About Me

My little button

Our Little Tongginator

Blog Archive

Design by

Weaksauce Blogs
Tuesday, November 17, 2009

One. Busy. Day.

This post brought to you by an eternally grateful daughter, who requests that you please shower Tonggu Grammy with effusive compliments for her hard work yesterday.

Last month, Tonggu Grammy came up with this oh-so-brilliant plan to share all things Native American with the Tongginator's kindergarten class at some point in the future. Ms. Confetti thought that sounded like an excellent plan, so she invited my momma to come in the week before Thanksgiving break. Because even though she, my momma and I know that most First Americans actually shy away from the holiday celebrating the "friendship" that led to the loss of their way of life, we thought we'd embrace the irony of it all. Oh, and because that's when most school curriculum calls for teaching about the "Pilgrims and Indians."

Ms. Confetti and my mom plotted and planned, pretty much leaving me out of the whole process. Which was probably a good thing... because I just might have fainted if I learned ahead of time what my momma was going to talk about with a bunch of five-year-olds. In case y'all didn't know, my momma may look like your standard run-of-the-mill white woman, but she is, in fact, part Cherokee. And, as you'll see, she takes her Native American heritage mighty seriously. She is all about sharing Past and Present Authentic Information and Stuff.

Tonggu Grammy would Die Of Absolute Mortification if a child walked out of her classroom still believing that ALL Indians used to live in tepees or that Native Americans of today still wore traditional dress on a daily basis. I mean, I'm sure y'all know that Native Americans lived in a variety of abodes, depending on their region and tribal customs, so why on earth do the schools just teach about tepees? It boggles the mind. I mean, what about the longhouses, wickiups, wigwams, hogans, chickees, pueblos and plankhouses? What about the igloos and asis, the earth lodges and sod houses? I mean, the least they could do is teach about wetus, the homes used by the Wampanoag tribe... you know, the tribe talked about in all those first Thanksgiving stories.

Grr...

Anyways, as I said, my momma is all about sharing Past and Present Authentic Information and Stuff. Because it's important for kindergartners to learn all about the atlatl, or spear-thrower, that can launch a spear the entire length of a football field.


And it's vital for them to understand all about how warring First Nations tribes would hit their enemies in the head (to kill them) or in the shoulder (to disarm them) during battle.


And what kindergartner wouldn't find it fascinating to learn that most indigenous peoples of the Americas used a mixture of animal brains and water to soften animal hides, making them more pliable and comfortable for use or wear?


And of course it's vitally important to touch various animal pelts (ones in which the fur remains) and hides (where the fur has been scraped off). I mean, how often does one get to actually feel a bear claw and live to tell about it?


And what sane person wouldn't find it utterly fascinating to hold the Cherokee doll that Tonggu Momma once played with as a little girl?


Or to learn all about how the Woodland Indians up and down the east coast used to place cattails, moss and soft grasses in the bottom of a cradleboard to act as a "diaper" for the babies resting inside? And who wouldn't then want to make a kindergarten version of a cradleboard, with a baby inside who sports a happy face on one side and a sad face on the other, depending on whether or not the moss, cattails and soft grasses need changing?


And - of course - what five-year-old wouldn't giggle at the sight of Tonggu Grammy demonstrating how most indigenous peoples of the Americas would creep up on their prey wearing the hides and pelts of the animals they hunted?


And it's important for them to bang away on authentic musical instruments, including drums of various sizes, a turtle-shell rattle and a variety of rawhide, gourd and deer hoof rattles.


Plus, what child wouldn't enjoy learning to write in pictographs, since it's impossible to mess up the spelling?


The children also got to look at an authentic spear; Inuit bone fish hooks; and arrow heads of various sizes, made by various tribes. They were able to feel the pelts of a raccoon, rabbit, deer, buffalo and fox; authentic children's dolls made by the Pueblo, Inuit and Sioux; a traditional Blackfoot dancing stick and an all-important Talking Stick. They sang traditional songs in the Iroquois and Cherokee languages. And they played a traditional Zuni game called Po-ke-an.


