Storytelling with Artists
Language Arts, Art, and Social Studies Activity
Students retell a legend orally, illustrating it with the art style of the
WHAT YOU NEED
- Collections of traditional African stories and legends
- Examples of African artwork
- Art supplies
WHAT TO DO
- Explain to students that oral storytelling has always been very popular in
Africa. Storytellers pass on their cultures' traditions by telling the stories
of the past. Point out that traditional art and handiwork are also passed on from generation
- Divide the class into presentation teams. Each team should include both
storytellers and artists. Tell students they are to locate a traditional
African story to retell orally. Explain that each team of storytellers is to
learn one story by heart, dividing it so that each storyteller tells one part.
Meanwhile, the artists in each team are to research the art of the source
country (or ethnic group) and illustrate key parts of the story. Encourage them
to emulate the traditional art style.
- Schedule a performance of the stories on a African Arts Day and invite other
classes and members of the community to attend. Before the performance, have
students write and make copies of an informative program containing background
information on the pieces they are going to present. Have students distribute
the programs to the audience.
Suggest that teams choose their sources from various nations in Africa. As a
follow-up to the performance, have students locate the countries on a map. Lead
a discussion to examine the similarities and differences among the tales and to
explore student's conclusions about them.
Encourage students to write and perform a tale about modern Africa. An example
might be a story based on Nelson Mandela's life.
Find examples of music from the source country of each tale. Students
interested in dance and movement can use them to tell the story they hear in
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