I think this project is pretty popular. I see it pop up on Pinterest all the time. My students and I certainly like it. This is the second year I have had my students do their final project using cut paper. It really works 100% better than paint.
The emphasis of this project is the concept of stylization. The artwork of the Native American tribes of the Pacific Northwest is very unique. I have found several good resources about specific shapes used in making totem poles that have been very helpful to my students. I tell my students to fill up 95-100% of the paper. I tell them to pretend like their paper is a little glass box that they have to push the animal into. It is a struggle to some students at first, but the concept eventually clicks.
If you are new to my blog, you're in for a treat. I post all of the lesson plans I write. For free! Feel free to use them in your classroom. Check out the lesson plan for this project here.