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Raven the Trickster Puppet Tales

Get to know characters of Raven legends from Pacific Northwest America’s native nations. Create puppets with a theatre to act out these dramatic, traditional stories.

  • Grade 2
    Grade 3
    Grade 4
  • 60 to 90 Minutes
  • Directions

    1. Research several traditional Raven tales from Pacific Northwest native nations (Tlingit, Salish, and Haida). With Crayola® Erasable Colored Pencils, student groups write a puppet script for one or more of the stories. Be as authentic as possible!
    2. Encourage students to find examples of art depicting common characters such as Raven (the central figure, a trickster), Beaver (industrious), Mouse Woman (fairy godmother), Eagle (powerful), Killer Whale (guides men on hunts), Wolf (good hunter), Owl (feared character), Bear (always hungry and greedy), and Mountain Goat (sure to get revenge if offended). Sketch each character on a large index card.
    3. With Crayola Washable Markers, students color the most basic lines for each character (formlines) with black. Encourage students to make lines very thick in the centers and thinner at the ends. Separate each part of the body. Color other thick lines within the body and head with red for accents. You may also use traditional blue-green as accents for the red, in the same formline manner.
    4. Students cut out each character with Crayola Scissors. Attach puppets with Crayola School Glue to craft sticks. Air-dry the glue.
    5. Students create a longhouse backdrop theater to present Raven stories to other classes or families.
  • Standards

    LA: Read and comprehend informational texts, including history/social studies, science, and technical texts, at the high end of the grade level text complexity band independently and proficiently.

    LA: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

    LA: Draw evidence from literary or informational texts to support analysis, reflection, and research.

    LA: Engage effectively in a range of collaborative discussions (one-on-one, in groups, and teacher-led) with diverse partners on grade level topics and texts, building on others’ ideas and expressing their own clearly.

    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: Identify and use various sources for reconstructing the past, such as documents, letters, diaries, maps, textbooks, photos, and others.

    SS: Examine the interaction of human beings and their physical environment, the use of land, building of cities, and ecosystem changes in selected locales and regions.

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

    VA: Use visual structures of art to communicate ideas.

  • Adaptations

    Possible classroom resources include: Raven: A Trickster Tale from the Pacific Northwest by Gerald McDermott; If You Lived With The Indians Of The Northwest Coast by Anne Kamma; The Button Blanket by Nan McNutt; The Spindle Whorl by Nan McNutt

    Students work in small groups to create a life-size longhouse backdrop and costume versions of the puppet characters with Crayola Fabric Markers. Use recycled materials wherever possible. Plan a formal presentation for classmates.

    Reprint a traditional Raven story on several pages. Ask student groups to illustrate each page according to the dialogue presented on the page.

    Students write an original script which reflects a retelling of traditional literature. Students use their puppets as props. Present the play to classmates.


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