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Building Language: Representing and Affirming ELLs’ Home Cultures through Southwest Native American Art

Author: Katie Miller


Gilbert Spruance Elementary School

Year: 2021

Seminar: Southwest Native American Art & Culture

Grade Level: 4

Keywords: artifacts, English language learners, Indigenous Pottery, language, Navajo, project based learning, Pueblo, Southwest Native American Art, Visual Art Integration, Visual Arts and Language

School Subject(s): ESL

This unit develops fourth and fifth grade English Language Learner (ELL) students’ use of imagery and language through observation, discussion and writing about Southwest Native American art. Studying and building language around the artifacts will include building spoken and written language through thinking and discussion routines. Students will build English and literacy skills through reading personal accounts of the spiritual and personal aspects of Navajo and Pueblo processes of creation. Discussion and writing will build from observation and thinking routines using Pueblo and Navajo textiles, pottery and jewelry. After studying the visual language of Navajo and Pueblo artifacts and art, students will create their own artifacts reflecting their background cultures through applying what they learned about the artifacts to images of their home countries’ landscapes. These artifacts will build on the physical and natural environments of students’ home countries, allowing them to create their own symbols based on symbols in the Southwest Native American art. They will then use descriptive discussion and writing to communicate about these images. The unit will give students opportunities to bring their home cultures and ways of knowing into the classroom and school community, and support their development of literacy skills based on engagement with and creation of art.

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Full Unit Text
Content Objectives

Problem statement:

I work with fourth and fifth grade English Language Learner (ELL), multilingual students, who speak a variety of languages and come from a variety of countries. Students who I work with primarily come from Central and South America, but also come from Asia, Haiti and the Middle East. My students include Spanish speakers from Guatemala, Honduras, El Salvador and Ecuador; Portuguese speakers from Brazil, Dari speakers from Afghanistan, and Mandarin speakers from China. They are learning English as they learn their grade level content. Both fourth and fifth graders I work with read about Native Americans through a series of fiction and nonfiction texts. My students have different levels of literacy in their backgrounds in both their first languages and English. Due to these varying backgrounds with English and their ability to understand English and use English literacy skills, my ELL students often are unable to understand the fiction and nonfiction texts about Native Americans in ways that make the materials accessible and engaging. Often due to lack of modeling, practicing and chunking skills in general education classes, ESL students become lost when they are expected to read and write at levels that are inaccessible to them. Therefore, ELL students need instruction that breaks projects down into accessible tasks and that engage them actively in learning.

This year, returning in person after eighteen months of the Covid-19 shut down, students have been re-entering in-person learning from varying levels of support, experiences, trauma, and access to education through virtual school. Students may have had lack of resources over the year of disconnection or may have had drastic changes in personal circumstances due to the pandemic. These sources of trauma influence how students respond to school, influencing all aspects of planning and instruction. Despite students’ needs,schools and districts continue to focus on data and achievement- emphasizing benchmarks. This emphasis on data means more of a focus on outcomes and numbers and less on processes of learning. Online learning offered little opportunity for hands-on learning or incorporation of student voices, and although we have returned to in-person learning, computer-based learning continues to dominate instruction. Arts-based learning is often low priority in a standards-based and compartmentalized, skill-based curriculum. Project-based learning is found to have a significant effect on EFL (English Foreign Language) learners’ writing ability and enhances their writing ability in a collaborative environment (Aghayani & Hajmohammadi, 2019). EL students benefit most from curriculum materials that are accessible, that scaffold learning, and that sustain a language focus as well as provide opportunities to listen, speak, read and write.