Tonggu Grammy and I were only in the Tongginator's class for a little over four hours. I later told her and Ms. Confetti that I dubbed the day "Native Americans... On Speed."

38 comments:

Buckeroomama said...

I would SO love to have Tonggu Grammy in J's class as his teacher. What a privilege for T's class to have her visit for that long; what a blessing for T to have her as her grammy; how equally blessed you are to have her as your mother. :)

bbmomof2boys said...

Wow!! TG - you rock! I can just imagine the conversations around the dinner table that night. Fun stuff.

Hugs,
Carla

Kim K. said...

What an awesome Grammy. I can just feel the pride coming through in all those great pictures.

Saint Louis Family Robinson said...

A post with pictures... lots of pictues! Ha!

What a great grandma!!! Is she for hire? Seriously?!?! We could use a grandma like that around here!

Aus said...

YaTaHey (as close as I can get typing a non-phonetic language)!Wow - what a GREAT thing ya'll did with these kids! I had the Blessing of teaching summer school in NM for three summers (both Navaho and Pueblo nations represented) to help the kids 'catch up' in reading and math for more 'mainstream' high schools. (I was a 'brown robe' at the time). I was oh so blessed to be accepted by these people as 'one' - but only once I proved that my heart was really theirs - that I wasn't just being a 'do gooder'!

At least a small portion know the 'truth' a little more now!

hugs - and thanks!

aus and co.

Elouise82 said...

Oh wow. Those kids are going to have So Much of a better grasp on Native Americans, thanks to those incredibly inventive and interactive teaching methods. That is so wonderful ... I remember feeling so cheated after I learned more about Native Americans and realized that most of what I had been taught in school (all two years of it before I was homeschooled) was Bunk.

The Tongginator is so very blessed to have such an awesome Grammy!

Dawn said...

OMGoodness... I think you've just made all of us wish to be in Kindergarten again at least for four hours!!! What an awesome opportunity for T and her classmates. T-Grammy rocks!

thegypsymama said...

OH MY LANDS!! Where to even begin - first off, does TG hire out? Because I think she could easily take her show on the road! Kindergartens around the country would welcome her with open arms.

Well, the spear-thingy might be a bit problematic. But based on that little boy's face in the background - the spear made his day! I know my boys would agree.

Four hours?! You guys must have been sweating bullets by the time you left!

Joan said...

That was amazing! What to go TG. I wonder if the kids stopped buzzing all night? I loved the hand crafts they did too. You made memories for them all. :-)

Rachel@just another day in paradise said...

I'm thinking Tonggu Grammy needs to take her show on the road. Then again. . .I wondered how she got those kids to sit still for all of that. Then, you said 4 (!) hours. I realized the kids were watching her buzz that entire time! Did her head ever spin around or anything cool?

Two Brothers Waiting said...

How cool!!!! My son is in kindergarten, and I know he would have loved being a part of all of this...heck, I would have enjoyed it too :0)
Thank you for your comment on my blog...I was really touched by it!

CC said...

WOW! What a day!!!!! Can she come and share all this cool info with The Flash's class too?????

A Beautiful Mess said...

can she come to my classroom...pretty please!

I love adding the "real" history of the settlers to the Thanksgiving story...you know disease, etc.

Your mom would love my yearly thankgiving post...you will have to scroll down to the november 26th 2008 post.

Magi said...

I bet the kids had a blast. I know I wish I had been there. The picture of your mom crouching with the pelt on her back is the best. If I were you, I'd have that baby framed and hanging up. Love it!

LaLa said...

WOW!!! I am 1/16th Cherokee myself and I would love to sit in on one of her talks! What great ideas...I bet one little girl was soooo proud!!!

Jboo said...

Wow -- what a great job Tongu Granny did! I'm sure the teachers and kids loved it!

janet

Bonnie said...

