Lesson Plan: Every Picture Tells a Story

Written By: Sue Geihl
Grade Level: Grades 5 and up

Time Allotment

One day for presentation. Time outside class to collect items. Time in or out of class to write a story, make a collage, or create a piece of art. One day for presentation of work.


Students will compare and contrast artwork created by two native American artists, Laura Youngbird and David P Bradley using a venn diagram. They will create a story about one of the images and verbally share it. They will view interviews with Laura Youngbird and learn what impacts her art. They will discuss the meaning of assimilation and how it can be defined in a work of art. They will examine and search for the stories each artist is telling in their artwork. Students will tell their own story.

Downloadable Content
Lesson Plan
Slides for EPTAS
Venn diagram

Subject Matter

Visual Arts, Language Arts, Histrory

Learning Objectives

Students will learn:
Students understand the meaning of assimilation.
Artists tell stories in their art without using words.
These stories can educate the viewer about the artist and the world.
Students can tell their own story with or without words.


Keynote “Every Picture Tells a Story”
Venn diagram handout with Laura Youngbird and David P Bradley
Extra paper

Teacher Preparation

1. Watch the keynote and make notes for your presentation
2. Make a list of questions or prompts you may want to use for students
3. Make copies of venn diagram.

Introductory Activities

1. (Slide 1) Play the first part of the keynote with the artwork of Contemporary Native American artists.
2. While students are watching hand out venn diagram.

Learning Activities

3. (Slide 2) Give students about 3 minutes to fill out diagram
4. Have students share what is the alike in the two paintings
5. (Slide 3) Give students about 3 minutes to write a short story about one of the images on the back of their paper
6. Have students share with a neighbor their story.
7. (Slide 4) Show the video clip of Laura Youngbird
8. (Slide 5) Discuss the vocabulary words of sketchbook and collage
9. (Slide 6) Talk about Assimilation, give students time to write down other examples of cultural assimilation
10.(Slide 7) Discuss the way in which Laura define assimilation in her art
11.(Slide 8) Invite students to talk about what they see in this painting
12.(Slide9) Show the video clip of Laura talking about her grandmother
13.(Slide 10) Invite students to talk about what they see in the painting and what Laura meant by “being white”
14.(Slide 11) Students share what they learned from Laura’s art
15.(Slide 12) Students discuss what they see in David P Bradley’s self portrait
16.(Slide 14-­‐15) Students talk about what they see in the images
17.(Slide 16) Talk about the boarding schools and what effect it had on Native American children. Refer to the actual photos and the images that Davide P Bradley used in his collage.
18.(Slide 17) View the video clip of Laura’s “Ghost Dance” bison

Culminating Activity

Review information students learned about during the keynote.
19.(Slide18-­‐19) Inspire students to create their own story. They can use words and write the story, or they can transform those words into images such as Laura Youngbird and David P Bradley.
20.(Slides 20-­‐21) writing prompts

Cross-Curricular Activity

Students could research assimilation of Native Americans more thoroughly. There are videos with interviews of people who attended boarding schools. Students could compare and contrasts native Americans to other immigrants or native residents who have been assimilated. Reading/Writing:
Students could read one of the suggested books in and write a response to the book. A Broken Flute The Native Experience in Books for Children Edited by Doris Seale and Beverly Slapin Students could read about boarding schools and compare them to their own school. Students could write a personal response about how they think they would feel if they had to attend a boarding school. Students could interview family members about their history. Students could research their family culture and write a short story and possibly illustrate it. Media Arts:
Students could research a different Native

Community Connections

Students could interview people in the community and in their families to accumulate information for their story.
Students could have a local artist/writer come in and talk to them about their stories and processes they use to tell them.
Students could present their stories as a class during conferences.
Students could present their stories individually to members of the community during programs such as “adopt a grandparent” or “reading buddies.”
Art and stories could be displayed at local businesses, library, post office.