Your browser does not support JavaScript!
Skip to main content

Dancing Rainbows: A Pueblo Boy's Story

PDF Version With Materials

Grade Level: 3

Character Education Focus: Respect 


Students identify the main ideas illustrated in the story and provide supporting details from the story that show respect toward self, others, and non-humans. Students write a paragraph to illustrate how the Tewa Indians show respect toward others. Students participate in a service project to show respect for their school or community.

(60 minutes)

Materials Needed

Mott, E. C. (2003). Dancing rainbows:  A pueblo boy’s story. In J. Cooper & J. Pikulski, Houghton Mifflin Reading: A Legacy of Literacy Grade 3 (pp. 209-229). Boston, MS: Houghton Mifflin.  

Academic Character Education Objectives

Students will:

  1. Use the text to identify ways that the Tewa Indians show respect for people, animals, and Mother Earth.
  2. Identify the main idea and supporting details from the story.
  3. Write a paragraph with topic sentence and supporting details about how the Tewa Indians show respect to others.
  4. Participate in a community service project to show respect for their community. 

California English-Language Arts Standards Addressed


2.0 Reading Comprehension

  • 2.5  Distinguish the main idea and supporting details in expository text.


1.0 Writing Strategies

  • 1.1  Create a single paragraph:
  1. Develop a topic sentence.
  2. Include simple supporting facts and details.

Reprinted, by permission, California Department of Education

Lesson Procedures

  1. Review with students the meaning of “respect” defined as treating others the way you want to be treated. (Another useful definition of respect for others is being considerate and honoring the feelings, opinions, and property of others.)
  2. Introduce the concept of respect as something that can be given to both humans and non-humans, such as animals, a country, flag, books, etc.  Site examples from several cultures, i.e. Americans respect our flag by taking it down at sunset and not letting it hit the ground. Chinese show respect for their elders by bowing to them.  Students read “Dancing Rainbows” with a partner.
  3.  Students work in cooperative learning groups of four students per group to determine and list the main ideas from the story.
  4. As a whole group, students share with the class the main ideas that they found in the story.
  5. Students and teacher engage in a conversation about one of the main ideas from the story, respect towards others.
  6. Teacher reviews from the lesson introduction the concept that respect is something that can be shown to both human and non-humans.
  7. Students use details from the story to write their own paragraph about how the Tewa Indians show respect to others.  The paragraph includes a topic sentence with three or more details to support the topic sentence.  Students may then share their paragraphs with another student from their cooperative group to help them edit it and then write a final copy. 
  8. Students share their final paragraphs with their cooperative group members out loud.  Student volunteers share their paragraphs with the whole group.  Give students the opportunity to share any thoughts or feelings they had about the story.

Academic – Character Education Assessment

Academic Assessment: Assess the student paragraphs for a topic sentence and sentences with supporting facts and details. Students can use the rubric below to assess the paragraphs during the small group reading. The group score as well as the teacher score could be shared with each writer.

Dancing Rainbows Writing R​ubric

1- not present
2- few or no examples
3- average examples
4- good usage or examples
5- excellent usage or examples

___________ Topic sentence

___________ Supporting details

___________ Correct use of capitals and end punctuation

___________ Correct spelling

___________ Addresses topic

___________ TOTAL possible points (25)

Character Education Assessment: Observe how well the students were able to identify the ways the Tewa Indians showed respect toward others and their environment. To process their group work, ask the students to respond to this prompt: How did you show respect to your classmates as you worked together?  

Reflective Journaling Prompts

  • Explain why it is important for humans to show respect to our planet.
  • The boy in the story has great respect for his grandfather.  Describe a family member you respect and why you respect him or her.
  • Give examples of how you can show respect for: your parents, your brothers and sisters, teacher, principal, librarian, neighbors, classmates, environment, country.

Extensions and Variations

  • As a Service-Learning activity, students can participate in a school-sponsored clean-up day.  This reinforces the concept of showing respect for property. As part of the Service-Learning activity, students can write a reflection in their journals about their experience participating in the clean-up project.
  • Have students demonstrate their respect for a community member or someone outside their family.  Make ribbons for students to place on a bulletin board titled: We are respectful!  Students will write the way they showed respect on the ribbon and place it on the board.

Teacher Notes or References

I like to show pictures by Bev Doolittle that depict the respect Native Americans have for nature.  These pictures can peak the students interest when studying Native Americans.

Based on a lesson by Jenny Watson

Edited by Mary Wilson

© 2005 Orange County Department of Education