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Online task 7

Culture in non-textual media: still pictures, photographs, music and film

  1. Look at the following painting titled Ball-play of the Choctaw-Ball up by 19th century American painter, George Catlin. Please don't do any further search of the painting at this stage.
  2. Catlin was fascinated by Plains Indians' life: its simplicity, closeness to nature and their complex understanding of Western flora, fauna and climate. The vanishing Indian and his perishing culture had such profound impact on Catlin that it became his mission to do the ethnography of the plains through his art.

  3. In a paragraph (100-150 words) create a story of which a snapshot episode is represented by the painting

  4. Think about the experience of storying a still picture. Answer the following questions.
    • How does your story extend the time frame of the painting?

    • Which details of the painting have you used as a basis to your story?

    • What previously existing narrative templates (Abbott's term, also Schank and Abelson's story schemata) have you used in your narrative?

  5. Since the painting represents Choctaw Indian lacrosse game, think about the possible rules of the game. Write at least three rules. Reflect on the familiar narrative schemata or templates you've relied on while thinking them out.

  6. Teaching task: With your own teaching context in mind design one age-appropriate activity on Choctaw ball-play for your learners. Make sure you focus on the cultural content.

You may compare your rules with the original: (The website is only for further interest. Do not rewrite your rules even if they have nothing similar; I will not grade whether you have been able to figure out the real rules, rather interested in your narrative understanding and thinking.)

In the case the painting or George Catlin's art have aroused your interest you may find more paintings at:

or a full project for classroom use, engineered by the Smithsonian Museum of American Art at: