Dancing with Traditions: Crayola Creativity Week

Crayola’s Creativity Week begins January 23rd with exciting opportunities for students and teachers to engage with literature and art.  One of the five events includes celebrity creators, Ria Thundercloud & Illustrator, Kalila J. Fuller in Dancing with Traditions.

The picture book, Finding My Dance, tells the story of Ria Thundercloud, author, expressing herself and her Native American culture through dance. At age four, she is dancing in the powwow circle and continues later in the Native “fancy shawl” tradition. Dance is her passion and inspiration taking readers on a journey through beautiful illustrations that capture the movements in dance.

Visit the Crayola website to sign up and receive materials.  Ideas are presented on the Dancing with Traditions page including Today’s Downloadable Thinking Sheets.  Thinking Sheet 1 guides students through sketching bodies in motion.  Thinking Sheet 2 connects patterns found in dance shawls and regalia to nature.

Additional Lesson Ideas to Connect Dance with Native American Traditions

Lesson of the Day: ‘A New Kind of Native American Dance Troupe’: From the New York Times current event lessons, discover a Native American dance group.  Provides article, video and discussion prompts.

Lesson 1: Learning Social Dances:  From Carnegie Hall’s musical explorers site, go in depth with three tribal dances with music, video and much more.


I Will Dance by Nancy Bo Flood and Julianna Swaney
Bowwow Powwow Brenda J. Child and Jonathan Thunder
Maria Tallchief by Christine Day
Kitchen Dance by Maurie J. Manning
Dancing Devi by Priya S. Parikh and N. Dejeshwini


Danca Lab: View two dances, Fancy Shawl Dance and Grass Dance.

Native American Men and Women Dances and Regalia: From PBS, view three dances and learn more about the meaning of each dance.

Native Pride Dancers: The Kennedy Center provides an online demonstration of traditional eagle, fancy, grass and hoop dances.


AASL Crayola Creativity Week Resources: View additional resources to use with your students. Image created by Carolyn Vibbert in Canva.


Author: Becca Munson

Becca Munson, Librarian, is a National Board Certified Teacher with over 24 years of experience in education. Becca is the Coordinator for Library Systems in the Blue Valley School District. Previously, she was school librarian at Blue Valley West High School. She opened two buildings in Blue Valley and spent some time as an Ed Tech Specialist before returning to libraries. Becca supports over 45 librarians and support staff as they work to fulfill the mission of flexible scheduling, collaboration, and literacy.

Categories: Blog Topics, Community/Teacher Collaboration


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