Lesson Plans:
Cultural Tic - Tac - Toe:
A Native American Book Response

Subject(s)/Grade(s): 3-6th Grades, English Language Arts, Reading and Language Arts
Related Subject(s): Social Studies, Art

Learning Outcomes

Using Native American books (see Suggested Books), students will respond about historical significance, literary elements, comprehension, and art while gaining insight and perspective of various Native American cultures.

  1. Students will become familiar with a Native American book combining various literary elements such as summarization and character analysis.
  2. Students will find the relevancy of the book’s message in today’s world.
  3. Students will produce a finished product that shows comprehension in various ways.

Teacher Planning

  • Time required for lesson: Five 50-minute class periods


  • Variety of Native American books
  • Internet access
  • Library and/or reference books
  • Basic art materials (shoeboxes, tissue/construction paper, glue, chenille sticks, glitter, etc.)
  • Computer and/or references books are needed for word processing, research, and to investigate art styles in each culture.



  1. Gather Native American books and have the Tic-Tac-Toe worksheet available. Include a rubric for assessment.
  2. Discuss elements of Native American literature:
    • Moral/lesson in stories
    • Relevance of past to present
    • Strong character traits
    • Personification of animals and/or things in nature


  1. Tic-Tac-Toe worksheet
    • Choose a 3-in-a-row (Tic-Tac-Toe) line to complete your assignment
    • Time expectations
    • FYI: Do artwork last
  2. Discuss expectations through rubric
  3. Conference with teacher after each complete square/project chosen
  4. Display and share activities


Teacher should create a rubric based on objectives to be mastered. Students should have the opportunity to self-evaluate their own project based on the rubric.


This Tic-Tac-Toe can be used for almost any Native American legend of choice.
This lesson plan can easily be adapted to lower or higher grades. Students can work independently or (if you have multiple copies of books) can work together in small groups. Working in small groups takes less time to complete entire project. Native American legends (picture books) are appropriate for teaching all grades.

North Carolina Curriculum Alignment

English Language Arts (2004)
Grade 11 - English III


Cherokee Legends:

  • Bruchac, Joseph. The First Strawberries. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1993.
  • Duvall, Deborah. The Opossum’s Tale. Albuquerque, NM, University of New Mexico Press, 2005.
  • Haley, Gail. Two Bad Boys. New York, Dutton Children’s Books, 1996.
  • Ross, Gayle. How Turtle’s Back Was Cracked. New York: Dial Books for Young Readers, 1995.
  • Roth, Susan. The Story of Light. New York, Morrow Junior Books, 1990.

- Submitted by Donna Beck and Jonnie Walkingstick, Cherokee Elementary School, Cherokee, NC 28719