During this first trimester, the 3rd graders have been studying and learning all about the lives of American Indians and their history. We have talked all about the importance of the bison, the various types of houses and how they were built, the different types of clothing and jobs that American Indians would have, and we talked about totem poles.
We began this unit by reading a book aloud about what totem poles are, how they are made, the different types of them, and what the symbols that they have mean. Every totem pole looks a little bit different because they have each been created for a different purpose.
Each child was tasked with creating the totem pole-like structure of his/her life. They were given a list of totem pole symbols and their meanings and told to choose the 4 that they feel best represent themselves. They had to create their pieces out of construction paper and crayons.
Next, we connected our lessons on totem poles to our language arts lessons on character traits. Each child was then given a notecard to write on. They wrote about what symbols they chose and why they chose it. They had to give real-life examples of themselves showing the quality that goes with the totem pole symbol.
Students really enjoyed creating the symbols and thinking reflectively about their own lives! Be sure to check out photos of their work on Vidigami.