Storytelling in Native American Cultures
Kassidy Jones and Jana Wilhite
**This is a complete unit of lessons for this topic**
Unit Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of storytelling, especially in Native American cultures, by exploring and telling stories in role.
National Theatre Standards:
- TH: Cr1.1.3 a. Create roles, imagined worlds, and improvised stories in a drama/theatre work.
- Cr.2.3 b.: Compare ideas with peers and make selections that will enhance and deepen group theatrical work
- TH: Cr2.1.3 a. Participate in methods of investigation to devise original ideas for a drama/theatre work.
- Cr.3.3 b.: Participate and contribute to physical and vocal exploration in an improvised or scripted theatrical work.
- TH:Cr 3.1.3 a. Collaborate with peers to revise, refine, and adapt ideas to fit the given parameters of a drama/theatre work.
- TH:Pr 4.1.3 b. Investigate how movement and voice are incorporated into drama/theatre work.
- TH:Re 7.1.3 a. Understand why artistic choices are made in a drama/theatre work
- TH:Cn 11.2.3 a. Explore how stories are adapted from literature to drama/theatre work.
- TH:Cn 11.2.3 b. Examine how artists have historically presented the same stories using different art forms, genres, or drama/theatre conventions.
- TH:Cn10.1.3 a. Use personal experiences and knowledge to make connections to community and culture in a drama/theatre work.
- TH:Cr1.1.3 b. Imagine and articulate ideas for costumes, props and sets for the environment and characters in a drama/theatre work.
Utah Core Standards:
- Objective 2: Explain how selected indigenous cultures of the Americas have changed over time.
- Describe and compare early indigenous people of the Americas (e.g. Eastern Woodlands, Plains, Great Basin, Southwestern, Artic, Incan, Aztec, Mayan).
- Identify how indigenous people maintain cultural traditions today.
- Performing Identity
- Connecting with culture
- Understanding Differences
- Locational history
- Creation of humanity
- How does the way that we tell stories influence others?
- Why is it important to make connections with cultures that are not our own?
- How do we tell our own stories?
- Why do we share stories with others?
- How does where you come from inform who you are?
- How do different people express the same ideas artistically?
- How does location affect artistic culture?
- What are the methods we use to express who we are?
- How does clothing inform and express who we are?
Key Knowledge and Skills:
- Understanding components of storytelling
- Basic structure of storytelling
- Basic understanding of different aspects of Native American storytelling
- Basic understanding of conflict
- Basic understanding of self-representation
- Basic understanding of costume
Authentic Performance Tasks:
- Learning and exploring in role
- Creating a story through drawing
- Using your body to tell a story
- Enacting origin myths
- Using face and symbols to tell a story
- Creating costumes to match a character
- Telling stories through movement, orally, frozen images, and clothing
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of making creative choices by participating in a series of introductory drama games as a class.
Searching for Stories
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the basic climactic structure of storytelling by working together as a class to interpret a story from Native American “cave paintings.”
The Structure of Storytelling
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of the structure of storytelling by telling their own story using and highlighting the people, place, problem and progress aspects of telling a story.
Painting Your Own Story
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of basic climactic structure of storytelling by working in role to create a story using Native American “cave paintings.”
Movement in Telling Stories
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate their understanding of using their bodies and movement in telling stories by pantomiming and moving through the telling of a Native American folk tale.
Where Did You Come From?
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of the importance of setting by reading and enacting origin stories of different tribes in role as explorers.
Carving out Stories
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of how character is expressed physically by creating and interpreting human “totem poles.”
Dressing the Part
Lesson Objective: Students will be able to demonstrate understanding of how appearance, especially clothing, contributes to character expression by exploring and drawing costumes.