Ojibwe Storytelling: A Mural Project

Students will create a mural, depicting many different Ojibwe stories, based on reading and listening to the stories and reflecting upon them in their personal portfolios.Proceed with caution when using traditional stories in your classroom. There are mixed opinions. For more information read The January 2007 Issue of Language Arts, published by the National Council of Teachers of English. Storytelling is also culturally appropriate for winter months only in the Great Lakes Ojibwe culture. As always, please connect with local elders and culturalists to ensure your curriculum choices and classroom materials are appropriate for your region and community.

Materials Needed


Art Materials

Activity Process


Students will view other murals that have been created first in class by watching Power Points and seeing pictures. Then students will go to our cities downtown and view the beautiful murals that have been created there by the community.


Teachers will read an Ojibwe story with the students and will, with student input, draw pictures and images on a SmartBoard that represent that story. Students will be invited to come up and add to the picture. Once the "practice" mural has been created on the Smartboard, students will begin the process for their own mural.


  1. View murals and create an example of a mural.
  2. Listen to Ojibwe stories and as they are listening, draw/respond to the meaning of the story.
  3. Listen to the story a 2nd time, and create a picture of what that story means--retell it with pictures and images instead of words.
  4. Students will continue with this process until they have a large collection (maybe 20 stories?) of Ojibwe stories in their personal portfolios.
  5. Students will begin the mural process with the help of a local artist/presenter. They will be divided into groups, based upon their personal interests, and will draw their favorite Ojibwe story onto the wood/mural.
  6. Once all drawings have been completed, students will take turns and will begin painting the murals. This will take many days as students will need to paint in layers for multiple colors, coverage, etc.


Students will view their mural. It will be displayed somewhere in their school for all to see for many, many years to come! There could also be an "installation ceremony" where the students celebrate the hanging of the mural with reflections, poems and favorite parts of the artwork/process.


Students will provide a self-assessment form that asks them to reflect on the stories they chose to illustrate and what they feel is important about learning all our histories and traditions.

Vocabulary Words


We were aware that not all Ojibwe stories should be illustrated- due to spiritual and ceremonial importance. According to our local elders, all stories should only be spoken in the winter time and not available for 'use' any other time of the year. Therefore, for most stories, we created general themes and forms that could be represented in many ways, so as not to offend the tradition of oral storytelling and in order to respect our community members.

Grade Levels

Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts



Social Studies