GRADES K – 3
GRADES 4 – 6
Every picture tells a story and every story helps a reader to paint a mental picture. The mural of Nani Ke Ao Nei, provides a backdrop for the legends of Abraham Fornander as told to him by Hawaiians of old who in turn, had those stories told to them by their ancient Hawaiian ancestors. The Nani Ke Ao Nei mural helps the students to visualize what old Hawai‘i looked like, providing a great backdrop for the legends collected by Fornander who recorded the stories just as he heard them.
In grade 4, the students are introduced to Abraham Fornander and the legends of old Hawai‘i. As they read each story, the students are asked to keep track of specific details from the story that have to do with: the people, culture, religion, traditions, and the environment. At the end of each story, they make a list of the things they have learned about Hawaiians and their culture with regards to the aspects previously mentioned and evaluate how things are the same or different from their own lives today.
I use the mural to support my unit on Hawaiian Folklore. The mural helps the students visualize how the environment served as a reference point for the author’s inspiration and how it will help them when they are asked to include authentic detailed information about the environment to the story they have just heard and eventually their own composition. Such details would be the insects, animals, plants, fowl, sea life, and gods. All of these same aspects appear in the mural.
The essential questions addressed are , “How does the mural help me to picture the author’s setting of the story?” and “How can I use information from the mural to help me with my own writing and understanding of the Hawaiian culture?”
The connection to grades K-3: Students in K-3 research the trees, plants, insects, and birds of the mural and when they move up to grade 4 they are asked to recognize those same things in Fornander’s stories, and eventually enrich that story or create one of their own.