Thirteen Ed Online
Lesson Plans
Native American Storytelling
Overview Procedures for Teachers Organizers for Students

Procedures for teachers is divided into four sections:
Prep -- Preparing for the lesson
Steps -- Conducting the lesson


Media Components:

Web Sites:
Native American Myths and Legends

  • Indian Why Stories
    This site contains legends that explain how certain things in nature came to be. They are tales told by the Blackfeet, Chippewa, and Cree tribes.

  • Native American Lore Index Page
    This site contains links to several stories of Native American Indian Lore from various Tribes.

  • Myths and Legends of the Sioux
    This site contains a number of Sioux myths written by Marie L. Mclaughlin. These are mostly myths about nature and animals.

Stories / Writing Process
  • Young Authors Workshop
    Provides students in grades 4 - 7 with links to online resources that will take them step by step through the writing process.

  • ABC's of The Writing Process
    The purpose of this site is to provide a user friendly online resource, for students or teachers, no matter what they are being challenged to write.

  • For Young Writers
    From, an online magazines with resources directed toward young writers.

  • Create Story Magic
    Provides students with a step-by-step process for writing a story.
  • Computer with Internet Access.
  • Print outs of selected story for each student.
  • Optional: Computer software program that allows students to create illustrations (i.e. Hyperstudio, KidPix, Print Shop, etc.).
  • Art materials for each group of 4 to share: poster paper, markers, crayons, scissors, glue, material scraps, etc.

    Computer Resources:
    While many configurations will work, we recommend:

  • Modem: 28.8 Kbps or faster.

  • Browser: Netscape Navigator 3.0 or above or Internet Explorer 3.0 or above.

  • Macintosh computer: System 7.0 or above and at least 16 MBs of RAM.

  • IBM-compatible computer: 386 or higher processor with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 3.1. Or, a 486/66 or Pentium with at least 16 MBs of RAM, running Windows 95 or 98

    For more information, visit What You Need to Get Connected in wNetSchool's Internet Primer.

    Prior to the teaching, bookmark the Web sites that will be used in the lesson. Load any plug-ins necessary to run the Web sites. Prepare printouts of the Native American myth/legend that you will read to the students. This lesson provides a sample story, but feel free to find a legend that is indigenous to your geographic area.

    Introductory Activity:

    1. Discuss myths and storytelling with your students. Long before the Internet or television, oral storytelling used to be a form of great entertainment, and stories were often passed down from generation to generation. Ask them if they know any myths or stories that they could retell. Ask them if they have ever heard their parents, their grandparents, or other older people sharing stories from their childhood. Do they remember being told stories when they were young?


  • Discuss the background of Native American myths and legends. Native American myths and legends were transmitted orally through countless generations by tribal storytellers. These stories are often about nature and the teachings of a tribe's forefathers. They are childlike and simple, often teaching the "whys" of the natural world. Tribal storytellers framed stories to convey these explanations to others, and these stories were handed down from generation to generation. Read about traditional Cherokee storytelling as described by a Cherokee storyteller and share this example of one kind of Native American storytelling with your students.

  • Select a Native American myth/legend to read aloud to the students. The story provided in this lesson plan is an excerpt from an Ojibbeway legend.

  • Ask the students to compare and contrast this story to those like the ones they discussed earlier.

  • Introduce the students to the web sites that contain different Native American legends. Navigate through the sites so students become familiar with them.

  • Divide students into groups of 4 and ask each group to pick a story from any of the web sites reviewed. Students can pick myths or legends from tribes they are interested in or tribes from their geographic region. Have groups print out the stories from the web sites.

  • Based on their chosen story, each group will decide how they will represent/retell the story to their classmates. Some suggestions are:
  • Reenact the story in a skit or play.
  • Create paintings or illustrations that depict the story (use traditional art materials or the computer - PowerPoint, Kid Pix, or any graphic program).

  • Each group presents their stories to the rest of the class.

    Culminating Activity:

    1. After each group has presented their stories, each student will either write their own short myth or legend. Students may create "why" stories similar to those found through their research, yet base them on their own environment or experiences, or students may choose to rewrite the ending of one of the stories that they read.

    2. Review the writing process with the students, and go through the online writing resources they can use.

    Cross-Curricular Extensions:

    1. Have students submit their stories for online publication. This site "For Young Writers" is one place where they can do this.

    2. Have students create an online classroom library of the their stories and the Native American stories retold by the groups. Encourage students to read each other's stories.

    Overview | Procedures for Teachers | Organizers for Students