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OPS At Home Learning: Native Indigenous Centered Education

Grade level resources


Language and Literacy

What You Need to Know About Language and Literacy Development in Preschoolers (This article discusses vocabulary skills in children, how to make reading fun, and how asking questions can boost vocabulary skills).

Read books. You can picture read or read the words. While reading, encourage your child to talk about the book. You can ask your child questions about the book, about the characters, and about the problem and solution of the book.  You can also act out the book with your child.

Talk about the letters that you see in your home. You may see letters in the kitchen, bathroom, and bedroom. You may see letters on food labels, food boxes, shampoo bottles, household appliances, and anywhere else you see letters. Along with this, you can make a connection to the child’s name. Seek out letters in your home that are also in your child’s name.

Write your child’s name on a piece of paper. Your child can trace their name and practice writing their name. Your child can trace their name with crayons, markers, paint with Q-tips, popsicle sticks, glue sticks with glitter, or your even trace with your finger!

Talk with your child during mealtime. Reminisce about your day, talk about what you’re having to eat,  what you’re going to do after you eat, and you and your child’s interests!

Reading Resources - free to students during this time – Free readings about Native American history and issues or Epic! App (Will need class code – Masek's class code is tkv6281)

Books by native authors or telling native stories on Epic!

We Are Grateful: Ostaliheliga by Traci Sorrell

Chukti Rabbit’s Big, Bad Bellyache told by Greg Rodgers

Buffalo Bird Girl by SD Nelson

Secret of the Dance by Andrea Spalding and Alfred Scow

First Laugh, Welcome, Baby! By Bo Flood and Rose Ann Tahe

Baby Rattlesnake told by Te Ata Adapted by Lynn Moroneyundefined​​

The Apple Tree by Sandy Tharp-Thee

Sometimes I Feel Like a Fox by Danielle Daniel

Little You by Richard Van Camp

My Heart Fills with Happiness by Monique Gray Smith

We Sang You Home by Richard Van Camp

When I was Eight by Christy Jordan-Fenton

Math Activities

  • Do a color, number, or shape scavenger hunt indoors or outdoors.
  • During mealtime, count food items, talk about the color of food, and talk about the shapes of food.
  • Count during simple daily routines: teeth brushing, getting dressed, washing/folding laundry, and going up and down steps. 
  • Use measuring cups while cooking and talk about the numbers on the measuring cups,which measuring cups are bigger and which ones are smaller. Also, talk about the steps of a recipe (first, we add sugar, second, we add salt, and third, we add milk, etc.).

Social Emotional

  • Talk about feelings throughout the day. Label your child’s feelings and label your own feelings throughout the day. Talk to your child about what different situations cause certain feelings.
  • Practice breathing exercising with your child. It can be as simple as counting to 1,2,3, taking a deep breath, and letting out a breath when upset, overstimulated, or sad.
  • Draw emotion/feeling faces on paper plates. You can play a feelings game with the paper plates and talk about each feeling on the paper plates.

Resources This is the positive behavior intervention services website.. Parents can find resources on the early childhood tab at the bottom of the resources page. This article explains why social emotional health matters and some tools for parents toolbox for social emotional skills.

Dramatic Play

  •  Play dress up. Use different clothes you have at home and encourage your child’s creativity and imagination through pretend play. Ask your child questions about what they are wearing and what they are going to do in their clothes. Talk about who else wears those kind of clothes.
  • Play kitchen with your child. Get out pots, pans, spoons, bowls, plates, food, and other kitchen materials.
  • Make a sock puppet. Act out a puppet show with your child using their own socks!


  • Paint! Here is a homemade paint recipe: 1/2 cup flour, 1 cup water, pinch of salt (optional), extra water, Food coloring or liquid watercolors
    • Items you could use as a paintbrush or to paint with
    • cotton balls popsicle sticks sponges
      spoons/forks leaves or sticks feathers
      pine bough or cones ribbons


Items you could use to paint on:


wax paper

tin foil

construction paper

computer paper

paper plates

  • Free draw using crayons, markers, paints, etc.
  • Color mixing activities. You can discuss what colors to mix together to create another color.

Resources This article is great for parents to gain knowledge on the difference between process art and product art. It also explains the benefits of process art for children.

Music and Movement

  • Make/use homemade musical instruments with the following materials:
  • Homemade Guitar- Kleenex box and rubber bands
  •  Drum or rattler - Beans/rice with plastic cups, spoons and/or paper plates
  • Use pots and pans from kitchen as musical instruments.
  • Sing and dance using or child’s choice of developmentally appropriate music.   
  • Sing / finger plays:
  • Itsy-pitsy spider; patty cake; 5 little duck; 5 little monkeys; I’m a little teapot; row, row, row your boat; twinkle twinkle little star, etc.

Resources  - This article has finger play facts and how they enhance early childhood development. The website also has finger play activities to do with your child.

