Lesson submitted by Peter Backstrom (7th grade teacher) of Northeast Range School.

The students will learn about and then make dream catchers; a well-known art form of not only Ojibwe people, but many tribes across North America.

Materials Needed


Art Materials


Activity Process


The introduction of making dream catchers will start by making a chart with headings/discussion: prior knowledge, what we would like to learn, and what we learned. Once our chart has been filled in, I will read a story to gain a visual and mental understanding of what we are making and why.


I will walk through the basic steps of constructing a dream catcher. I will explain this is new, so we need to listen carefully and watch before trying it. I will explain to them they need to not play with the supplies they are given. Supplies will be given out in stages.


  1. The children will be shown what a willow is and where it grows. They will be shown how to strip a willow branch of side branches/nodes and then be given time to strip branches.
  2. When the branch is stripped and nodes are removed they will form a tear drop shape out of the willow-be careful they bend it slowly so it doesn't crack.
  3. At this time the child will be given about yard and half of sinew, the end will be fastened in a figure eight pattern knot. The lacing pattern for the middle is demonstrated.
  4. The children will then add the bead in the middle of the web and the feather at the end.
  5. The children will later have a show and tell time of their project.


We will continue to fill in the parts of the chart/discussion. A story will be read to compare the past and the present ideas of dream catchers.


The chart and discussion will be the way we assess the students learning.

Vocabulary Words


Small groups helped the process go smoother. But a few more hands would have been better- since first grader's fine motor skills are still very limited. Some of the students have made or watched someone make them before. This prior knowledge helped a great deal. The branches already stripped would save time, possibly already tied with sinew would be beneficial. It depends on the number of helpers and the number of steps you would like your students to experience as they make their dreamcatcher.

Grade Levels


Primary Content Area

American Indian Learner Outcomes

Content Standards


Language Arts



Social Studies