All students, ELL’s especially, benefit from connecting learning to their personal experiences and building background knowledge of the content they are learning about. All students also benefit from engaging with learning in dynamic ways, and learning for authentic purposes. Accessible tasks and project-based learning should involve students’ background knowledge and cultures. “Culturally relevant pedagogy rests on three criteria or propositions: (a) Students must experience academic success; (b) students must develop and/or maintain cultural competence, and (c) students must develop critical consciousness through which they challenge the status quo of the current social order” (Ladson-Billings, p. 160). Involving students’ background knowledge allows them to bring their assets into the school community and even develop a critical lens on learning. The School District of Philadelphia English Language Development (ELD) Instruction and Framework for 2021-2022 has guidance including sustaining academic rigor, holding high expectations, engaging students in quality interactions, and sustaining a language focus. New research highlighted in this report includes students’ linguistic and cultural repertoires being seen as an asset and strength. “[…] the ‘strength-based’ approach and stance assumes the families of students are able to support their children in varied and significant ways” (ELD Framework, p. 16). This unit will give students chances to bring their familial and cultural knowledge and use this background knowledge as material for creating symbols on their own artifacts. I was inspired by the descriptions of Tewa children’s approaches to making art in Bruce Hucko’s “Where there is No Name for Art”, in which Tewa Pueblo children create art reflecting their environment as an integral part of their daily lives. These children seamlessly create visual symbols based on observing natural forms, buildings and materials from their Pueblo village surroundings, and from deep connections with their village life and ancestral stories. “Most of the forms and images of contemporary Pueblo art derive from those used in the past, and those images themselves emerged directly from the immediate environment (…) Stylized representations of clouds, lightning, mountains, animals, and other designs permeate the Pueblo world. The children identify closely with them. They know them to be theirs” (Hucko, p. 58). Through this curriculum, students will be given opportunities to connect to home cultures and amplify and affirm these cultures as an integral part of the school community.


This unit will involve speaking, reading, drawing, and writing about Southwest Native American artifacts and forms. The symbols on art in different media including embroidery, weaving and pottery will form a foundation for building language, discussion, and for reading and writing projects. Students will build literacy and language through an arts-integrated unit, using observation, drawing, discussion and writing through both viewing and creating artifacts based on Southwest Native American artifacts. We will practice viewing, talking, and thinking about the art forms with scaffolds appropriate for ELLs to help them access the content. Students will describe and write about the artifacts, helping them to build English vocabulary. “Many ELLs who come to school with limited English-language background find that vocabulary is their most frequently encountered obstacle in attempting to access information from classroom texts” (Silverman & Hines, 2009). Students will use art and artifacts to build vocabulary in the context of project-based learning, important for building English skills. Students will also view videos and read passages of living artists describing their processes and thoughts as they create the artwork, giving students a window into the thinking behind the creation.

Students will learn about the spiritual ideas behind the creation of the artwork, including how the symbols and forms of the artwork communicate about the natural environment that they live in. “The designs that exist within our culture represent our identity, the journey of our people, the suffering we have lived through over generations, our survival, and our sacred cosmology” (Teller, p. 109). They will also learn about how the creation of these symbols connect the artists to the natural and spiritual world. “Potters pray before taking the clay. They make an offering of cornmeal, asking permission from Mother Earth to take part of her body to use for pottery to support themselves and their children” (Trimble, p. 10). It will be important to emphasize connections between the artist, the earth, and landscape. “The landscape in which we grow up forms, informs, and determines patterns of our individual lives and the basic expressions of our various cultures” (Hucko, p. 68). The processes of creating the work will be part of how it is presented. “For many Pueblo textile artists, the practice of making textiles is like the breath of life itself, actively sustaining their Pueblo identity, one stitch at a time” (William, Gonzales & Tafoya, 2007). The processes of creating the works are deeply connected to spirituality and identity. Students will learn how the creation of pottery, embroidery, weaving and jewelry use materials from the earth, and how they generate respect for the earth by asking to use its resources and thinking about their connection to the resources. They will also view images of crafts made from natural materials available from the surrounding land, including yucca sandals, gourds used in creating pottery, and cloth spun from cotton from the earth. Students will also investigate how Navajo and Pueblo peoples respect, uplift, and continue their culture through the art they create through viewing and reading first-hand accounts of the creation. After watching short videos and viewing images of artists creating artifacts, students will read short quotes from artists and Tewa Pueblo children. (Appendix C) Students will learn about the connections to the earth through these materials by doing thinking routines around these materials, viewing images and videos, then reading first-hand accounts of the artists’ experiences as they create these materials. (Appendix C, D, E).

