Interrelationships of People, Places & Environments Through Storytelling

Knots on a Counting Rope by Bill Martin Jr. and John Archambault


Oceti Sakowin Essential Understandings:

  • OESU 1, Indicator 2 for K-2:  Students are able to identify the interrelationships of people, places and the environment.
  • OSEU 2, Indicator 1 for K-2:  Students will be able to explain the values learned through stories.

Common Core State Standards:

  • RLK.3, RL1.3, RL2.3:  Characters, setting and major events in a story
  • RLK.6, RL1.6, RL2.6:  Point of view in telling stories
  • Multiple Writing Standards if a project is chosen


  • Begin by talking about stories.  What are stories that you know by heart?  Do you know stories about how and where you were born?  How do you know these stories?  Who told them to you?
  • Share that we are going to read a story about a specific story of a little boy.


  • Read the story, Knots on a Counting Rope, together discussing as you go through the story.  You could also watch the story being told by using this link:  (Please note also the additional activities that go with the story there.)
  • Discuss the story talking about why it was so important for Boy and Grandfather to tell this story over and over.
  • Discuss the Counting Rope.  If you were to have a counting rope, what story would you tell for each knot that is tied?

Possible Follow-Up Activities:

  • Have students find out their own story of when they were born and how they were named.
  • Create posters that share each of the students’ stories.  (They could include photos, or other kinds of artifacts from home that families might want to share.)
  • Have students share those stories using their posters in with their classmates.
  • Give students a piece of rope to tie a knot for each time they tell their stories.
  • Display the posters and counting ropes for others in the school to see.