Welcome to Lines, Dots, and Doodles. This is the place for students, parents, and teachers to find out what has been going on in my art class. I have included pictures of my student's artwork and basic explanations of the projects. I hope when you leave this blog, you feel inspired to create. Feel free to browse this blog and borrow any of my art lessons.

Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Totem Poles, 5th Grade

My fifth graders have recently been studying Native American culture in history class, so I thought it was time to create Totem Poles again. Last year, I did this same project with my students. It was such a success, I decided to do them again. Each child made one piece of the totem pole. When hung, we have several large totem poles.


  1. Holly,

    I enjoyed your student's totem poles so much, I backtracked through all of your Native American projects. The variety of projects is impressive! I particularly liked the Southwestern stenciled animals. I would love to know how you had the kids create the stencils if you have time to respond. Thanks!


  2. Pat, Glad you liked that project. We used heavy paper to make the stencils. I had the students draw an animal in the middle of their paper. Then we cut one slit from the end of the paper to where the animal was. We then cut the animal out. After cutting out the animal, I used a piece of tape to tape the initial slit back together. This created a animal shape hole in the middle of the paper, which we used as a stencil.

  3. Cool project! Mayby my 7th grade with learning difficulties would like this one...

    Ilse @ Artlessons from Belgium.

  4. OMG! My 2 5th grade classes are currently studying Native American culture, and I had just been talking about wanting to do a culminating project next week!!! My best friend and I were trying to figure out how they could make totem poles. Now my problem is solved! :)


  5. Love it! Thanks for a great visual- I was thinking of doing something like this, but hadn't yet figured out how to bring it all together. This is perfect! :)

  6. Hello Holly I am starting a unit on Indian tribes. While I have plenty for the lesson it's not complete with out a totem pole on my hallway bulletin board. If you can assist me (giving specifics on this) in creating one I would appreciate it. I teach 2nd so any patterns would also be helpful. This is my first year and I am attempting to be crafty.

    1. Hello,
      Sorry it took so long to reply to this. I haven't checked the comments on my older posts lately. I do not use templates or patterns with my students, so I don't have any to share with you. To begin I give the students a 12x18 piece of construction paper, which they fold in half vertically. They draw on half the paper and cut it out to make a symmetrical shape. Students then use scraps of paper to cut out simple shapes to make eyes, nose, mouth, and details. It also helps to show students lots of examples of actual totem poles. This helps them build ideas.