The goal of the project will be for students to draw and talk about their own artifacts, incorporating their home cultures, settings, and language into the final project. Students will view images from landscapes of their home countries and draw symbols to communicate about their home cultures using symbols. The symbols will be based on Southwest Native American artifacts as a model to help shape their own visual language ideas. Taylor, Bernhard, Garg & Cummins (2008) emphasize the importance of family taking a role in students’ literacy development through teachers bringing students’ languages and ways of knowing into the curriculum. Affirming students’ home cultures builds affirmation within settings that often do not uplift their ways of knowing, similar to how art functions in Where There is No Name for Art. “This is a dynamic time, a time when each Pueblo community must decide how best to keep its people in touch with their cultural past while preparing for an unpredictable future” (Hucko, pg. 53-54). Art can help connect students to their voices and communities in ways that resist environments that marginalize their voices. Students will display these artifacts with short written descriptions. The use of video, pictures and drawing allow students to interact with the content and gives them more entry points into the content. “Multimedia enhancement may be an appropriate way to augment vocabulary instruction and meet the needs of ELLs in inclusive settings, as well as in ELL classrooms” (Silverman & Hines, p. 312). The multimodal interaction with the artifacts and processes around making them will allow students to build language. “Students can be motivated to use the four language skills in response to learning about, looking at and making art; and students should read, write, speak and listen in order to brainstorm, organize thinking and propel creations. Students can follow their art-making experiences by titling and presenting artwork, and writing artist statements and reflections on process and product” (Art as a Tool for Teachers of English Language Learners, pg. 15). Literacy activities will be built directly from interaction and creation of visual artifacts. Language support will be built into the activities as they use the language for communicating about their home cultures and experiences.

Content Objectives
  1. Students will read descriptions of Navajo and Pueblo, discuss and write about the artwork using descriptive words and a word bank.
  2. Students will write sentences and short descriptive paragraphs to describe the Pueblo and Navajo art and artifacts using sentence stems.
  3. Students will use explanatory writing to explain their thinking process and feelings around designing their artifacts.
  4. Students will read short descriptive explanations of artifacts, and read first-hand accounts and personal descriptions from artists creating the artifacts.
  5. Students will create displays by drawing their own artifacts from their home countries and write labels and descriptions to teach others about them.
  6. Students will write short descriptive paragraphs to communicate about the imagery on their artifacts.

Teaching Strategies

The full unit will take two weeks and will be integrated into the literacy block of the day. When I complete the unit with ELL students, I will work with them in small groups when pulled out of class, and in small groups in their general education classes during reading and writing. The first few days of the unit will include thinking routines through looking at pictures of embroidery, weaving, pottery, and other Southwest Native American art forms. We will complete thinking routines through viewing objects and using sentence stems and word banks to describe them. Thinking routines will include See-Think-Wonder and Notice and Wonder (President and Fellows of Harvard College, 2016), question creation routines, as well as exercises in observing and drawing the artifacts. The next few days will involve watching videos of the processes of art creation (See: Classroom Resources) as well as reading first hand accounts of Native peoples’ experiences in creating the materials (Appendix C). They will also read quotes from children from “Where There is No Name for Art”, showing students that Native American peoples continue to carry on their traditions through their families with young people today. These reading activities will engage students in the thinking and processes of creating the artwork and the spiritual processes the artists engage in while creating the work. Students will grow to understand how the artwork connects Pueblo and Navajo peoples to nature, as well as communicates to others the importance of connecting to nature. It will be important to view modern, current creations to emphasize that Indigenous art is part of our modern life and is not a relic of the past. Viewing and discussing videos , pictures and reading about the creation of these artifacts will help students build literacy skills and familiarity with the language of the symbols used in the artifacts.

The lessons will start with drawing the art and artifacts, and with thinking routines to describe the artifacts to build comfort with the materials and build language and vocabulary. Students will talk about the artwork and artifacts and write about them using word banks, sentence stems and thinking routines to scaffold and support their discussions and engagement with the artwork. They will describe the artifacts using sentences and writing, starting with labeling and using descriptive language. Students will build adjectives to describe materials including color, shape, size and texture. Students will also build understanding of the words to describe forms used in the artwork including mountains, shapes, rain drops, lines, curves, circles, and colors (See Appendix B for the full word bank that will be used). Students will use these newly learned words to build descriptions to accompany their drawings of the artworks.

