Bringing Indigenous Stories to the Classroom through Art and Comics

byAmandeep Khosa

The goal of this unit is to teach folktales in the form of legends and myths from Native American origins. Students will use Matt Dembicki’s book Trickster, which is a compilation of twenty-one short stories, formatted in a comic style. The unit will introduce the students to a variety of visual and performance arts including photographs from the Native American cultures. These stories centered on the trickster characters instill a strong moral character in the young readers and at the same time provide a way to introduce the rich heritage and culture of the indigenous people.

The image and text together will provide my English language learners a way to deepen their comprehension on concepts of plot, sequence, and different points of view that text or image might not be able to achieve if used independent of the other.

This unit was written for third to fifth grade students, but the strategies and activities can be modified and adapted across grade levels. The unit can also be adapted across the curriculum, for classes in art, history, and social studies.

(Developed for English Language Arts and Social Studies, grade 3; recommended for English Language Arts, grades 2-5, and Social Studies, grades 3-4)

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