Rain Is Not My Indian Name Developed by Callie Shanahan and Clark Schlegel for Arlee Junior High School Text Title, Author, and Citation

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Rain Is Not My Indian Name

Developed by Callie Shanahan and Clark Schlegel for Arlee Junior High School
Text Title, Author, and Citation

Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Rain Is Not My Indian Name. New York: Harper Collins Publishers, 2001.

About the Author

Smith is a member of the Muscogee (Creek) Nation, has written several children’s books and stories and has received many awards.

Text Summary

Rain Is Not My Indian Name is the story of Cassidy Rain Berghoff, who reconnects to her family and community after the death of her best friend through the lens of a camera.
Tribes Represented in Text

Lakota, Muscogee, Northeastern Creek, Cherokee, Ojibway, Chippewa, Annishinabe, and Seminole are represented within the novel. Various other racial groups are represented throughout the story.
Setting of Text

Rain Is Not My Indian Name takes place primarily in Douglas County in Kansas. Time: Contemporary.
Genre of Text

Young adult fiction, ages 12 -16.
Suggested Grade Levels

grades 6, 7, and 8.
Time Required

six weeks
Supplies and Materials

Copies of text, Rain Is Not My Indian Name, for each student. Chart paper, markers, highlighters, and journals.

Materials for building background knowledge should include books, web printouts of various native tribes, and items brought by students (jingle dress).

Jingle Dancer, also by Cynthia Leitich Smith, to use in the author study.

Implementation Level, Essential Understandings and MT Content Standards

Banks - O’meter

Essential Understandings – Big Ideas

Montana Content Standards


Social Action


1-Diversity between tribal groups is great.


5-History represents subjective experience & perspective.


1.1-1.4, 2.1-2.3, 2.7, 2.8 3.1, 4.1, 4.2, 4.5, 5.3-5.5


2.1, 5.3

Library Media

2.4, 3.2


1.1, 1.5

Social Studies

1.1, 6.3



Speaking and Listening

1.1, 2.1-2.3, 2.5, 3.2-3.4, 3.6, 3.8, 4.1




2-Diversity between individuals is great.

6-Federal Indian policies shifted through 7 major periods.



3-Oral histories are valid & predate European contact.

7-Tribes reserved a portion of their land-base through treaties.


1.2, 1.5, 1.6,

2.2, 2.3, 3.1,4.1, 4.3, 5.1-5.3


1.1-1.4, 2.1-2.5,

3.1, 4.1-4.3, 5.1, 5.2, 6.1, 6.3




4-Ideologies, traditions, beliefs, & spirituality persist

8-Three forms of sovereignty exist - federal, state, & tribal.

Instructional Outcomes – Learning Targets
Content Area Standards
Essential Understandings
Essential Understanding 1: There is great diversity among the 12 tribal Nations of Montana in their languages, cultures, histories and governments. Each Nation has a distinct and unique cultural heritage that contributes to modern Montana.
Essential Understanding 2 – There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by many entities, organizations and people. There is a continuum of Indian identity ranging from assimilated to traditional and is unique to each individual. There is no generic American Indian.
Essential Understanding 3 – The ideologies of Native traditional beliefs and spirituality persist into modern day life as tribal cultures, traditions and languages are still practiced by many American Indian people and are incorporated into how tribes govern and manage their affairs.
Additionally, each tribe has its own oral history beginning with their origins that are as valid as written histories. These histories pre-date the “discovery” of North America.
Essential Understanding 5: History is a story and most often related through the subjective experience of the teller. Histories are being rediscovered and revised. History told from an Indian perspective conflicts with what most of mainstream history tells us.
Social Studies

Students will

1.1 apply the steps of an inquiry process (i.e., identify question or problem, locate and evaluate potential resources, gather and synthesize information, create a new product and evaluate product and process).
6.3 identify and differentiate ways regional, ethnic and national cultures influence individual’s daily lives and personal choices.

Skill Sets

Students will

    1. make predictions and clearly describe, with details, meaningful connections between new material and previous information/experiences.

    2. compare and contrast important print/nonprint information with existing knowledge to draw conclusions and make application.

    3. interpret and provide oral, written, and or artistic responses to ideas and feelings generated by the reading material and compare responses with peers.

