Southwest Children's  Literature

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The Magic of Spider Woman

After connecting with prior knowledge of Southwest native peoples and building vocabulary through handling and viewing artifacts, fifth-grade students heard the story told orally and created their Dinéh-inspired blanket designs. The next day, they heard the story read from the book while the illustrations were shared. They answered questions on a graphic organizer and completed their designs. This is a selection of their work.

Students expressed their preferences for the oral or book modalities,
or if their experience of each listening/viewing method was equal.

This graph shows the students' preferences. (7 students preferred the oral story, 5 preferred the story as told and illustrated in the book, and 8 enjoyed both equally.)

These are some of the students comments about these two modalities:

The book had pictures to help me understand more and to see what it was like living in the Dinéh tribe, how they ate, lived, and all the traditions. Darcy

I liked both because they have the same names of people and same details. But the book had pictures and the oral story had you make a picture in your mind. Rachel

A graph  of the students' preferences

These were some of the students answers to a question about whether or not they thought a person from the Dinéh culture would understand the story more easily.

Yes, because they don't know how we live, and we don't know how they live so I would like to visit some time. I think it would be fun to go there some time. Taylor

Yes, because they know more than an ordinary person that's just learning or teaching about the Dinéh. Matt

Students designed and colored blanket patterns. Some designs were inspired by fine art books with Dinéh blanket illustrations. Others were inspired by the story. (Notice the "spirit pathways" some students designed into their blanket patterns.) This is a selection of students' work:

This is Nicole's blanket

This is Jessica's blanket
This is Kayla's blanket

This is Kirsty's blanket

This is Rachel's blanket.

This is Rebekah's blanket.
This is Manuel's blanket patternn

This is Darcy's blanket.

This is L. J.'s blanket pattern.
L. J.

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