Alaska Native Stories: Using Narrative to Introduce Expository Text

This site opens to a preview/overview of the lesson and includes tabs that link to NCTE/IRA and state standards, resources and preparation, and the instructional plan with assessment. This lesson uses traditional stories of the Native peoples (i.e., narrative text) to introduce students to the study of animals in Alaska (i.e., expository text). Students use the Internet to listen to a Yuu2019pik tale told by John Active, a Native American living in Alaska. They also use online resources to find facts about animals in Alaska. Students compare and contrast the two types of text in terms of fiction and nonfiction. The narrative stories provide students with a context to begin studying a content area topic: this lesson emphasizes the integration of curriculum.

Standards & Objectives

Learning objectives: 

Students will:

  • Complete a KWLQ chart.
  • Listen and respond to a story (narrative text) by participating in a class discussion.
  • Access a website about the animal in the story to gather facts (expository text).
  • Write a report.
  • Compare and contrast narrative and expository text.

Lesson Variations

Blooms taxonomy level: 
Extension suggestions: 
  • Distribute the directions for Making a Model of a Sandhill Crane. Help students follow the directions to make their own crane puppet. They can use the puppet when presenting their crane reports to the class (see Session 2).
  • Invite older students to work with younger students to create a dramatization of the story "Crane and His Blue Eyes." The dramatization should also introduce facts about the crane.
  • Have students access the website Stories of Our People on Alaskool and listen to the stories "Tundra Mouse" and "Mink and Raven," also told by John Active. After listening to the stories, invite students to access Arctic Wildlife Portfolio and Tundra to find facts about the animals in each story. Encourage students to compare and contrast what they learned about the animal after listening to the story and what they learned after reading the expository text.
  • Have students use the interactive Stapleless Book to make a book about six Arctic animals (one animal per page) by writing a description and drawing a picture of each one. They should be encouraged to use information from the stories they have listened to and the various websites that include factual information about Arctic animals.
  • Instruct students to write their own nonfiction story or expository essay about the sandhill crane. Students writing essays can use the Essay Map as a prewriting tool to help them plan their papers. For both assignments, student can use facts that they find on the Internet: 
    • Sandhill Crane
    • International Crane Foundation
    • Whooping Crane

Helpful Hints


  • List of Literature Resources Printouts