Jocelyn Polly, a Volney Elementary School fourth-grader, holds her folktale, "How the Beaver Lost His Stripes."

New York Elementary Students Create Native-Inspired Folktales


Fourth-Grade students from Erin Brewster’s class at Volney Elementary School in Fulton, New York recently presented Native American folktales they wrote and illustrated at an author’s tea at the school’s library.

Students started working on their tales about a month ago when they began learning Iroquois history and reading the work of Abenaki writer and storyteller Joseph Bruchac.

“Through their exploration the students gained an understanding of Native American culture, traditions, and beliefs and also an understanding of the style and feeling that goes into creating a folktale of their own,” reported

Jocelyn Polly wrote a tale about friendship and courage called “How Beaver Lost His Stripes.”

The students developed characters, created a problem for the character to overcome and conveyed a moral message while putting their story into book format and then adding illustrations.

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