    4. demonstrate understanding of main ideas and select important supporting facts and details.

2.1 decode unknown words combining the elements of phonics, grammatical structures,

analysis of word parts and context to understand reading material.

2.2 demonstrate understanding of and analyze literary elements (e.g., plot, character, point of

view, conflict).

2.3 identify and compare literary devices (e.g., figurative language, exaggeration, irony, humor,


2.7 use a variety of reading strategies to comprehend meaning, including self correction,

rereading, using context clues and adjusting rate.

2.8 ask questions, check predictions, and summarize information prior to, during, and

after reading.
3.1 articulate and evaluate strategies to self-monitor reading progress, overcome reading difficulties and seek guidance as needed.

    1. establish and adjust the purposes for reading (e.g., personal satisfaction, lifelong reading habits, sharing and reflecting upon their reading).

4.2 read to organize and understand information, and to use material to investigate a topic. (e.g., reference material, manuals, public documents, newspapers, magazines and electronic information).

4.5 identify recurring themes, perspectives, cultures, and issues by reading (e.g., identity, conflict, change.

5.3 recognize author’s point of view and purposes.

5.4 recognize author’s use of language and literary devices to influence readers.

5.5 recognize, express, and defend a point of view.


Students will

1.2 identify and comprehend the main idea and supporting facts and details, and summarize ideas in own words.

1.5 draw inferences and conclusions based on literary works.

1.6 respond to literary works on the basis of personal insights and respect the different responses of others.
2.2 recognize the impact of literary elements (e.g., plot, theme, character, setting, point of view) and evaluate their effectiveness.

2.3 evaluate how vocabulary and language contribute to literary works.

3.1 select a variety of literary works, expressing reasons for personal recommendation, discovery, appreciation and enjoyment.
4.1 select, read, listen to, and view a variety of literary works.

4.3 create and share responses to literary works through the application of technology, speaking, writing, visual, and performing arts (e.g., discuss, write, move, design, compose, sing).

5.1 examine and explain how history, culture, ideas, and issues influence literary works

5.2 compare and contrast a variety of perspectives of self, others, and world issues through a selection of literary works.

5.3 use literary works to develop and understanding of the many dimensions of human experience (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic).

Students will

    1. organize text in paragraphs with clear beginning, middle, and end, using transitions and logical sequence.

    2. develop a main idea through relevant supporting details.

    3. demonstrate some control of personal voice, sentence structure, and word choice.

    4. apply conventions of standard written English (e.g., spelling, punctuation, usage) appropriate for grade level and purpose.

2.1 plan writing by generating and organizing ideas through a variety of strategies and by considering purpose and audience.

2.2 write one or more drafts that capture and organize ideas.

2.3 revise writing at the word, sentence, and paragraph levels using feedback from others.

2.4 edit, with some assistance, by correcting errors (e.g., grammar, capitalization, punctuation, spelling, usage).

2.5 share/publish a legible final product.

3.1 set goals and analyze successes in their own and others’ writing.
4.1 identify and articulate the purpose for their writing and write appropriately.

4.2 choose audiences (e.g., self, peers, adults) appropriate to purposes and topics.

4.3 experience writing in different genres (e.g., narrative writing).
5.1 identify and analyze characteristics of different forms (e.g., narrative, journal, technical).

5.2 write using characteristics of different forms.

6.1 pose questions or identify problems.

6.3 share information in appropriate ways for intended audiences.


Students will

1.1 observe and describe the importance of speaking and listening in personal relationships.
2.1 analyze one’s own techniques of listening in a variety of situations (e.g., focusing attention, reflecting, interpreting, analyzing, responding to messages).

2.2 demonstrate appropriate speaking and listening behaviors in communication with various audiences.

2.3 speak and listen effectively for an expanded range of purposes (e.g., giving and understanding information, presenting and appreciating creative performances, delivering and analyzing persuasive messages).

2.5 identify and use different types of listening appropriate to the listening situation (e.g., interpretive and empathic listening).

3.2 use verbal language appropriate to occasion, audience, and topic.

3.3 explain and appropriately use verbal and nonverbal skills to enhance presentations and manage communication anxiety.

