A great chief of the Pacific Northwest is creating his totem. The animals (beaver, bear, wolf, owl, eagle, frog, killer whale, otter, thunder, and raven) each present a quality that the chief might have that would lend itself to creating his totem. Each tries to persuade him to include them.
Andy Everson, MTW Publisher, ©2007, 978-0-9784327-0-6
Build Your Own Totem
The entire book is built around the premise of finding the totem that symbolizes you. First, read the book to the students. At a second reading, as a listening skill, students can listen for those qualities each of the animals presents to the chief. The attached page includes a black line master for listening. After the discussion, ask students to use the little sketches to create a totem with 4 qualities that they would like to have.
The back of the book has a double-page spread with additional possible qualities including: hummingbird, duck, dragonfly, Canada goose, swan, loon, kingfisher, beetle, moon, and sun. Students might want to think about these qualities as well…although it makes the project even more complicated.
If You’re Not From BC
David Bouchard once was a principal in North Vancouver, BC. Since becoming an author and discovering his roots as an aboriginal, he has become one of the most evocative writers in the field. Author of over 50 books, he is a recipient of the Order of Canada.
My favourite from Dave Bouchard is If You’re Not From the Prairie… which is a lyrical praise of growing up in the prairies:
- The sun is our friend from when we are young
- If you’re not from the prairies, you don’t know the sun.
A good assignment might be for students to write an “If You’re Not from BC…” book.
For 4 creative writing ideas, click I am Raven to download.