The teacher will provide images from natural landscapes from students’ home countries, giving them a chance to use their home countries and backgrounds as material for creating new symbols, imagery, and artifacts. (Appendix F) The goal of the final phase of the unit will be to create new images and symbols using the symbols and forms from the original artwork we viewed together. Students will display a museum exhibit of drawings of materials with descriptions of creating these materials, as well as written descriptions of these images. Students will communicate about the natural environment from their home cultures through the symbols and artifacts they create and write about.

Classroom Activities

The activities of this unit will take place over two weeks.


Days 1-3

Building background knowledge and descriptive skills

  1. Students read narratives and non-fiction texts about Native American cultures and peoples in their general education curriculum, including The Longest Night and Three Native Nations: Of the Woodlands, Plains and Desert and Northwest Coast Peoples. These readings will be a base for the materials in this lesson. As students investigate the art and artifacts, these texts can be built on to serve as background knowledge.
  2. Students will view images of Pueblo and Navajo weaving, pottery and embroidery (Appendix E). Students will start by simply drawing the images, allowing them to tune into the visual aspects of the artifacts. The teacher will provide a word bank of possible words to use to describe the images. (Appendix B). The teacher will ask basic descriptive questions, allowing them to start with accessible questions such as: “What color do you see?” “What shape do you see?” The teacher will model observing the objects, using word bank words, and write them on chart paper, connecting spoken language to writing. From labeling and from the modeled writing, they will be encouraged to write sentences to describe what they see. Students will be asked to turn and talk (Appendix D), giving them opportunities to use the descriptive language in sentences in authentic conversation.
  3. Students will continue each day with observing and drawing the artifacts, labeling it with written and spoken descriptions, and using this process to discuss what they see. The teacher will introduce thinking routines, starting with “See, Think, Wonder” routine using a visual (Appendix D). The teacher will model language on a Google Slide or chart paper. Students will build connections to language through connecting viewing and the visual vocabulary to spoken and written language.
Days 4-6

Reading and building visual vocabulary

  1. Students will view videos of Navajo and Pueblo peoples creating artwork as well as images of the artists creating artwork (Classroom Resources). Students will build background knowledge as they view videos and pictures of the processes of creation.
  2. Students will read excerpts by Navajo and Pueblo peoples and Tewa Pueblo children describing their thought processes of creating the artwork. (Appendix C) Students will read these excerpts and discuss with partners to answer a few simple questions such as “What did they say when they created the art?”, and “How do you think they felt when they created the art? What makes you say that?”
  3. The teacher will continue to show images of the artwork, have students draw the artwork, and talk and write about it.
  4. The teacher will display students’ descriptions along with the images in the classroom, allowing them to have a visual reference connected to language and to continue to build familiarity with the symbols from the art and artifacts.
Days 7-10

Tapping into home cultures and languages, creating artifacts

  1. The teacher will gather images from students’ home cultures and backgrounds (See Appendix F for examples). The teacher can also use a map to help students plot and visualize where their home cultures are on maps to provide context. Students will be encouraged to bring in photos from their home country if they would like. The teacher will provide images of the landscape from students’ home countries- which will require some research into students’ home cultures and sensitivity to students’ backgrounds and possible difficult feelings around students’ home country environments. Families can share images to bring their background knowledge and experiences into the classroom. Teachers can also use Google Maps street view and internet images of students’ home countries to use landscapes from students’ home cultures. The idea of using home country images will allow the teacher to cater the material directly to students’ unique home backgrounds, affirming their varied backgrounds. The teacher should be careful to confirm with students the particular state, city or town students are from, so that the home countries are accurate toward students’ backgrounds and experiences.
  2. Students will draw pictures of these landscapes just as they did with artifacts, allowing them to build connections with the landscape. Students will use describing words with word banks and sentence stems (Appendix B, D). The teacher will encourage students to build descriptive sentences and paragraphs from the labeling of images by modeling writing on a Google Slide or chart paper, giving students examples of sentences they can build language from.
  3. Students will practice drawing symbols from the images of their home countries, using the art and artifacts studied at the beginning of the unit as reference. For example, they will build imagery of natural forms such as trees, deserts, houses, rivers, mountains and roads. The idea will be for them to communicate textures, images and environments from their home countries through these symbols.
Days 10-14

