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K-5 Curriculum Units

Native American Boarding School Curriculum: Chilocco Indian Boarding School K-2nd and 3rd-5th Grades aligned to C3 Standards

Samantha Benn-Duke, PhD


These lesson plans are targeted to elementary students from grades Kindergarten through second and from grades three through five. The standards align to the C3 Framework Standards. The lessons are designed as stand-alone inquiry lessons, allowing the educators to use one or both lessons. The lessons draw from primary and secondary resources, including oral histories from alumni of Chilocco Indian Boarding School in northern Oklahoma.


While the timeline of the resources is primarily from the latter years of the school’s operation, earlier years are referenced as well. Much of the resources from latter years demonstrate positive perceptions of the Native students who attended, and it is of importance to them that the curriculum and lessons demonstrate this as well. Although not all experiences were positive, the lessons for these early and middle elementary grades will focus on the positive experiences and perceptions. As students enter middle school grades, they can be exposed to the harsher realities, which are included in the curriculum for those grads.


Assessments will include both summative and formative. Formative assessments will include grand discussion, vocabulary activities, noticing and wondering activities, depicting understanding via pictures, and creating a “journal entry” from the perspective of a student. Summative assessment can be performance of Reader’s Theater and/or the journal entries. Lesson Structure and Procedures Learning activities will be introduced and will include links to relevant primary and secondary sources. Teachers can select to use full lesson plans, which could span over 2-3 days, or select the parts that are most relevant to their own state standards. It is highly recommended that teachers read information about Chilocco Indian Boarding School as well as other information pertaining to Indian boarding schools. Lessons draw heavily from data collected via oral history interviews conducted by Oklahoma State University’s Oklahoma Oral History Program. Information specific to Chilocco can be found at OSU’s site and also at Chilocco’s alumni association site.

Download the K-2 Curriculum Unit