Raven Myths Lesson Plan Final

Here is a PDF of my lesson plan:

Raven Myth Lesson Plan

I believe my lesson plan most represents curriculum standard D: “foster[ing] a complementary relationship across knowledge derived from diverse knowledge systems.” In particular it “draws parallels between knowledge derived from oral tradition and that derived from books” and goes on to “engage students in the construction of new knowledge

and understandings that contribute to an ever-expanding
view of the world.” Here’s how:
Right off the bat I talk about how cultural context is often skipped over even in teaching “the classics,” and frame this lesson as a building block of critical thinking and interpreting cultural value based on context clues. I ask the teachers to start with a video made by Alaska Native students which relays an oral history of the Golden Spruce and tell the teachers to stress to their students how very real the Golden Spruce was to make sure the classroom understands the importance of the stories they’re about to experience. Treating these texts as valuable contributions to a learning experience is key to being a culturally responsive educator and a decent human being.
In the next part of the lesson, students are asked to prepare a short play of their group’s version of the Raven Steals the Sun myth, without knowing the other groups have a variant on the same story. Performing the plays will really highlight not only the differences inherent in the text but also the way the students interpreted the myth. This and the discussion following (in which the class verbally compares and contrasts the myths while talking about the cultural values that might be represented) is the part which really expands a student’s worldview.
The skills these students will learn in deciphering cultural context through literature will be invaluable throughout their academic career–and just highlights how important this standard is in teaching.

15 thoughts on “Raven Myths Lesson Plan Final”

  1. Hi Kluonie,

    The lesson has a cool hook and good use of group work, and I love the idea of having students perform plays based on the same story. It’s important to highlight the way people might interpret a story and its values differently because this hints at the way stories can be lost or changed over time. The lesson works very well with curriculum standard D. I think you crushed it.

    1. That’s another thing I hope anyone teaching this lesson picks up on, that the very nature of oral tradition is that it’s always changing and adapting. But thanks Tim I’m glad you like the idea!

  2. Kluonie,
    I like the sequence of your lesson as an introduction to acting and relaying important cultural myths. In Step 3, the groups talk about important details and cultural values in their assigned story, which is great! I believe it would be helpful for the students in Step 1 to talk about the same things as a class in response to the first video. First of all, you could easily monitor all students in their ability to extract cultural values from the video by doing it as a whole class. There are a lot of environmental undertones as well as a sense of respect for older family members that are evident in the tale of the golden spruce. Seeing if students understand these cultural values will make it easier for them to look at a different story later in small groups and identify different values. Great job!

    1. Ooooo good call. It’s a little late to specifically point that out in the lesson plan, but hopefully the teacher understands they should talk to the class about the video. I especially like that this story has (or had until someone chopped it down) a very real and tangible object to ground it in–it really drives home that these stories aren’t nonsense fairytales, they’re very much alive and important to this day.

  3. Kluonie,
    I like your lesson plan because it draws a connection between the oral traditions and storybooks. This is a great way to get the students engaged and share their opinions about the myths reflecting on the cultural values. Having them perform is a great idea to see how they interpret the myth. Good job!

    1. I’m glad you like it! I think playacting is often overlooked as a form of oral history but that’s exactly what it is!

  4. Your lesson plan definitely helped me re-evaluate mine. Your writing is very clear as well as the instructions you provided to the teacher. It is very easy for anyone to follow. Thanks for role-modeling!

    1. Right back atcha! Your energy and confidence is fantastic, I know you’re going to be an amazing teacher!

  5. The pages came out beautiful and you have been such a joy to work in a group with! I loved this idea when I first heard it. The raven stories are awesome!

    1. So soooo ditto, you’ve kept such a cool head through this entire process where I know I would have been tearing my hair out! Thanks for being awesome, and I’m glad you like the lesson!

  6. Kluonie, love to see the use of ACTing! And to see the students interpreting the Raven stories through a different form of art. Raven stories translate so well to the stage and gives the kids a chance to move around while bringing the old trickster to life. I hope to use some theatrical elements in the classroom this year and will look into your lesson plan more closely when it comes time to add more to the quiver.

  7. Hey Kluonie,
    Thank you for sharing your post in detail. I like the idea of giving students different variations of the same story, but there is something that you should be careful with. The worst thing about projects is that when students have similar products and they feel that they have nothing new to share. So, to avoid that, I think you should prepare your version of this story, and you go first. That way no one student has the privilege of being the first project and having the most new information.

    But I like this idea! I would love to have this as my projects while I was in school.

    Thank you for sharing,
    Mason Shearer

    1. I think having FIVE variations on the same myth might be too much–I’m aware I’m on the brink of pushing their patience with 4–but what I figured is that the Eyak version I found would go first because it’s the most commonly-told version of the myth, and then build from there. The other retellings are just different enough that I’m hoping they’ll revel in the ways that make their version “special,” just in time for me to swoop in as a teacher and remind them each version of the story is to be cherished/respected, there’s no version “better” than another. Woo teachable moments!

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