Creating displays of artifacts

  1. Students will continue observing, drawing and writing about their home landscapes. The teacher will provide a rubric for the final project (Appendix A), reviewing it to give students an idea of the components of the final project. The teacher can further guide students’ writing about the landscapes by returning to the word banks and sentence stems, as well as using questions such as, “What colors do you see? What land do you see?” Beyond the practice of observing the landscapes, the teacher will encourage students to describe the images with increasingly descriptive language.
  2. Students will continue to sketch symbols for their artifacts, and the teacher will model some of these processes if students do not understand the process. The teacher can also provide word and picture resources for students to create and label mountains, rivers, clouds, trees, and other landforms. (Appendix A) Another option includes tracing these landscape images on paper to look at their shapes. The teacher should also include Pueblo and Navajo symbols as a reference for the types of symbols they will use. Students will be encouraged to use pattern, negative space, and fill the entire background of the textile or pottery with the images. They will keep in mind the aspects of the Pueblo and Navajo processes and craftsmanship while creating their artwork.
  3. After completing a few drafts of the artifacts, students will create final artifacts for display. Students will create labels for their drawings with the purpose of describing them to other students in the school. They will use the descriptive language we practiced with the original artifacts earlier in the process. The repetition of strategies and language will be helpful for ELL students to feel competent with the processes and language needed for creating their final displays. The teacher will model and encourage students to expand the labels into short sentences, with the goal of creating short descriptive paragraphs of their artifacts to accompany their displays.
  4. Students will talk about their artifacts with the teacher individually, and the teacher will write down what they say on a document to be displayed with the artwork. This will emphasize the importance of the artists’ thought processes as they create the artwork. These descriptions will be included along with the images and student descriptions of the artwork.
  5. Students will display the drawings of artifacts with symbols from students’ home countries, descriptions of the artifacts, and descriptions of their thoughts and feelings as they made the work. These artifacts will be displayed along with the art and artifacts originally studied in the unit. The teacher will evaluate students’ work using the rubric (Appendix A). Other students in the school community can take a gallery walk of the images and descriptions, allowing them to learn about students’ home cultures and the original artifacts.


Amanti, C. (2005) Beyond A Beads and Feathers Approach. In Gonzalez, Moll & Amanti (Eds.), Funds of Knowledge: Theorizing practice in households, communities and classrooms. Mahwah, N.J., Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. (p. 131-142).

Aghayani, B. & Hajmohammadi, E. (2019). Project-Based Learning: Promoting EFL Learners’ Writing Skills. LLT Journal: A Journal on Language and Language Teaching. Vol. 22, No. 1. pg. 78-85.

Hucko, Bruce Where There is No Name for Art: The Art of Tewa Pueblo Children.  School of American Research Press, 1996

Ladson-Billings, G. (1995) But That’s Just Good Teaching! The Case for Culturally Relevant Pedagogy. Theory into Practice. Vo. 34, No. 3, pg. 159-165.

Macinty, M. & Chan, E. (2011) Teaching the Arts to Engage English Language Learners. Routledge, New York.

Moll, L. & Gonzalez, N. (2005) Engaging Life: A Funds-of-Knowledge Approach to Multicultural Education. Publisher: Academic Achievement: Approaches, Theory and Research.

Pete, Linda Teller and Barbara Ornelas, How to Weave a Navajo Rug and Other Lessons from Spider Woman, Thrums Books (October 1, 2020)

President and Fellows of Harvard College. (2016) Project Zero: Harvard Graduate School of Education. “Thinking Routine: See, Think, Wonder” Accessed December 15, 2021.