Oh my word - this sounds absolutely incredible (I popped over here from Alece's blog to read about yesterday and stuck around...). How I wish TG could head into my son's class & teach them! Actually - last year they did a major curriculum on Native Americans and this would have been an amazing addition. She should put together a curriculum! She sounds positively amazing!!

Mamatini said...

Oh, Tonggu Granny rocks, and like many others, I think she should go on tour!

It is so important for kids to see, touch, experience real things, to get an understanding of them.

Aunt LoLo said...

Can Tonggu Grammy come up and teach my Relief Society ladies??! Seriously! I'd pay her in cookies... ;-)

sounds like an AWESOME day! (And that picture of the bear claw gave me the willies...just so you know. LOL)

Myrnie said...

FOUR HOURS? She has the patience of a saint and the fortitude of a camel. It all sounds so fantastic :)

And, I remember learning lots about native americans (that's what the units were called at least) and it was always fascinating. In 3rd grade our TA had spent a year with the Coeur d'Alene tribe, and she taught us all about them. In 7th grade our class divided up into teams and we each spent 2 weeks in the library learning about a different tribe, and finished up the unit by each group doing a class presentation with art, slides, speech, activities, native costume...whatever we could come up with. It was fascinating!

If you're ever on this coast, the Natural History Museum in Victoria, BC has a great "first nation" hall. :)

Tonggu Grammy said...

Thank you one and all for the very gracious comments. I had a great time doing it. TM didn't tell you that SHE left after 4 hours and I remained to do a couple of mini 45 minute presentations to the other Kindergarteners in the school. It was much more fun in the morning where we got to sing, dance and do crafts as well. And I have thought about taking this "show" on the road. Maybe . . . .

Georgia Peach said...

WOW!!! WHAT A SHOW! That's incredible!

jen@odbt said...

What a cool grandma! I love how animated she is - great hands on learning!

Chelsea Gour said...

I would really enjoy it if she came to my homeschool in Charleston SC. So, if she leaves now and heads this way she could be here by Friday, right? Thank you! :)

Jean said...

I love your Mom!! She is great! I wish she could teach my kids!! I'm guessing the commute to MN may be a little too long!

What a dream teacher she is!!

Sharie said...

I think EVERY Kid needs to know that. Amelia just asked me tonight what I was going to be for Thanksgiving...she's going to be a Pilgrim in a pointy white hat...
I'm guessing she doesn't know any of that TG taught the Tonginnator's class.

Love Letters To China said...

It sounds like the kids had a great time! I must say just reading your post taught me a great deal about Native Americans. Thank you for sharing this information.

Annie said...

Oh my goodness, Tonggu grammy, you rock!!!! Very interesting and I am certain the kids LOVED it!!!

Lisa said...

LOVE this! What a wonderful, hands-on T Grandma! The TG must have been sooooo proud!

mumma to many said...

I just want your Momma!
Regardless of her pride and joy for education of any sort! She just sounds amazing and I want a Momma like that!
I and standing here stamping my foot really hard on the ground with my hands on my hips in between typing words!
I WANT YOUR MOMMA! Would she move to NZ?
Hugs Ruth in NZ
Green with envy!

Briana's Mom said...

What an amazing presentation. I wish she had come to visit my class when I was a kid!

prechrswife said...

Wow!

Nancy said...

What's even better is that I learned alot just from reading your post telling about it! Very educational and fun too. Way to go!
Nancy (found you from Jean's blog)

Kayce said...

That is so cool. Having parents, grandparents and aunts and uncles come into the class room to present something is one of the best things you can give a child in school. Tonggu Granny, you are awesome!

Michelle said...

Wow!!! Tonggu Granny just sealed The T's position as the coolest kid in the class - from Kindergarten all the way thru at least 5th grade. Does she travel to the Midwest? :)

planetnomad said...

Can she come visit my kids' school? Please? Oh and how's her French?

planetnomad said...

Can she come visit my kids' school? Please? Oh and how's her French?

Football & Fried Rice said...

Seriously, TG is amazing!!! Heck with her coming to my kids' school - I am going to need her to come to my house!!!!!!