Life Shields

K, 1, 2

Children look at Comanche art and identify the meaning of symbols. The children create art representing important ideas in their self awareness and social awareness.

PrintOne 45-Minute Session
  • identify and represent with art meaningful things in their lives and in the community
  • art paper or paper bags cut in 10-inch circles
  • String
  • Markers
  • Feathers

De Paola, Tomie. The Legend of the Bluebonnet. New York: Scholastic, Inc., 1983.


  1. Anticipatory Set:

    Observe and discuss the symbols on the shields in the drawings in The Legend of the Bluebonnet by Tomie de Paola. Ask, "What do you think those symbols mean to the people and the story?"

  2. Together, look up Comanche art on the Internet, especially shields. Discuss what symbols are used and why. Note that these symbols tell us about the people and the community. 

    Tell the children they are each going to make shields that show traits of our personal identities and of our community. Give the following prompts:

    1. Each person has a personal identity, what we look like, our family, our beliefs, and our interests and talents. Think about what you are like and what is important to you.
    2. Each of us also is part of a community, and we get gifts from our community, like friendship, fun, and peace. Think about what you like most about being in a group, or community.

    The children each sketch some symbols that tell who they are and what is important to them. They also sketch some symbols that tell what they like about their community.

  3. Using the drawings of the shields as a model, each child makes a life shield that symbolizes who they are and what is important to them. The shield illustrates self awareness and community awareness. 

  4. Staple a string to the back of the shield to use as a hanger. Then staple feathers so they hang down off the sides. 

    The life shields can be displayed together with a header, "Our gifts to the community."

Philanthropy Framework

  1. Strand PHIL.III Philanthropy and the Individual
    1. Standard PI 01. Reasons for Individual Philanthropy
      1. Benchmark E.1 Describe one reason why a person might give or volunteer.