3.4 monitor understanding by identifying and using strategies (e.g., inquiring, taking notes, summarizing oral and visual clues).

3.6 compare and contrast one’s own experiences, information and insights with the message received in a variety of communication situations.

3.8 identify, anticipate, and manage barriers to listening.
4.1 analyze and apply the characteristics of effective speaking and evaluative listening.

Students will

2.1 refine skills to enhance performance and ease task completion (e.g., programming, authoring, editing).
5.3 organize information from technical sources and communicate findings.

Library Media

Students will

2.4 recognize the ideas and backgrounds of others and acknowledge their contributions.

3.2 interpret a wide variety of literature and other creative expressions in various genres and formats.

Students will

    1. create models to illustrate scientific concepts and use the model to predict change (e.g., computer simulation, a stream table, graphic representation).


Students will

    1. formulate and solve multi-step and nonroutine problems using a variety of strategies. Generalize methods to new problem situations.

    1. recognize and investigate the relevance and usefulness of mathematics through

applications, both in and out of school.
Learning Experiences

Building Background Knowledge Workshop and Author Study (see days 1-6)


Students will be using these comprehension strategies throughout the unit to become more familiar with them. Different chapters will focus on different comprehension strategies using various recording forms.

  1. Activate Background Knowledge

-What do you already know about this topic?

-What connections (schema) can you make to your life, the world, or other things you

have read?

  1. Ask Questions

-What do you want to know about this topic?

-What questions come up as you read?

  1. Make Inferences

-What background knowledge and explicit information from the text are you using to make meaning?

-What predictions are you making, testing, and revising as you read?

  1. Determine Importance

-What words, sentences, ideas, and themes are especially important?

-What is the big picture, the main idea?

  1. Make Mental Images

-What images come to mind as you read and what do they remind you of?

  1. Synthesize

-What inferences and key concepts are you putting together to deepen your understanding?

  1. Monitor Comprehension

-re-read, read ahead, use context clues, restate, research, use decoding strategies

Students will create a mural and write an essay explaining the connections to the characters that help them understand everyday issues (See lesson plan at end of unit).

Assessment will take place throughout the unit

Various recording forms, journaling, letters to the editor, poetry, murals, Venn Diagrams, bookmarks, popcorn discussions, debriefs, entrance tickets, exit tickets, presentations, group participation, reading workshops, writing, workshops, written conversations, and usage of the comprehension strategies.

Suggested Day-By-Day Plan

45-50 minute class periods

Day 1

Building Background Knowledge Workshop while putting students into groups.

  1. Create jigsaw puzzle pieces using photocopied photos or pictures that relate to the Cherokee and Ojibway. You may choose your own pictures/photos or use the bibliography. Cut pictures apart puzzle-piece style ahead of time.

  2. Write each student’s name on the back of the puzzle pieces to place them in groups.

  3. Hand out the puzzle pieces to each student with their name on the back.

  4. Have students find their group by putting the puzzle pieces together to create a picture and get in groups according to their picture. Each group should have a different picture or photo. This can be used to group the students, as you would like.

  5. Do a think-aloud using the mystery photos to show students how to make inferences about their photo or picture. (See inference chart attached.) You might say, ‘I’m wondering who this person is” or “I’m guessing this picture is from the 1800s.”

  6. Students will use the inference chart and picture to start brainstorming and discussing what they think they see in the picture or photo.

  7. Have students trade with the group clockwise and continue their inferences. Each group should pass their photos until everyone has made inferences on each picture. Depending on the group of students you may need two class periods to do this.

Day 2

Building Background Knowledge Workshop continued using different pieces of text. The text you choose should come from different sources and genres so that students can identify each piece of text. (poem, timeline, articles, journal entry, etc.) (See bibliography)

  1. Each group will receive a different piece of text; text selections are color-coded. Each piece of text will represent a particular angle or perspective from the photos or pictures from the day before.

  2. Students write an overall synthesis for the piece of text that they received and connect it with the photos from the day before. You should be prepared to teach about writing synthesis: combining ideas from multiple sources using their own words.

  3. Participants share out their synthesis of the perspective they learned form the particular piece of text that they read.

