
F) What breed of horse to the Nez Perce Specialize in? Appaloosa.
G) How was life different for the Nez Perce before horses were introduced? Pg. 38-39

H) The Nez Perce honored and worshipped Hunyawat. How is thier belief in Hunywat similar to or different from your beliefs in God?

We spent some time learning about horses in general at this meeting, and specifically discussing the Apaloosa horse, which the Nez Perz used most.

Here are some helpful books you can read together or display and let the girls explore

The Appaloosa Horse (Learning about Horses)

Here are some helpful links about horses and Apaloosas:


I have a membership to TeacherFileBox.com   and I used an activity that I found there to make an Apaloosa Horse Ornament.  Here's what it looks like when it's done. It was put on the front of the hourse between the eyes.  That's yarn on top and rafia on the bottom.

We also had a fun simulation to make the relationsihp between Kaya and Speaking Rain more real.  I called it the "I’ll look and you listen" activity.  This was done in pairs in a separate room while the girls were painting their teepees (see activity below).  One girl (Kaya) leads the other (Speaking Rain) over a small obstacle course to experience one of the dynamics in their relationship and gain empathy for the blind.  The obstacles can be simple things (and safethings) like stepping over a pillow, going around a table, sitting down and standing up, putting cotton balls in a bowl, or what ever else you can think of!   So while this was happening in pairs, the rest of the girls were making teepees.  I used an activity from Enchanted Learning for this idea.  But instead of trying to find smooth uniform twigs for 12 teepees, I used skinny dowels like this   Here's a finished one:
Kaya did a lot of weaving!  We practiced some very simple weaving using craft foam.  I used one large foam mat as the "loom" by folding it in half and then making equidistant cuts on th efolded edge, being careful to leave a safe margin at the open edge.  I had strips of cut foam ready to go so the girls could practice the concept of  over-under-over-under.  They ended up with simple placemants.

We moved on to a more difficult weaving project. Honestly I can't remember at which meeting we did this weaving activity, but here's the instructions, and here's what the loom looked like before weaving on it.

finished product with pony beads added
If you have a group of more advanced kids you could try this weaving project.

The Nez Perze handed down stories that were important to their people.  Wes ometimes call these stories legends. 
A legend is a narrative that people tell as a true story. Sometimes the details are difficult to confirm, but usually the story names people and identifies locations. The person telling the story usually does not claim to be an eyewitness to the events, but heard it from someone who knows someone who heard it from someone who was really there... Legends often contain a moral or a lesson and are told to uphold the values of the community. They often involve supernatural or religious elements.  What legends have you read about in the book? 
If the girls are interested in learning more about Native American legends this may be a helpful resource
The girls drew their own version of Stick People to put into their portfolios. (see page 16 for a description of Stick People)
Here are some additional ideas and activities for bringing Kaya Book One to life.

  • Study this Mocassin map.  Add it to your portfolio.
  • The Nez Perce believed in wyakins, or guardian spirits.  If you could pick a wyakin, what animal would you want it to be?  Draw it and add it to your notebook.
  • Make your own rolled up bedding.
  • Sew buttons onto scrap material using floss to simulate sinew.
  • Play string games.
  • Try some maple sugar candy. These can be cut in smaller pieces them go farther. They are very sweet! A little goes along way.

    • Learn about cougars

    I'm sure you can think of even more ideas to make these great books a real lesson in living history for your students.   Have fun!