Gross Motor/Physical/Outside

  • Use to access videos including: yoga, exercises, dance  videos, and other active activities.
  • Create an at home obstacle course using any of the following: cones, tunnels, hula hoops, bean bags, jump ropes, etc. You can be as creative with this as you want!
  • Outside chalk - Create pictures, words, letters, shapes, etc. in chalk. Talk to your children about what they are drawing/creating and ask questions about it.  
  • Recipe for homemade chalk: 1 cup cornstarch, 1 cup hot water, muffin tin, and food coloring. Mix cornstarch and water together, put it in the muffin tin, and mix food coloring. This recipe is machine washable.
  • Go on a family scavenger hunt and can talk about what you see in nature, the weather outside, and different aspects of nature.
  • Blow Bubbles! Make your own by mixing 4 Tbsp water, 1 Tbsp concentrated dish soap, 2 Tbsp Sugar.



Balance and Self-Care 

  • Anticipatory set: Thin of someone you know who is very strong physically. How do you think the person got so strong? Think of someone who is smart.How do you think the person got so smart? Today let's talk about how we can improve our mind and body, as well as other areas.
  • Objectives: You will be able to identify ways they can strengthen many areas of their lives, specifically Physically, Mentally, Emotionally, and spiritually.
  • Materials: Large blank paper or poster, crayons markers or colored pencils.
  •  Overview: The Medicine wheel can represent many things. It can represent the four seasons, the four sacred herbs, or the four stages of life. But today let's talk about how it can represent the four ways of being: Physical, Mental, Emotional, and spiritual.


  •  On a large paper, draw a large circle. Then draw a line from the top of the circle to the bottom, and from the left of the circle to the right. You now have 4 quadrants. At the top of the quadrants write the words physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.undefined
  • What can you do to strengthen each of the four areas of your life. There are no wrong answers. There are no right or wrong answers, but here are some ideas:
    • Physical: exercise, eat healthy, drink water, get adequate sleep, etc.
    • Mental: Attend school, complete homework, read book, practice math facts, etc.
    • Emotional: adequate sleep, meditation, music, being in nature, breathing exercises, etc.
    • Spiritual: ceremony, church, meditation, use of herbs, smudging,
  • When each quadrant is filled out, explain that these are things you can do to make sure you are strong in these areas.
  • To finish, turn the medicine wheel picture over and draw a picture of yourself  doing one of the activities you wrote on the medicine wheel.
  • Wrap up: It is important to have balance in our lives, making each of the 4 quadrants strong.
  • Exit ticket: Commit to doing some of the things on the list you made.


Teacher TV

Reading Recommendations - Contact Elementary staff Anthony West to access

·  Standing Bear of the Ponca—Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

·  Grandfather Big Elk An Omaha Chief—Written by Katharine Sire; inspired by Omaha descendant Cornelius Levering  (

·   The Trickster and the Troll by Virginia Driving Hawk Sneve

·    When Thunders Spoke by Virgina Driving Hawk Sneve

Secondary - Middle and High School

Middle School

Teacher TV 

NICE Omaha 

High School

Reading recommendations Native American students contact NICE staff (Ethan Duncan/Cornelius Levering) to access


My People the Sioux – Luther Standing Bear An Indigenous Peoples’ History of the United States – Roxanne Dunbar-Ortiz The Middle Five Indian Schoolboys of the Omaha Tribe—Francis La Flesche
The Omaha Tribe (1 & 2) - Alice Fletcher & Francis La Flesche The Seventh Generation – Amy Bergstrom, Linda Miller Cleary, Thomas D. Peacock Black Elk Speaks – John G. Neihardt
Bury My Heart at Wounded Knee Dee Brown Lame Deer Seeker of Visions – John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes America Indian Myths and Legends – Richard Erdoes and Alfonso Ortiz


The Absolutely True Diary of a Part Time Indian – Sherman Alexie

There There – Tommy Orangeundefined

Tracks – Louise Erdrich

The Birchbark House – Louise Erdrich



Native American Mascot PSA produced by Christopher Marshall –Youtube

Omaha Language Video (Two elders speaking Umonhon 1 who has since gone to the spirit world)

Omaha Public Schools does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, national origin, religion, sex, marital status, sexual orientation, disability, age, genetic information, citizenship status, or economic status in its programs, activities and employment and provides equal access to the Boy Scouts and other designated youth groups. The following individual has been designated to address inquiries regarding the non-discrimination policies: Superintendent of Schools, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).

Las Escuelas Públicas de Omaha no discriminan basados en la raza, color, origen nacional, religión, sexo, estado civil, orientación sexual, discapacidad , edad, información genética, estado de ciudadanía, o estado económico, en sus programas, actividades y empleo, y provee acceso equitativo a los “Boy Scouts” y a otros grupos juveniles designados. La siguiente persona ha sido designada para atender estas inquietudes referentes a las pólizas de no discriminación: El Superintendente de las Escuelas, 3215 Cuming Street, Omaha, NE 68131 (402-557-2001).