  4. Each group member shares and as they share; others will take notes on important perspectives that they hear.

  5. After each group has shared the class will debrief using a popcorn read (Popcorn read day 3).

Day 3

Popcorn Read

  1. Students will write down or highlight information that really stands out to them. It can be anything from the last three days of the Building Background Knowledge Workshop.

  2. Explain to students that it will be silent in the room except for the one person talking. There is no commentary and they should try to connect with what the person said before them. Also let students know that it is ok to repeat a phrase if it was something they thought was important.

  3. The class is in a circle and one person starts the group off by reading a phrase and another student follows. It is also known as popcorn read because there is no certain order that the students speak. They can speak as the spirit moves them.

  4. After the popcorn read have them write down what they thought of the popcorn read as an exit ticket out of the classroom.

-What was the experience like?

-How did the participants like reading phrases without commentary?

-How did highlighting key points help them?

-How did it help to hear what others read aloud?

-What was it like to try to connect to other phrases?

-Did you think it was similar to poetry?

  1. Collect the exit tickets as students leave the room.

Day 4

  1. Students brainstorm with a partner the reasons behind keeping a journal and how they might reflect on ideas.

  2. After they brainstorm ideas they write it on chart paper that can be hung in the classroom so they can use it as a reference throughout the unit.

  3. Discuss journal writing as a class and explain that it is personal writing that helps you explore your own ideas. Explain how to use writing to think through important ideas and experiment with new ways to express yourself.

  4. Write the first journal entry relating to the inferences that they made with the mystery photos and how the different texts may connect with them. Students should include how they used their schema to come up with inferences.

Day 5

Begin the author study using the picture book Jingle Dancer.

  1. Hook the students by having a jingle dress worn by one of your students.

  2. Students write down everything they know about the jingle dress and any connections that they may have with it.

  3. Have students make predictions about the book by looking at the cover and making connections to their inferences that they made in the Building Background Knowledge Workshop from Day 1.

  4. Explain to students that good readers make connections to their own lives, to other books, and to the world to help them better understand a new text. This helps them form a file system in their brains called schema. “As we read today we will be making text-to-self, text-to-text, and text-to world connections to better understand the characters in this picture book.”

  5. As you read the first page to the students, use the Making Connections recording form on an overhead projector. Think out loud as you read. Then the students understand what you are thinking and it will make it easier for the students to make their own connections.

  6. Read the picture book while the students fill out their connections recording form.

  7. Students get in their groups and debrief by talking about the connections that they made with the book.

  8. As a class have a few students share using your model of the think-aloud.

Day 6

  1. Use a Teen Lifestyle magazine for an example before reading the first journal entry in the novel.

  2. Discuss the topics that are in this magazine and how some issues or topics may make them feel.

  3. Have students start writing down their ideas about how media changes them as a person.

  4. Students get into their groups and debrief by sharing their ideas.

  5. Keep this list in their journal so they can refer back to it as they are reading. Later they will use this to help them write about themselves and how media may affect their decisions.

  6. Students will find an article from home or the library and write a synthesis of the article and how it made them feel when they read the article. Remind them about synthesis-writing (Day 2).

  7. Their synthesis will be their entrance ticket into class on day 7.

Day 7

  1. Collect the entrance tickets as students come into the room.

  2. Read Chapters 1 and 2 (“Tasty Freckles” and “Broken Star”) pages 1-10.

  3. Reading with a partner, individually, popcorn reading or out loud as a class can be an option for all chapters of the book, depending on your students and what works best for them. It is best to do something different for each chapter so that students don’t get bored.

  4. Discuss genre, and find examples of foreshadowing. As the students are reading, discuss the descriptive language and why this language is important.

  5. As they read Chapters 1 and 2 use the Recording Form for Visualization so that students can make connections with the images in the first two chapters.

  6. Relate the visuals in this chapter to their entrance ticket.

  7. Debrief and discuss what they wrote down on their visual worksheet. This may be done in their groups or as a class.

Day 8

  1. The title of Chapter 2 is “Broken Star” so, students write down what or who this may symbolize and why.

  2. Discuss and give examples of different symbols that the Ojibway use to represent different feelings, items or people. Go back to the inferences that the students made in their Building Background Knowledge Workshop.

