The California Mission Era — most textbooks in middle school and junior high devote only a few pages or less to this period in American history, and if you want to give your students more, it can be problematical. If students only learn about the missions and the economic benefit they brought to California, they will not know about the damage done to Native American Indians by European invaders. If students focus only on the hardships suffered by Native Americans, they will not have enough information to judge the advantages the missions gave them. If you want to give students a vivid picture of the era that covers both the advantages and disadvantages, “California Missions — Native American Indians — And You” will facilitate your teaching.
The unit includes:
1. A 32-page slide show which covers not only the missions and the Franciscan priests, but also illustrates Native American life prior to the Spanish arrival, how natives were converted, trades they learned, restrictions put on them, and how they suffered under the strict regime of the Catholic priests. The presentation includes four slides where the teacher can pause and challenge students to put themselves in the natives’ place.
2. A 9-page script that accompanies the slide show with over 100 details.
3. A template which you may reproduce for students to do some journal writing in the “I was there” manner by pretending to be a Native American living in one of the missions.
4. 2 pages of notes on the mission era and Native American Indians with bulleted points, which you may reproduce and hand out to students to help them remember what they want to write about in their journal.
5. A 5-page description of seven art projects your students could create along with the history behind Native American artifacts and architecture of the mission period.
6. A slide show with illustrations of some of the artifacts described in the art projects
7. A short introduction to the unit for teachers.
Some of the information presented could be difficult for younger students to process. Please feel free to use as much or as little as is appropriate for your students’ grade level. The written material is available as a PDF, while the slide shows are available in both Apple Keynote and Microsoft PowerPoint.