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Lesson Plan

Making Connections to Myth and Folktale: The Many Ways to Rainy Mountain

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Making Connections to Myth and Folktale: The Many Ways to Rainy Mountain

Grades 9 – 12
Lesson Plan Type Standard Lesson
Estimated Time Five 50-minute sessions
Lesson Author

Patricia Schulze

Yankton, South Dakota


National Council of Teachers of English



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From Theory to Practice



Students write a three-voice narrative based on the structure in N. Scott Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain. They first analyze a passage from the book, focusing on the three-voice narrative style Momaday uses. They use a Venn diagram to make connections between the three voices. Students read folktales and myths, discussing their themes and characteristics. They then select a tale and retell it in their own words as the first voice in their narrative. Next they interview an elder and write about the interview as the second voice—that of historian. Students then compose a personal response to the interview or tale, adding the third voice in their narrative. They use a Venn diagram to peer review another student's work, looking for connections between the three voices. Finally, they revise their work based on the feedback they receive.

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Tips for Interviews: This handout provides useful ideas for any interview student conduct.

Three-Voice Narrative Venn Diagram: Students can use this online tool to analyze peer narratives.

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They say, "Imitation is the sincerest form of flattery." In the writing classroom, however, imitation can move beyond simple flattery to become an empowering technique which provides scaffolding for student expression. Kenneth M. Roemer states: "[I]f teachers select models carefully and present them not as ‘finished words' or ‘remote masterpieces' but as paradigms of dynamic processes and as hints leading to avenues of discovery, then modeling can and will contribute significantly to contemporary composition courses" (769). A model such as Momaday's The Way to Rainy Mountain provides "an occasion to study and practice writing as a dynamic process that links thinking, reading, writing and rewriting" while at the same time providing "a useful means of increasing student motivation to discover and experiment imaginatively with effective methods of invention" (Roemer, 770).

Further Reading

Claggett, Fran, Louann Reid, and Ruth Vinz. 1996. Recasting The Text: Inquiry-Based Activities for Comprehending and Composing. Portsmouth, NH: Boynton/Cook.


Roemer, Kenneth M. "Inventive Modeling: Rainy Mountain's Way to Composition." College English 46.8 (December 1984): 767-782.

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