  3. Read the Osage Spider Story (see bibliography) and make inferences that connect to their building background knowledge workshop and symbolism.

  4. Have students use paper and colored pencils to create a symbol that represents them and write about it explaining why they used the symbol that they did.

  5. Journal: Rain describes the hug with Mama and Galen as her “safest memory.” What makes it so safe? What does this moment tell you about the rest of the novel? What is your safest memory? Explain what made it so special.

Days 9-10

  1. Read Chapter 3 (Six months later). Use the same chart from the author study labeled “quotes,” “connections,” and “helps me understand.” Students should also be continuing their chart from their building background knowledge workshop with their questions.

  2. Do a think aloud to show an example of what the students will be looking for as they are reading.

  3. Students fill out the chart as they are reading. Student write questions they have about the content, the author, the events, the issues and the ideas in the book. This can be written in their journal so they can refer back to it at any time.

  4. Discuss questions that the students have in groups. If they are in groups they may find that there are some more questions that they didn’t think about or they may have some of their questions answered.

  5. After they discuss in groups, bring them together as a class and have a popcorn discussion where students answer and discuss questions that they have about the book so far.

  6. Create a large anchor chart for the wall so all the students can refer back to it as they are reading and answer questions they have.

Day 11

  1. Review imagery and how it was used in chapter 3 to develop mood.

  2. Have students re-read the weather descriptions and write down examples of weather creating mood.

  3. Read and discuss pieces of Mountain Windsong: A Novel of the Trail of Tears by Robert J. Conley. Any piece you choose will be worthwhile.

  4. Brainstorm new weather ideas that will create a mood for the reader.

  5. Have small groups record their ideas on a large piece of paper and share it with the class.

  6. Individually students will write a short description that uses weather to create a mood.

7. Students will get back into their groups and share their work.

8. Group members will give specific and positive feedback to each other.

9. Students may read their work to the class if they are comfortable.

10. Debrief as a class, review imagery and why authors use it in their writing.

Day 12

  1. Have students find examples from the library and on the internet of Native American authors that use strong imagery in their writing.

  2. Discuss the different forms of writing they will be looking for.

  3. Have students brainstorm how they are going to find the information that is needed using different resources.

  4. Discuss their ideas in groups and write down ideas to use in the computer lab.

  5. Students use the computer and the library to find examples.

  6. Students find examples and bring them to class on day 13 as an entrance ticket.

Day 13

  1. Read Chapter 4, “My Not So Secret Secret Identity.” Focus on the letter that Mrs. Owen wrote and how it makes them feel.

  2. Students will write a letter to the editor in response to Mrs. Owen.

  3. Have students bring in different examples of letters to the editor and discuss how they are different from other kinds of letters.

  4. Each student will find an article from the local newspaper that they will respond to by writing a letter to the editor. This could be a writing unit that can be taught throughout the novel depending on the students’ background knowledge of letters.

  5. Journal: “Rain is not my Indian name, not the way people think of Indian names. But I am an Indian, and it is the name my parents gave to me.” Respond and reflect on this quote and what it means to you and what it meant to Cassidy. Does this relate to the title of the book? Reflect on Cassidy Rain and her journal entry.

Day 14

  1. Read Chapter 5, “Moo Shu and Peace.” As the students are reading have them go back to their chart with connections and questions and write down any other connections they have had and any more questions they have.

  2. Do a think-aloud with the students and review what it means to connect with the story and ask questions.

  3. Journal-Galen, who is white, asks Rain, who is Irish- Scottish-Muscogee-Cherokee- Ojibway, if she would ever date an African American person. Write about your feelings.

  4. Continue their letter to the editor and review criteria for a letter to the editor. This may continue as they are reading the book. It will depend on how much time you feel your kids will need and how much background knowledge or experience they have with writing letters.

Day 15

  1. Read Chapter 6, “Indian Camp,” focusing on the new characters in the story.

  2. Use a Venn Diagram for two of their favorite characters in the story or characters that students have questions about.

Day 16

Character Trait Tableaus Activity

This activity will help reinforce the new characters and their traits.

