Teacher Spotlight: Cheryl Tuttle

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 What school and grades do you teach?

 Grades K-7 at Round Valley Elementary School

 What are some of your hobbies outside of the classroom?

 I quilt, bead, make regalia, garden, and can vegetables from my garden. I also  help my daughter create curriculum for my grandkids; they are homeschooled in  an immersion environment, in Tolowa Dee-ni. My favorite thing to do outside of  school is attend ceremonies  where I am able to visit friends and family, get  back to my center and renew myself.

 How many lessons from Lessons of Our Land have you used in your classroom?

 15+

How has your experience been with using the curriculum?

My experience in using the ILT curriculum is gratifying. I find the four standards to be encompassing; I am able to fit a lot of concepts and important information under their umbrella. I have tried to “localize” the curriculum for the Round Valley community, which satisfies student requests for “But, what about our tribe – what did we do….” We have a 75-80% Native student population and the students really love learning about Native American issues, beliefs, and practices.

Tell us about your favorite classroom experience using Lessons of Our Land:

I have had many special experiences with lessons in our Round Valley Lessons of Our Land curriculum. I actually don’t have one favorite experience as each lesson is well received and students are always engaged. This last year I was able to share a Wailaki Creation story with the students, after finding it amongst old linguist material from U.C. Berkeley. Round Valley Indian Tribes has six member tribes and our goal is to be able to include stories from all the different tribes into our Round Valley Lessons of Our Land curriculum. The students were very engaged in the story, which was put on a PowerPoint, with pictures that illustrated the story. The story was able to talk about foods, hunting practices and other topics important to the culture and the land. The creation story lent itself to rich discussion afterwards.

What are some of the challenges and rewards you have encountered while using Lessons of Our Land?

Challenges: The biggest challenge I’ve faced has been to get the classroom teachers to teach the curriculum. I have modeled teaching the curriculum in the classroom and provided easy access to the curriculum with online access. One year, when I was teaching 6th grade, I found that without constant monitoring, the curriculum was not being taught. I approached our Superintendent and he allowed me one day a week to teach the curriculum and next year we will even have more time dedicated to the curriculum’s implementation.

Rewards: With our student body being 75-80% Native American, teaching about Native American Traditional Values, Land Tenure History, Contemporary Land Issues, and Creating Positive Leaders for our community is huge! Next year, we are starting a Native American Studies class at the high school. The students thrive and are eager to learn about their history and about their culture. I am excited that the Indian Land Tenure Curriculum has provided support and the opportunity to bring this curriculum to our school district! Of course, the biggest rewards are the smiling faces, excitement, and interest of the students.

 

We want to thank Cheryl for her continuing engagement with the Lessons of Our Land curriculum. Keep up the great work, Cheryl! We are proud of you and the work you are doing at Round Valley!