Subject: Language Arts

Grade: K-3

Topic: Poetry - handwriting

Content: Students will demonstrate proper handwriting skills in either cursive or printing, as well as an awareness of the form of Mr. Real Bird’s poem.

Goals: Students will improve their handwriting skills while being exposed to the poetry of Apsáalooke Tribal member Henry Real Bird.


Reading Standard 1: Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, and respond to what they read.

Reading Standard 5: Students gather, analyze, synthesize, and evaluate information from a variety of sources, and communicate their findings in ways appropriate for their purposes and audiences.

Literature Standard 1: Students construct meaning as they comprehend, interpret, analyze and respond to literary works.

Literature Standard 2: Students recognize and evaluate how language, literary devices, and elements contribute to the meaning and impact of literary works.

Literature Standard 5: Students use literary works to enrich personal experience and to connect to the broader world of ideas, concepts and issues.

Essential Understanding 2: There is great diversity among individual American Indians as identity is developed, defined and redefined by entities, organizations and people. A continuum of Indian identity, unique to each individual, ranges from assimilated to traditional. There is no generic American Indian.

Objectives: After completing this lesson students will have some exposure to the world of poetry, and the worldview of the Apsáalooke.


Poem Handout: Driftwood Feelin’

Lesson plan, copies of the poem, paper for copying poems and for drawing interpretation of the poem.

Introduction: Mr. Henry Real Bird is a world-renown cowboy poet, reciting his poetry across the nation. He has his master’s degree in education and is long time educator working in classrooms from the kindergarten level on the Northern Cheyenne Reservation, to Little Big Horn College in Crow Agency, where he served as the president for one year. Mr. Real Bird is a speaker with the Montana Humanities Council, and has written several children’s books. Young students will appreciate the imagery in his work.

Development: Students will improve their handwriting skills.

Practice: Students will write the poem in cursive or manuscript, exactly as the words appear in the selected poem. End each line in the same place it ends in the selected poem, unless the student cannot fit it on the line. Students will only capitalize words that are capitalized in the selected poem. Use the same punctuation as appears in the selected poem. Skip one line and write the author’s name on the next line. Students may then illustrate the poem.

Checking for Understanding/Evaluation: Students will present their drawings and explain how they illustrated the poem.

Closure: Students will talk about what the poem meant to them.