  1. Write selected characters on note cards that you would like the students to focus on.

  2. Put students in their groups.

  3. Hand out a different note card to each group.

  4. The group has 10 minutes to prepare several actions that are traits of their character. They can only act and there is no talking.

  5. Each group presents their character silently and the other groups guess who they are acting out.

  6. Making this a competition between groups and giving them points is an option if you want to make it more of a game.

  7. Journal: Write a response to the character trait activity. Questions to include: How may you relate to a character in the story and why? How did this activity help you remember the different characters and their traits?

Day 17

Chapter 7, “Malibu Pocahontas”

  1. Journal: What are your inferences about this chapter and why do you think it is titled “Malibu Pocahontas”? What do you think this means?

  2. Review what a simile is and the difference between a simile and a metaphor.

  3. As students read this chapter they will write down all the similes.

  4. When they are finished they will change the similes into metaphors and discuss their answers in a group.

  5. Come together as a class and create a chart to put up on the wall so students can add to it as they come to similes and metaphors in the book.

  6. Journal: In Chapter 7 Rain says that she is biracial. What does this mean to you?

Day 18

Cultural identity lesson plan

To explore the racial diversity within the characters in the texts Rain Is Not My Indian Name and A Man Called Raven.

  1. On a clean sheet of paper write down the different racial characteristics for the characters in the two books that you can recall. (3-5 minutes)

  2. Read A Man Called Raven aloud to the whole class.

  3. Have a class discussion (popcorn fashion) by first sharing comments written down and then open the discussion for additional comments and questions. (10-12 minutes)

  4. Have students write additional characteristics on their paper that they might have missed earlier. (3-5 minutes)

  5. Ask students to make a comparison of their own racial characteristics (identify their racial identity or identities) with Toby and Chris Greyeyes in A Man Called Raven or with Rain, Fynn, or Queenie in Rain Is Not My Indian Name. (10 minutes)

  6. Remind students to go back to their previous notes and the Building Background Knowledge Workshop.

  7. Collect papers from students at the end of the period as an exit ticket.

Day 19

  1. Journal: Rain explains that she sometimes considers using color film, “but Gramps always says that true artists shoot the highlights and the shadows because stories live in shades of gray. He says color can hide the truth.” Ask, What do you think Gramps meant by this and how does it relate to the story?

  2. Activity: Have students use school cameras or a black and white disposable camera to take pictures that explain who they are, and what their heritage is. They may also use pictures from home or they can draw their montage if they don’t have access to a camera.

  3. Students will create a black and white montage that describes them and write a short autobiography.

  4. Explain what an autobiography is and use an example of a montage and autobiography of yourself to share with the students.

  5. When they finish their own they will share in groups of five and debrief on the experience.

  6. This will be useful when they create their mural at the end of the unit.

Day 20

Chapters 8-9 “Laura Ashley’s Prissy Twin” and “Trailer Park Dreams”

  1. As students are reading the next two chapters have them write down all the unfamiliar words and clues in the text that might help them figure out the meaning of the unknown words.

  2. Do a think-aloud for the students so they understand how the different types of context clues can help them figure out the meaning of a word.

  3. Create a word wall to display unknown words so students can add to it when they come to an unknown word and use it as a reference for discussion.

  4. During discussions students can help each other figure out the meaning of the word using their context clues and reading strategies.

Day 21

In chapter 8 they are making pasta bridges. To connect math and science have the students create a Pasta Bridge and work on it throughout the unit with a small group.

The Pasta Bridge Project (Student Handout)
Project Goals: To explore physical and mathematical relationships that apply to the engineering and building of a bridge. To make connections with the Indian Camp participants in Chapters 9 “Trailer Park Dreams” and 10 “Stop the Presses” in Rain Is Not My Indian Name.
Goal: Design and construct a bridge made out of edible pasta plus glue.
Small Group (3 or 4 students) Tasks: Select a bridge design by doing research to design and construct your bridge (one class period). This information may be obtained online in the computer lab or through materials you locate in the library. Each team member will keep information in his/her personal journal which will be checked throughout the project and turned in at its conclusion. Items to include in your journal:

  1. Photograph or scale drawing of bridge design.

  2. Explanation as to why this particular style or design was used.

  3. Three or more interesting facts about this bridge design.

Develop a plan for building your bridge including the following (1/2 class period): Each member copies to his/her journal.

