Jason Barresi
Arts Methods
Grade level: kindergarten
Time: 45 minutes

Navaho Rug

Topic: Visual arts lesson where the students listen to a story and make a Navaho rug.

Rationale: The benefits of having the students make Navaho rugs are two fold. Firstly, the students will get a chance to enhance their manual dexterity and follow a sequential process. Secondly, students will begin to gain an appreciation and an understanding of a culture other than their own.


  • Artistic Perception: Each student will demonstrate the concept of weaving by making a "Navaho rug."
  • Historical and Cultural Context: Through a small group discussion of the story The Goat in the Rug by Charles Blood and Martin Link, students will participate in a discussion about how Native Americans used resources to meet their needs.
  • Aesthetic Valuing: Students will share their rugs in pairs, discussing the process they used and why.
  • Strategy: Small group, direct instruction, and guided discovery.

    Vocabulary: weave-- to bring together and link two or more objects

    1) Introduction--Have the students sit in a circle. Explain to them that in many Native American cultures people would sit in a circle for storytelling. The formation of a circle meant that no one person is at the head. All people are "the same height" and this idea reinforces the notion that listeners are an equally important part of a storytelling. Tell them that a good story cannot exist without a good listener. Read "The Goat in the Rug."

    2) Using picture cards and sentence strips, have the students recall the steps needed to make a Navaho rug from goat’s wool. Put the sentence strips in order. Emphasize how all the materials used had to come from the environment as there were no stores which sold the materials.

    3) Have the students go back to their seats. Demonstrate how to weave the strips of construction paper into the cardboard pieces. Be sure to demonstrate the different ways of weaving. For example, students can skip every other slot, start on the front or back of the cardboard, etc.

    4) Give each student a piece of cardboard. Give each group of three or four students a stack of the strips of construction paper and a glue stick. Have each student make a rug.

    5) While students are making their rugs, walk around and help the students with the weaving.

    Closure: Have the students get in pairs and share their rugs by having each student tell the process they used to make their rug and why they selected the colors they did.

    Clean-up: Before the pairs break up, have them decide who will pick up the glue and who will pick up the extra strips of construction paper. The teacher should direct the students as to where to put their rugs. The teacher should be sure that this is an area that will remain relatively safe for the rest of the day.


    Materials: 20 1’x1’ pieces of cardboard with 1/2" slots approximately 1/2" apart, 100 1/3"x1’ pieces of sturdy construction paper or wallpaper, glue sticks, sentence strips with each one being a different step in making a rug, and The Goat in the Rug by Charles Blood and Martin Link.


    1) Have students use math manipulatives such as pattern blocks or color cubes to make rug designs.

    2) Invite a person who spins and weaves into the classroom and have them demonstrate it.

    3) Discuss how, in the story, Glenmae planned to color the goat’s wool. Discuss how Native Americans used fruits and vegetables to dye fabric. Do an activity where the students can dye yarn.

    Reference: AskERIC internet site http://ericir.syr.edu/plweb