Catch Me If You Can

Artie Denman, Beth Silver, Tanya Pitts

How do the arts connect cultures together throughout the world? Students will use story telling, musical composition, and artifacts to display knowledge of various cultures.

Students will participate in the lesson for creating animal characters. Students will follow the exact procedure that Kennedy Center teaching artist Felix Pitre used in his 2013 UAC Arts Integration Institute Workshop “Exploring Latin American Culture through Animal Folktales.”

The teacher will show the class a video that goes through the creative process to model what the students what is expected.


Selected instruments
Sound system

Social Studies:
African artifacts
Pictures from the folktale


Day 1
1. Use a globe or world map to discuss the location of Africa in relation to the United States. Display pictures of the land, the people of Africa, animals, foods, songs and artifacts that are pertinent to the African culture. Compare and contrast to our community and country. Use a large Venn diagram to record the observations… Add as we learn more.
2. Develop pen pals from African school to correspond with through out the year. Students will utilize letter writing and video chat to communicate with other students. First, students will compose a letter describing our community and ask questions to African students to acquire first hand knowledge.
3. Students will work in a small group to determine what the cultural theme is through out the country. Each group will share their ideas. It will be determined the key theme is community.

Day 2
1. Discuss the importance of storytelling and how important oral storytelling is to a culture.
2. Read the African folk tale, The Spider and the Honey Tree aloud to the students.
3. Students turn and talk with a partner about the visualization in the story. What did you see in your mind? What did you picture?
4. Teacher reads the folk tale again.
5. The students will be divided into groups of four. Each group will have pictures displaying the details from the story. They will work together to sequence the folk tale. A sentence or two will be written to describe what is taking place in the picture.

Day 3
1. Reread the folk tale.
2. Turn to partner and talk about the changes the spider goes through in the story. Why does he change?
3. Use a graphic organizer to describe the spider using adjectives in the beginning, middle, and end.
4. The students will listen to African tribal music and imitate through movement the physical changes the spider goes through.

Day 4
1. Divide the class into groups of three.
2. The students will use the pictures from the story and put them in order.
3. Each student will take turns “walking the pictures” to retell the folk tale. After each student had retold the story, they will each take a part (narrator, girl, spider) and act out the story.

Day 5-7
Read Spider and the Honey Tree as a class to keep the story fresh.
The groups of 3 will take the 6 parts of the story and interpret them through movement, music, sound, dialogue, etc. Each student will be responsible for two parts of the story. The students will work together to re tell the folk tale.

Day 8
Students will present their interpretation to the class and parents.

Differentiation Approaches

1. The entire lesson is designed to meet many different types of learners. The use of movement, music, speaking and listening adapts and accommodates EC and ADD students.
2. More advanced students are given the task of changing the spider to a new animal. How does this change the story? How did you decide which animal to use? What did you have to take into consideration when selecting a new animal?


1. Teacher observation and documentation will be used to assess students throughout the lesson. Writing and oral retell will be used to assess student learning.
2. A pre-assessment will be given in the beginning and again at the end of the lessons. (Students will write and draw all that the know about Africa.)
3. The retell presentations will be recorded and the students will evaluate their groups based on the following checklist:
4. Retell the story will important details
5. Use animal movement and sounds to enhance the story
6. Make cultural connections
7. Add audience participation
8. Team work

Follow Up and Extension Ideas

This is a part of a school wide unit on countries, culture and folktales. Each grade and class will study a different country and folktale. At the end of the unit, the school will put together all of the information and arts to create a school performance.

Additional Details

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