  1. Make a plan for construction of your selected bridge.

  2. Estimation of materials needed.

Construct your bridge using commercial pasta products only. Follow your drawings and plan (1 to 1 ½ class periods). Your bridge will be required to support 2 lbs. of weight for a period of ten minutes.

Assessment: You will be graded on the success of your group’s project, the contribution you made to the project, and your individual journal. Each group will evaluate the performance of their team members. You will evaluate yourself using a self-assessment form and answer these questions:

  1. What did you learn?

  2. How did you relate building your bridge to the bridge-building activities in Rain Is Not My Indian Name?

  3. How will having done this project help you in future endeavors?

Day 22

  1. Read Chapters 10 and 11, “Stop the Presses” and “A Taste for Green Bean Casserole.”

  2. Make connections with the journal entry on page 90-91.

  3. Rain remembers many details about her mother’s funeral. What details can you picture in your mind? Do you have any days like this where you could close your eyes and go back and remember what that day was like?

  4. Review visualizing with the class and go back to the visuals they made earlier in the unit.

  5. Write about a time in your life when you can remember everything in your mind. Use the 6+1 writing traits to write about it. Is there anything you would do differently on this day?

Day 23

Chapter 12 “Did Somebody Say ‘Clueless?’”

  1. Focus on the changes that Rain has been through and how they have made her a different person. Use the recording form called Why Is That Character Changing?

  2. What did you discover about Rain in this chapter and what did she discover about herself? What does this help you understand about yourself and how you change and express yourself?

  3. Journal: After talking to Dad, Fynn changes the marks in all the boxes from Native American/American Indian to white. Reflect in your journal.

Day 24

  1. Read Chapters 13 and 14, “Rising Rain” and “Mamas and Babies.”

  2. Students will read and be thinking about events that happen in this chapter that they may have questions about or would like to discuss with a partner. After reading, the students will engage in a written conversation.

Written Conversation

  1. Each student has a partner and piece of paper with their questions.

  2. Students will write a letter to his or her partner including their questions and reflections.

  3. Time them for three minutes while they write. There is no talking during these three minutes.

  4. After the period of three minutes is up, they switch papers and write a response to their partner for three minutes.

  5. Repeat this process 2-4 times.

  6. Give students 3 minutes to discuss what they wrote and have an oral conversation about the chapter.

  7. Collect their written conversation as they are leaving the classroom; this will be their exit ticket in order to leave the classroom. This exit ticket will help the teacher assess what they learned and the questions that were answered by their partner.

  8. Assign the journal entry below for homework and collect as an entrance ticket when they arrive in the classroom the next day.

  9. Journal: Rain writes that it was a pretty near perfect day. What made it a perfect day for Rain? Write about a perfect day that you remember. Give details and create an image. Remember to include the 5 senses.

Day 25

  1. Read Chapter 15, “Deadlines.”

  2. Students continue taking notes using their reading strategies.

  3. One of Rain’s primary relationships is with Queenie. While reading this chapter students will create a Venn Diagram comparing Queenie and Rain.

Day 26

  1. Read Chapter 16, “Independence Day.”

  2. Make inferences from the poem in this chapter called “People talk.”

  3. Respond by writing a poem about yourself.

  4. The poem can be titled “Who Am I.”

  5. Discuss poetry elements before writing the poem. Have an example of a poem that you wrote about yourself to show them your thinking process. Each poem should contain at least 12 lines.

Day 27

  1. Read Chapters 17 and 18, “Children of the Corn” and “What Really Happened.”

  2. Journal: After Cassidy has a fight with Queenie, she runs four miles in cowboy boots to the front gate of the Garden of Roses Cemetery. Why does she go there? Why can’t she manage to pass through the gates to the cemetery itself?

  3. After students respond to the journal they write down an overall synthesis of the book using all of their notes and the word wall.

  4. Brainstorm ideas for a mural, making connections throughout the book and using all of the ideas and work they have done throughout the unit.