Quotsquyva, Dextra Nampeyo (2005).  Honoring the Clay, in Objects of Everlasting Esteem: Native American Voices on Identity, Art and Culture, Lucy Fowler Williams, Wierzbowski, and Preucel. Editors, Penn Museum.

Silverman & Hines. (2009). The Effects of Multimedia-Enhanced Instruction on the Vocabulary of English-Language Learners and Non-English-Language Learners on Pre-Kindergarten through Second Grade. Journal of Educational Psychology. Vol. 101, No. 2, pg. 305-314.

Taylor, Bernhard, Garg & Cummins (2008). Affirming plural belonging: Building on students’ family-based cultural and linguistic capital through multiliteracies pedagogy. Journal of Early Childhood Literacy. Vol. 8 No. 3. pg. 269-294.

Trimble, Stephen Talking with the Clay: The Art of Pueblo Pottery in the 21st Century,  (2007). School for Advanced Research Press/SAR Press.

The New York State Education Department Office of Bilingual Education and Foreign Language Studies (2010) Art as a Tool for Teachers of English Language Learners. The State Education Department: The University of the State of New York, Albany, NY.

Williams, Lucy, Isabel Gonzales, and Shawn Tafoya Butterflies and Blue Rain: The Language of Contemporary Eastern Pueblo Embroidery, 2007. Expedition Magazine.

Classroom Resources

Jaqueline Guest. The Longest Night. Savvas Learning Company, LLC., 2016.

John K. Manos. Three Native Nations of the Woodlands, Plains and Desert. Savvas Learning Company, LLC., 2016.

Barbara Teller Ornelas & Lynda Teller Pete, Teachers Episode. YouTube, uploaded by Craft in America, 16 Sept. 2016.

Maria Martinez: Indian Pottery of San Ildefonso (Documentary, 1972, VHS). YouTube, uploaded by Analog Anthropology Archive, 21 Nov. 2013.


Content Objectives

WIDA 4th/5th grade Proficiency Level Descriptors:

Listening, Reading and Viewing:

Level 1 and Level 2 EL students will read, write, listen and speak to understand how ideas are elaborated and condensed through labels with multi-word noun groups with connectors and classifiers. Grammatical complexity will extend and enhance meanings through simple sentences.

This standard will be addressed when students read descriptions of the artwork and accurately label the artwork using descriptive words.

Speaking, Writing and Representing:

EL Level 1 and Level 2 students will elaborate or condense ideas through a few types of elaboration such as adding adjectives to describe nouns.

This standard will be addressed when students use a wordbank to label the artifacts with descriptions, then further write sentences and short paragraphs to describe the artifacts.

The focus objective of this unit will be:

W.4.4./1.5.2 Informative & Explanatory: Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.

This standard will be addressed when students write to describe the artifacts and then describe their drawing through explanatory writing.

Other objectives will include:

RL.4.1./RL.5.1.: Ask and answer questions to demonstrate understanding of a text, referring explicitly to the text as the basis for answers.

This standard will be addressed through reading about the artifacts, and reading first-hand accounts of artists creating the artifacts.

Craft and Structure:

Vocabulary RI.4.4./RI.5.4: Determine the meaning of academic and domain-specific words and phrases in a text relevant to a grade 3-4 topic or subject area.

This standard will be addressed through reading about the artifacts, and reading first-hand accounts of artists creating the artifacts.

Integration of Knowledge and Ideas:

Diverse Media: RI.4.7./R.I.5.7. Use information gained from illustrations (e.g. maps, photographs) and the words in a text to demonstrate understanding of the text (e.g. where, when, why, and how key events occur).

This standard will be addressed through viewing images, videos, maps to put the Native American art into context.

Appendix A. Rubric to evaluate final project:







Needs Improvement


1 point


Drawings and symbols

Draws four or more symbols, fills the whole page. Draws three or more symbols. Draws one symbol. Doesn’t draw symbols.
1 point


Labeling the drawing

Writes full sentences to label the symbols in the drawing. Labels all parts of the drawing with words. Puts one or two words to label. Doesn’t label the symbols in the drawing.
1 point


Writing full descriptive sentences.

