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Pastel Parfleche Pouch

Use recycled paper bags to simulate leather or bark to create a Native American parfleche for use as an art portfolio.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • Multiple Lesson Periods
  • Directions

    1. Organize students into small groups and gather a variety of text and electronic resources for students to engage with focused on the Native Americans. Invite students to research how Native Americans used natural resources to create items for their everyday use, such as cooking utensils, clothing, and storage containers.
    2. When research is complete, invite students to make a portfolio for their art or writings. In keeping with the Native American culture, students can design a parfleche that looks similar to the bark or leather used by Native Americans.
    3. Students begin by covering their work area with recycled newspaper. Carefully separate four large brown paper grocery bags where they are glued together. Measure and cut out four rectangles approximately 27 by 18 inches (69 by 46 cm) with Crayola® Scissors. Round the rectangle corners.
    4. Soak or spray the four sheets of paper with water. Gently crumple to squeeze out excess water. Use a paint brush or sponge to spread Crayola School Glue on each damp sheet. Layer one on top of the other, with print facing inward. Place heavy objects on top to flatten the bags. Dry.
    5. Fold the top of the layered bags down about 5 1/2 inches (14 cm). Fold the bottom up until it almost touches the top flap. Fold each side into the center to form two flaps. Place heavy objects on the parfleche to hold its shape.
    6. Students decorate the outside of their parfleche with Crayola Crayons, using a colorful, authentic Native American design.
    7. Punch holes on the top and bottom of each flap. Thread strings or ribbons through the holes to close the parfleche.
    8. Ask student groups to brainstorm ways in which the Native American would have used their parfleches. Then students generate a list of ways in which these portfolio containers today.
  • Standards

    LA: Read with sufficient accuracy and fluency to support comprehension.

    LA: Ask and answer questions in order to seek help, get information, or clarify something that is not understood.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others' ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    LA: Report on a topic or text, tell a story, or recount an experience with appropriate facts and relevant, descriptive details, speaking clearly at an understandable pace.

    SS: Describe ways in which language, stories, folktales, music, and artistic creations serve as expressions of culture and influence behavior of people living in a particular culture.

    SS: Explore factors that contribute to one's personal identity such as interests, capabilities, and perceptions.

    SS: Identify and describe ways family, groups, and community influence the individual's daily life and personal choices.

    SS: Use appropriate resources, data sources, and geographic tools to generate, manipulate, and interpret information.

    VA: Use different media, techniques, and processes to communicate ideas, experiences, and stories.

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

    VA: Select and use subject matter, symbols, and ideas to communicate meaning.

    VA: Identify specific works of art as belonging to particular cultures, times, and places.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: The Very First Americans by Cara Ashrose; If You Lived With The Indians Of The Northwest Coast by Anne Camma;

    Students work in small groups to research symbols used by different tribes, or a specific nation, of Native Americans. Students sketch the symbols and attach a description of the meaning for each.

    Students investigate and create a piece of pottery , using the typical process of the traditional or contemporary Native Americans. What did Native American make pottery for? What process did they use? Create a usable piece of pottery. Ask the school's art teacher for assistance with this artwork.

    Students investigate the weaving done by Native Americans. Using a similar process, students create a woven art piece for display. Create a summary of how Native Americans did their weaving. Attach this summary to the artwork created.


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  • Creativity.
  • Capacity.
  • Collaboration.
  • Change.
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