Days 28-32

Students will create a mural in their group connecting all of their work with the Building Background Knowledge Workshop and write about it explaining the overall meaning of the book.
Student Learning Targets

  1. I can create a mural that connects my cultural identity and Rain in the book.

  2. I can write a five-paragraph essay explaining the mural using the 6+1 traits.

This may take more than 4 days to create depending on the revision process for the writing.


When students are taking notes and using their comprehension strategies they should be writing down all unfamiliar words. Then they can write the words up on a word wall. Make sure to discuss this vocabulary during debrief discussions and refer back to them throughout the unit.

After the unit is over they can rearrange the words from the word wall to write a paragraph using most of the words or all of the words in an overall synthesis about Rain Is Not My Indian Name.

Extension Activities

  • Have students use paper and colored pencils to create a symbol that represents something or someone in their life and write about it explaining why they used the symbol that they did. This may also be done with clay.

  • As a class, review imagery and why authors use it in their writing. To expand these activities, have students create instruments and perform a musical, creating different moods. They can perform this in front of the class.

Resources and References

Bull, Jacqueline Left Hand and Suzanne Haldane. Lakota Hoop Dancer. Hong Kong, China: Dutton Children’s Books, 1999.
Bial, Raymond. The Cherokee. New York: Benchmark Books, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 1999.
Bial, Raymond. The Ojibwe. New York: Benchmark Books, Marshall Cavendish Corporation, 2000.
Bruchac, Joseph. The First Strawberries: A Cherokee Story. Flagstaff: Northland, 1993
Claro, Nicole. The Cherokee Indians. New York: Chelsea House Publishers, 1992.
Culham, Ruth. 6+1 Traits of Writing. New York: Scholastic Inc, 2003.
Daniels, Harvey and Zemelman, Steven. Subjects Matter: Every Teacher’s Guide to Content-Area Reading. Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann, 2004.
Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound. Forms, handouts, and BBK materials. Seattle, WA: Simple Machines, 2003.
Jones, William. Ojibwa Texts. Volume 2, Publications of the American Ethnological Society, 1919.
Keene, E. and S. Zimmerman. Mosaic of Thought, Portsmouth, NH: Heinemann Publishing, 1997.
Lepthien, Emilie U. The Cherokee. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1985.
Mason, A. Osage Spider Story. Illustrated by Redwing T. Nez.
McCall, Barbara A. The Cherokee. Vero Beach, FL: Rourke Publications, Inc., 1989.
Miller, Debbie. Reading with Meaning, Portsmouth, NH: Stenhouse Publishing, 2002.
Regguinit, Gordon. The Sacred Harvest, Obibway Wild Rice Gathering. Minneapolis: Lerner Publications Company, 1992.
Smith, Cynthia Leitich. Jingle Dancer. New York: Morrow Junior Books, 2000.
Stein, R. Conrad. The Trail of Tears. Chicago: Children’s Press, 1985.
Tovani, C. I Read It But I Don’t Get It. Portland: Stenhouse Publishing, 2000.
Van Camp, Richard. A Man Called Raven. San Francisco: Children’s Press, 1997.
Van Laan, Nancy. Shingebiss: An Ojibwe Legend. Boston: Houghton Mifflin, 1997.
“Pasta Bridge.” 2003. Exciting Scout Crafts. 27 June 2007 <http://www.e-scoutcraft.com/activities/pasta_bridge.html>.
“Pasta Bridge/Material Design Competition.” Milford High School Science and Engineering Exposition. 27 June 2007 <http://www.nhsee.org/MHS/Engineering/PastaBridgeMaterialDesignComp.html>.
“Rain Is Not My Indian Name.” 2007. cynthialeitichsmith.com. 27 June 2007 <http://www.cynthialeitichsmith.com/CLS/cyn_books/rain/rainisnotmyindianname.html>.
Smith, Cynthia Leitich Smith. “Jingle Dancer.” 31 July 2004. Cynsations. 27 June 2007 <http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2004/07/jingle-dancer.html>.
Smith, Cynthia Leitich Smith. “Rain Is Not My Indian Name.” 1 Aug. 2004. Cynsations. 27 June 2007 <http://cynthialeitichsmith.blogspot.com/2004/08/rain-is-not-my-indian-name.html>.

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