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Native Pathways to Education
Alaska Native Cultural Resources
Indigenous Knowledge Systems
Indigenous Education Worldwide

Athabascan RavenAthabascan Winter Studies
The Dene'
Indigenous People of Interior

Kindergarten Unit

FNSBSD Alaska Native Education

Unit: Athabascan (Dene')
Winter Studies Language Strand

Lesson: Wintertime words and expressions

Day 4:

Students will learn contemporary and traditional words, phrases, expressions related to winter camp and urban activities,


Make copies of and mount enlarged language flash cards, (possible set-up in a writing center)

Laminate paper doll and outfits, if available in your school

Check-out language master & strips (or cassette player & tapes) if available from Library Media Services for grade level

Display Alaska Native Languages Map, available in library or ANE or UAF Native Language Center

Athabascan ABC Coloring Book

Review previous winter camp stories, "A View Of The Past," "Tetlin As I Knew It," and "When People Meet Animals"

Request interior animal stuffed toys from Library Media

Coloring and cutting supplies

Video "Gwich'in Niintsyaa" has native speakers throughout


Students will listen and practice pronunciation of words, phrases, or expressions used by one Athabascan language dialect that describe wintertime activities or resources.


Set-up a language master/cassette with matching language card/tapes strips in an Athabascan Language Center

Athabascan Coloring ABC Book

Invite 1-2 parent volunteers to assist on first day of using and practicing language cards

Optional set-up other Athabascan learning centers

-Writing center to copy Athabascan words under coloring book drawings on line provided

-Coloring center to continue complete other pages in coloring book

-Re-read legends with parent volunteer or show videos which are approximately 10 minutes long

-Play with or create clay/stick diorama, or with stuffed toys

Introduction: (set/purpose)

Display the pages that the class has been assigned to color on days 1-3. Ask the students to identify the main object each picture highlights, i.e.: C is for Cache, R is for Raven, M is for Muskrat, W is for fishwheels on river Waterways, etc., (some of these are deliberately more concept-orientated as it will be used for K-3 students). Ask the students if they would like to learn the words for some of these animals and winter activities? After their positive response, explain that we will be using centers after the group lesson to practice learning how to say some of these words in one of the 11 major Athabascan dialects.

Run one or two of the language cards through the language master (play cassette tape) to make them curious, stating that soon you will be able to say those words and know what they mean in English.

Activity: (input)

Read the other legend from When People Meet Animals, refer to day 3 lesson plan for focus points items for the reading of the legend.

Activity: (guided practice)

Show each language flash card to the students as you review the English translation and then run the language master language cards through the language master. Repeat each word at least three times to demonstrate the equipment and the process or method of practicing each word. (English word, Athabascan word and then English word). Give clear instructions on the use and care of the equipment and language cards. You may review classroom boundaries for behavior and use of equipment within the learning center.

Students will attempt to mimic the words spoken on the language master or cassette tape

Assign learning center groups or utilize the same procedures or groupings you use for other learning center activities.

Activity: (closure)

Students will demonstrate an honest and positive effort to try to say the words they are hearing as in the group activity and later as they work in the learning center stations.

Activity: (independent practice)

Break students into learning center groups and rotate each station at regular interval.

Students will practice speaking Dene' words / phrases / expressions using word cards, language master or audio tape in one learning center

Students will practice writing selected Dene' words on lined sheet and later rewrite directly to their coloring book pages

Students will color more pages in one station

Students will play or make elements of winter camp activities or animals hunted, elements could include:

-Moose, caribou, beaver, sled dog,

-Cache, log or tent house, sled, fiddle,

-Stuffed people dolls or paper dolls on a flannel board or paper drawn backdrop scene

ANE Curriculum Overview
Unit Overview



Athabascan Art Sampler


Go to University of AlaskaThe University of Alaska Fairbanks is an affirmative action/equal opportunity employer and educational institution and is a part of the University of Alaska system.


Alaska Native Knowledge Network
University of Alaska Fairbanks
PO Box 756730
Fairbanks  AK 99775-6730
Phone (907) 474.1902
Fax (907) 474.1957
Questions or comments?
Last modified August 17, 2006