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FNSS Curriculum Integration Project Click here to download this lesson.
Rachel Huva (MS-Word format.)

Grade: 4
Lesson 1: Storytelling-First Nations Oral Traditions
Time: 1 hour

Topic: Storytelling traditions

Rationale: In Western culture, few things “exist” unless they are written down, a fact that has led to considerable problems when interacting with the almost exclusively oral traditions of First Nations cultures.

Students need to be made aware of this cultural background and realize that just because a culture is not written down does not mean that it is any less valid.

The role of the oral history (and storytelling) in First Nations culture is a significant one, and through this lesson students will learn to identify and develop an awareness and appreciation for the storytelling and oral history traditions of First Nations Cultures.

Materials and Resources

  • Storytelling bag
  • Objects for inspiring stories
  • Teacher story (might want to think of beforehand)


  • Storyteller
  • Storytelling bag
  • Local language-word for storyteller

Main Concept
To explore the oral storytelling traditions of the First Nations peoples

Intended Learning Outcomes

  • Demonstrate an awareness and appreciation of various Aboriginal cultures in Canada.
  • Describe how people’s basic needs are met in a variety of cultures (spirituality).

Planned Learning Activity

  1. Teacher brings out (storytelling) bag. Predict what it might be and what we might be doing today.
  2. Teacher reaches in and pulls out an object that “inspires” a short story.
  3. Discuss students’ reactions to story, and First Nations traditions of storytelling.
  4. Pass bag around classroom. In pairs, students pull out an object and create a short story of their own.
  5. Students take turns telling their story to two other pairs.


  • Group participation and cooperation
  • Criteria for story elements


  • Stories may be told individually later on, presented to groups or to class.
  • Students could create their own storytelling bags.
  • Lead in to study of First Nations myths and legends
  • Have a storyteller come in
  • Older students could contrast/compare First Nations traditions of Storyteller to Anglo-Saxon traditions of “scop” or traveling bard.

Integrated Opportunities

  • Art – Illustrate the story (using First Nations styles/techniques)
  • Language Arts – Stories may be written in journals, polished for oral or written presentation

Resources Used and Supplementary Materials Available

  1. www.cln.org

Summative Criteria

Criteria Ratings Comments
Story includes object in a central and relevant role 4 3 2 1  
Story is clear and easy to follow 4 3 2 1  
Story contains start, middle, and end 4 3 2 1  
Group participation and cooperation 4 3 2 1  
Student demonstrates an understanding of the relevance of oral stories to FN culutres 4 3 2 1  

4 – Powerful
3 – Good
2 – Basic
1 – Beginning