Older students read the animal descriptions or (Gr3-6) and choose their symbolic animal they identify with the most for its qualities/characteristics.  Older students can write an essay or share in class or group reasons for their choice. 

For younger students (k-2 animal descriptions)  not yet reading, teacher can use projector to display animal images (click here). Students can paint or draw a picture of the animal they identify with demonstrating the action or value of the symbol.  ie bravery. Students can also color images of totem animals.



- What kind of symbolic animal qualities the student values or possesses or aspires to.

- How these qualities be applied to their life now and in the future.

- How these qualities can be applied to his/her school studies

- What can we learn from eg the “hummingbird”?


Use a Talking Circle to engage in ‘Storytelling’ where students can create their own ‘stories’ or legends about the symbolic animals. http://firstnationspedagogy.ca/circletalks.html (Alternatively, use Talking Circle to communicate a time when student demonstrated quality/value in his/her life.)


  • Homework. Students take their jewelry project home along with animal descriptions and have parents input and discussion with child.

  • Further complexity can be incorporated using color theory After beading class, students can discuss how they incorporated color theory into their design eg analogous colors, cool/warm, etc. 

  • Music and drama can be combined as well to tell stories and connect with teachings.

  • Memory game where the characteristics of  symbolic animals are to be corresponded with the particular animal

  • Activity whereby they identify in their peers some of the characteristics/qualities of the  animals