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A Teacher’s Guide for Grades 2-3:

Indian Shoes

Get to know Ray Halfmoon and his beloved Grampa Halfmoon, and follow along as they navigate the joys and challenges of their adventures at home in Chicago, and in Oklahoma, where their extended Cherokee-Seminole family lives. We chose this story for its heartfelt and uplifting exploration of important social-emotional themes: culture, family, home, loss, resilience, and joy. Inspired by the ways that Ray and Grampa persevere and support each other through the ups and downs of life, students will find themselves making connections between Ray’s experiences and their own.

Indian Shoes is a story exploring the contemporary experiences of a Native American family living in urban America. The book is told through a series of chapters, each of which provides a peek into the lives of Ray Halfmoon and his Grampa, who serves as his caretaker. Each vignette reveals how the Halfmoons navigate the ups and downs of daily life in Chicago, always managing to find joy and resilience through their mishaps along the way. The depth of Ray and Grampa’s close relationship is explored in every chapter, along with their connections to their culture, their community, and their extended family in Oklahoma. In the first vignette, Grampa is missing Oklahoma–Ray becomes determined to get Grampa a pair of moccasins he sees in the neighborhood antique shop window, to ease his homesickness. In the next story, Ray is supposed to be the ringbearer for a wedding ceremony, but needs help from Grampa when he finds that the pants to his suit are missing! In the third chapter, Ray and Grampa find themselves in stormy Chicago on Christmas; they end up having a happy holiday despite the power outage when they decide to take in all of the neighborhood pets. In the next story, Ray enters an art contest, and perseveres through a handful of mishaps to develop a winning entry. In the fifth vignette, Grampa and Ray turn a haircut gone wrong into a bonding and spirit-lifting experience. And in the final story, Ray and Grampa fish together in Oklahoma, finding joy and hope despite missing Ray’s parents, who died when he was a baby. Throughout the book, the author takes care to highlight the joy and connection Ray and Grampa find in life, even when things don’t go according to plan.

Author: Cynthia Leitich Smith

Our Reading with Relevance teacher’s guide breaks the novel into a series of thoughtful lesson plans. Each lesson is designed to support you to meaningfully explore the social and emotional themes of the day’s reading with your students, inspiring them to read deeply, think critically, talk openly, and write reflectively about topics that matter.

This teacher’s guide includes:

  • A facilitator’s guide with tips and resources for implementing the curriculum.
  • A map of Common Core Standards addressed through this program.
  • 7 individual lesson plans, including vocabulary, discussion questions, journal prompts, extension activities, and all handouts.
  • Two assessments to monitor student progress throughout the program.
  • Regular checkpoints to help teachers assess their students’ progress on ELA standards.
  • A culminating essay-writing unit.
  • An appendix with additional teaching resources and activities to continue exploring this novel.

Pages: 60
Dimensions: 8.5″ x 11″



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