Roosevelt first graders develop interactive museum

By Bryan Richardson

First grader Soleil Disney shared everything that she learned about Native Americans this month at Theodore Roosevelt Elementary.

The school’s first grade students held a Native American museum Tuesday where they showcased their school projects.

Soleil didn’t take any pauses for breath as she went through the presentation of her diorama, which showed a Native American family at their home near a river.

Soleil explained the father was hunting deer.

“He only kills the daddy deer, because if he killed the daddy and mommy deer then the baby deer couldn’t feed itself and the baby deer would die,” she said.

Her mom, Brooke Disney, recorded Soleil’s presentation on her phone.

Brooke said she helped with the hot glue and cutting out the pattern for the diorama while her daughter took care of the rest.

“She painted, did the clay design, and went outside and found the sticks,” Brooke said.

Joyce Eckelberry, Soleil’s teacher, said the first graders learned about Native Americans in November as a tie-in to Thanksgiving. It is also Native American Heritage Month nationally.

“As part of their school-to-home assignment, they choose a project to work on with their families,” Eckelberry said.

The students’ tables held creations that included teepees, bows and arrows, spears, drums and a totem pole.

Harper Green dressed the part as she showed off a traditional Native American dance.

She said she watched YouTube videos with her mom to learn the dances properly.

“We’ve been learning how they danced and what they looked like,” she said. “Me and my mom looked at their feet too.”

Karen Little, the school’s other first grade teacher, said the goal is for students to better understand the Native American culture.

She said kids at that age might not realize Native Americans are still living in the area.

“We’ve also been trying to teach a respect for the Native Americans,” she said. “They truly loved the country and felt it belonged to everyone.”

In Little’s classroom, Will Ivester showcased the pottery he made with his mom. He drew symbols on them such as fish, the sun, cactus, mountains, lake and rivers.

Ivester wore costume fur, but he couldn’t remember the name of the particular animal.

“I’m not really sure,” he said. “It’s probably buffalo fur.”

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