Teacher resources and professional development across the curriculum

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Artifacts and Fiction - Workshop in American Literature
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Home > Session Guides > 5: Domestic Architecture

5. Domestic Architecture Session Guide Related Materials
Item #8963
serial: #8963
Edward S. Curtis, NAVAJO HOGAN (1905) courtesy of Library of Congress [LC-USZ62-105863].

This workshop session introduces the analysis of domestic architecture artifacts as a tool in the literature classroom. Laura Arnold Leibman, literature professor at Reed College, uses examples of Native American architecture to help teachers enhance their reading of American literature texts. She discusses the ways to understand architectural references and settings in works of American literature.

By looking at two intellectual products from the same culture—a Navajo hogan*, and Luci Tapahonso's poem Starlore as well as an Acoma Pueblo home and Simon Ortiz's Poems From the Veterans Hospital 8:50 AM Fort Lyons VAH—you will better understand how the beliefs and values of two distinct Native American cultures influence their poems.

During the course of the session, you will learn how to search for domestic architecture artifacts to help teach American literature. In the onscreen classroom, Laura discusses how she uses domestic architecture artifacts to illuminate the discipline of American literature in her own classroom. She provides high school teachers with ideas about how to read domestic architecture artifacts; she also suggests specific lesson plans.

We then follow the onscreen teachers into the computer lab where they work with Laura, Lois Leveen (Reed College English professor), and each other to find artifacts that supplement the themes and context of the literature they are currently teaching.

Next, we follow Sara Salvi—a teacher at St. Mary's Academy in Portland, Oregon—into her own high school classroom. We watch as she models a similar lesson with her students. Finally, we hear Sara's reflections on her own teaching practices.

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