Student Totem Poles

Based on an activity from Faye Brownlie and Leyton Schnellert’s book, It’s All About Thinking, called Spirit Guide (p.125) and using a page from Basil Johnstons’ short story, The Nature of Animals, my class’s study of Alexie Sherman’s novel, The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian culminated in making personal totem poles. Students chose four animals whose qualities they felt reflected themselves or whose qualities they aspired to have, and drew their own totem. Some borrowed from aboriginal designs and some invented their own. On the back of their design, they had to explain their choices, giving specific examples of the qualities of “their” animals in themselves.


About phansenvsb

I am passionate about teaching reading and writing to a diverse audience from those experiencing challenges in reading and writing to those who seek deep enrichment in literature and its connections to the world in which it was written and to the present day. I also present workshops on assessment for learning, differentiated instruction, literature circles, disciplinary literacy, and inquiry.
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