Monday, September 09, 2013

Monday Mentor- I am AESOP-lutely FABLE-ous

I love finding new lessons that just make teaching that much more fun. My grade chair fearless leader, Jennifer, showed us all this super cute lesson on teaching fables to our fourth graders. This fits perfectly with our study on THEME and author's purpose.

We started out the week reading tons of fables, such as the Lion and the Mouse, the Tortoise and the Hare, the Fox and the Crane. We also discussed each lesson the author wanted us to learn. The themes of the short tales were easy to pick out. I went a little deeper and asked them why they thought Aesop would have picked this particular animal to represent in this fable.

The most compelling moment of the lesson came as I explained that Aesop was a Greek slave who's master taught him to read. One of my boys raised his hand to answer my question about why Aesop chose a lion to explain this lesson. He was thinking that the lion could actually stand for Aesop's master and that Aesop was in fact the mouse. Aesop could have done something big to help his master out and that's where he got the idea for the story.

GASP!  What insight! I had to hold my breath for a bit, but thanked him and told him that is probably the most intriguing idea behind the Lion and the Mouse ever told. He smiled and we went on.

After reading tons of fables, we were ready for the next step. I posted three posters around the room that included the title of the fable and its moral.

You can get all six posters Here. I cannot take credit for this file. The images are from Microsoft Clipart and the idea was borrowed. The frame is mine, though!

The children were to walk around and sit near a fable that they have a connection to. They were to write the title, moral and their connection on paper. At the end of about ten minutes they turned and told an Elbow Friend about their connection. This way they could see how many different versions of the same tale could be told. I then explained that through the years, the tales have been retold with different characters.

Here's information from Wikipedia I shared about the Wolf and the Lamb:

The fable also has Eastern analogues. One of these is the Buddhist Dipi Jataka in which the protagonists are a panther and a goat. The goat has strayed into the presence of a panther and tries to avert its fate by greeting the predator politely. It is accused of treading on his tail and then of scaring off his prey, for which crime it is made to substitute.[7] A similar story involving birds is found among Bidpai's Persian fables as "The Partridge and the Hawk".[8] The unjust accusation there is that the partridge is taking up all the shade, leaving the hawk out in the hot sun. When the partridge points out that it is midnight, it is killed by the hawk for contradicting.

We did it again the next day with three more fables. Sometimes it was hard for students to make connections to fables, so I had to get broader in my description. I suggested things like "have you ever had a friend who wanted something of yours" or "you procrastinated on a chore or assignment?"

 Since it was now Friday, I told them that next week we would be creating our own fables. Over the weekend they were to think about a lesson they have learned in the past and what character animals they could use based on their traits to teach this lesson.

I will give out this recording sheet for them to organize their ideas.

And then this writing paper for them to write down their very own fables.

You can get this file from Here. Just remember this is in no way my design, I'm simply sharing a resource!

Next week we are going to delve into Greek Myths (part of our curriculum) and tie them into the concepts of fables. Should be much easier to get this across to them having set up the FABLE-ous groundwork. 
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