Writes 2 descriptive sentences describing what they were thinking when they created the artifact. Writes 1 sentence describing some of what they thought when they made the artifact. Writes a few words about what they thought when they made the artifact. Does not write what they thought when they made the artifact.
Teacher comments:




Appendix B. Word banks:
red black white circle line
blue green triangle curvy straight
bright dull cloud mountains rain
water river grass birds horns
butterflies wind rainbow sun earth
lightening flower feather frog sky


clouds mountains rain birds water
lightening feather wind tree rainbow




Appendix C. Quotes by Native American artists that students will read:
“You have to have a good heart when you are working with the clay. If you are in a bad mood, don’t touch it (Trimble, p. 13).
“The clay is very selfish. It will form itself to what the clay wants to be. The clay says, ‘I want to be this, not what you want to be” (Trimble, p. 15).
“I talk with the clay in the building. Then, completed, the clay talks to the people. It says ‘Take me Home!’” (Trimble,pg. 48).
“It is always challenging to mold “squatty” shaped jars like this one, because it is so hard to do! When you are doing it you kind of challenge yourself and the feeling of shaping the pot itself. There is a lot of feeling in these pots- they are storage jars or seed jars” (Quotskuyva, 2005).
“I like to do my own interpretations, and often leave the clay with no design so that the

clay can show its own color – the fire lady does her own designs on it. I like to leave the areas clear because this gives it a very spiritual flow” (Quotskuyva, 2005).

“For me, the clay from the earth itself is alive – it has spiritual power and a kind of energy. You can still gather it today in different colors, and the paints as well. You can manage to get it – you don’t just go out, you kind of pray about it and we consider this very spiritual. I am very thankful for what I do. I am fortunate to have that gift.” (Quotskuyva, 2005).
“‘My ideas come out of my subconscious’ says Shanna Naranjo (…) Sometimes I record things that I see or hear and put them together. They are typed in my mind, They come out when I want to put something else in. Like, my mind will fill up, and then I’ll see something and it’ll start going in and then my thoughts come out. When new ideas go in, the old thoughts come out, and that’s when it’s time to draw’” (Hucko, 1996).
Appendix D. Thinking Routines (Adapted from Project Zero):
Notice and Wonder

What do you see? | What do you notice about it? (What color is it? What shapes do you see? What pictures do you notice in it? What does it make you think of?| What do you wonder about it? (Do you have a question about it?)

Sentence stems: I see…

I notice…

I wonder…

One question is…

This makes me think of…

Appendix E.

Sikyatki Storage Jars, ca. 1400-1625. Dextra Quotskuyva, Hopi, Arizona, Third Mesa. Williams, Wierzbowski, and Preucel 2005.

Williams, Lucy, Isabel Gonzales, and Shawn Tafoya Butterflies and Blue Rain: The Language of Contemporary Eastern Pueblo Embroidery, 2007. Expedition Magazine

Williams, Lucy, Isabel Gonzales, and Shawn Tafoya Butterflies and Blue Rain: The Language of Contemporary Eastern Pueblo Embroidery, 2007. Expedition Magazine.

The following artifacts are from the Penn Museum Collection and will be used for students to observe, complete thinking routines, build language and serve as models for their own artifacts. They are all from the Penn Museum collection:

Artifacts retrieved from:

Serape (detail), Navajo, c. 1860. Wool. 01.24.03

Squash Blossom Necklace, Navajo, c. 1910–15. Silver alloy from ingots, turquoise, leather. A69

Left: Ketoh (bow guard), Navajo, c. 1900. Silver alloy from ingots, turquoise, leather, copper alloy. A186. Center: Ketoh, Navajo, c. 1900–1910. Silver alloy from ingots, turquoise, copper alloy. A91. Right: Ketoh, Navajo, c. 1890–1910. Silver alloy from ingots, turquoise, leather, copper alloy. 01.34.01

Appendix F:

Example of home country images for students to draw symbols from for their final artifacts. Retrieved from Google Maps street view:

Minas Gerais, Brazil:

Quito, Ecuador:



See PDF for Graphics