Carry on the Storytelling Tradition

Carry on the Storytelling Tradition lesson plan

Link the visual and language arts! After drawing memories in the style of folk artist Clementine Hunter, classmates tell and record each other's stories.

  • 1.

    Clementine Hunter was born on a Louisiana plantation near Natchitoches in either December 1886 or January 1887. When she was in her 50s, she began to paint life on a Southern plantation. Her work is called Naïve or Folk Art because it is a good example of how ordinary people would paint.

  • 2.

    Clementine Hunter was Creole. Her heritage included French, Native American, African, Austrian, and Irish roots. She spoke a Creole dialect, which is similar to French, until her second husband taught her English.

  • 3.

    Hunter painted the life she knew and told stories about her art when she was asked. She was illiterate, and unable to sign her paintings until she began to imitate the initials of the plantation owner, Cammy Henry. Hunter thought this might be confusing, so she reversed the direction of the C and later combined it with the H, making her signature unique.

  • 4.

    Compare the Folk Art of Clementine Hunter to the Primitive works of Grandma Moses. How are their paintings alike? How are they different?

  • 5.

    To create a Naïve drawing in the manner of Clementine Hunter, choose a favorite memory. What event in your life stands out? Use Crayola® Washable Markers to draw what you remember. Include important details, such as the place, people, and actions.

  • 6.

    Share your drawing with a classmate. Use the oral tradition of storytelling, which illiterate people used to pass down stories in the past. Tell the story of your picture. Then listen to your friend's story. With Crayola® Colored Pencils, write each other


  • Children examine the art of Clementine Hunter, a Creole folk artist.
  • Children compare Hunter's Folk Art style with Grandma Moses' Primitive work.
  • Students draw an important memory in Hunter's Naïve style, then describe their drawing orally for a friend to write.


  • Research plantation life in the United States. Use Crayola® Tempera Paint to depict life in the deep South on a plantation before or after the Civil War period.
  • Clementine Hunter enjoyed the work she performed, especially picking cotton, gathering pecans, and doing laundry. Make a painting of a task that you enjoy.