Storytelling with

Grade: 4, 5, 6, 7, 8

Using visual thinking strategies, students will work in small groups with one of the four traditional Dakota stories. Students will storyboard the traditional story and choose imagery from the Dakota lesson website, other sources, or draw their own to retell the story with the images and people in their group.

Essential Question

How do you effectively tell stories using images?

Big Idea

Students will understand the importance of wisely choosing images.
Students will become familiar with Dakota traditional stories.

View Complete Lesson Plan

Lesson Outline

TIME DURATION: Depends on the focus the teacher chooses: 3-7 (45 minute) lessons
This lesson could be done in a morning or afternoon session in the culture room at Chief Whitecap School

There are many outcomes in the English Language Arts Saskatchewan Curriculum that this lesson might meet. It depends on what the teacher chooses to focus on. The lesson has been left in a broad format so that teachers can adapt parts of the lesson to better meet the specific outcome that is being addressed. Some outcomes that could be addressed are as follows:

CR4.4, CR5.4, CR6.4, CR7.6, CR8.6: Emphasizes reading for various purposes of First Nations, Inuit, and Métis texts for comprehension
CR8.3, CR7.3: Emphasizes the cues and conventions of a text

CC4.2, CC5.2, CC6.4, CC7.5, CC8.5: Emphasizes communicating understanding incorporating visuals


  1.  If you have an opportunity to use the Culture Room at Chief Whitecap School, please book the room as this lesson would be effectively delivered there.
  2.  Prepare students for viewing the YouTube video of Chief Arvol Looking Horse Speaking of the White Buffalo Prophecy. You can use the 3-2-1 Graphic Organizer and have students record as they listen (this could be handed in for evidence on listening):
    •  3 key points they took from the video.
    •  2 connections they made to their life, the world, or other information they have heard or read.
    •  1 question or wonder they are left with.
  3.  Discuss key elements of the what was shared in the video and what students recorded as they listened to the video (portions or all of the video might need to be viewed more than once).
  4.  Discuss with students how Chief Arvol tells the story of the White Buffalo Women. How would visuals help you to visualize the story better?


  1.  Arrange students into groups. You can choose group sizes depending on the make-up of your class. Recommended group sizes would be 3.
  2.  Allow student groups to choose one of the 4 Dakota Story options:
  3.  Once groups have chosen the story they wish to visually re-tell. Hand the group the Visual Thinking Sheet for that specific story.
  4.  Construct Criteria with students about creating a retelling of the story. Students can record the criteria on the Visuals Criteria Handout.
  5.  Students work as a group, highlighting specific words that give them a visual cue and then in the visual thinking box to the right of the word the students would indicate the image or scene that they see. This will allow students to see the relationship that between the textual cues and their images.
  6.  Students then split the story into sections and use the Storyboard Handout to create a draft layout.
  7.  Students choose appropriate images or make their own images in order to retell the story. Students can use the image gallery in the Whitecap Dakota Lessons Website, or do an internet search to find creative commons pictures which can be freely used and downloaded. If you are at Chief Whitecap School, there is a set of picture magnets that might have images that students would like. Teaching appropriate use of using images off the internet is important.


  1.  Invite care partners or younger students to come to hear the stories. If using the Culture Room at Chief Whitecap School, the stories can be told on the wall with the buffalo and horses, or the wall with the trees.
  2.  Optional: If you have the book The First Flute in the David Bouchard version, share the Dakota reading that is on the CD while you show the pictures from the picture book and students listen and view.


• Choose which stories based on the grade and the make-up of the class.

• Specific images could be chosen for different stories if the teacher feels that appropriate choices could not be made.

• Invite an Elder in to tell another traditional story or an adult from another culture to share one of their traditional stories.

Materials Required