Owasso teacher creates unique Native American literature experience for students


OWASSO, Okla. – She is known for her class decorations and fun personality: Miss Wendy Stokes teaches Native American literature in sixth and seventh grades at Owasso.

“It’s constantly changing,” Stokes said. “I still work on it every year to try to improve it.”

This is an elective course that combines literature-type courses with reading comprehension and writing skills with cultural studies.

“They learn everything from native languages ​​to native cultures with lots of activities,” said Matt Roberts, director of the sixth grade center.

Roberts says it’s a class people won’t find in many other school districts. There is no set program and the students say there are no tests.

“We don’t have tests,” said Audrey Terry, a sixth-grade student. “We just love fun little games to help us really remember.”

Instead, Miss Stokes brings in speakers, virtually and in person, and offers lots of fun activities.

“Stickball, Cherokee balls, you name it, they do it,” said Roberts.

“Like making memes on the book we’re reading,” said Terry. “It really helps us relate to the book.”

Miss Stokes is Cherokee and has been teaching Native American literature for approximately six years. She has just been recognized as a nationally awarded teacher for her work in inspiring students to learn.

“That’s what drives me,” Stokes said. “I have found that students love to learn the Cherokee language. They greet me in the Cherokee halls, say hello and ask me how I’m doing in Cherokee.

Her goal, she says, is to teach her students that Native Americans are different tribes, different people, and different languages ​​- and that they all have something to offer.

“I want them to think of Native Americans as they do today, and they survive and thrive, not just an idea of ​​the past,” she said.

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