Thursday, March 3, 2011
UE: Totem Poles
I was always intrigued by totem poles for their beautiful craftsmanship and storytelling. Students are so great at coming up with stories so I was excited to do this lesson with them. They first learned that totem poles are carved out of large trees by indigenous people of North America. Some totem poles tell legends, celebratory events or unpleasant events, while others symbolize a tribe or a family. Animals play an important part in totem pole mythology. I looked up their symbolism, typed up the information and had students write a short legend using three of the animals according to their attributes. Since we couldn't carve wood, I used recycled paper as the next best thing. Students divided up their paper into thirds, drew an animal in each section and also designed the back. Then they colored their totem poles and I helped them cut small slits for bird wings and beak. Love how they're turning out!