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The Native American tradition of storytelling has a rich and diverse history. The oral tradition communicated history, myths, and personal stories, as stories were passed down by generations in sophisticated forms of visual and oral notation including narration, pictures, performance, and dance.
Storytelling of Indigenous People in the United States is comprised of six lessons for grades kindergarten through five. Each lesson addresses specific social studies and language arts standards and incorporates children's books, original illustrations, photographs of musical instruments, and the Tales of Wonder I/Tales of Wonder II DVD -- from filmmaker, www.richheape.com -- which features traditional Native American stories for children told by Storyteller Gregg Howard, a Native American of Cherokee/Powhatan descent.
The Kindergarten lesson introduces the art of Native American storytelling, using traditional indigenous stories to introduce the concept of story sequencing. Students discover and implement methods of storytelling while learning about important traditions, customs, and artifacts in Native American culture.
The Grade One lesson further explores Native American storytelling through a study of the legends and stories that are indigenous to their cultures. Students identify and discuss key story elements, explore new mediums of storytelling, and work collaboratively in a study of a legend.
The Grade Two lesson introduces students to oral and written traditions in Native American storytelling. Students explore the purpose of storytelling, learn about some different ways that stories can be told, and write and illustrate stories of their own to share with the class.
The Grade Three lesson introduces students to Native American cultural regions in the United States and explores the effects of the environment on lifestyles. Students examine cultural artifacts, listen to two Native American stories and examine their characters, and make masks based on the characters' traits.
The Grade Four lesson introduces students to the diversity of Native Americans with focuses on Native Americans in California and Native American adornment. Students examine the figurative language used by a Native American storyteller, while also exploring the stories' themes of conflict and adornment and learning about Native American history and cultures.
The Grade Five lesson explores the experiences of the Cherokee and the Native Hawaiians. The integration of music in storytelling is used as a unifying theme, and students explore how the two cultures use music to express stories in different ways.