Fabricating Fables

In reading class, we're currently in our first genre study of the year - fables and folktales! The kids are LOVING it - throw together a damsel in distress, talking animals, a puff of fairy dust, unique dialect, and a moral that ties everything together at the end...what's not to love? :)

Here's a pictorial glimpse of our mini-unit:

We started off by reading four of Aesop's Fables, "The Birds, the Beasts, and the Bat," "The Sick Stag," "The Maid and Her Milk Pail," and "The Rose and the Clay".

Then we discussed characteristics of the story that we read and decided four many things:
1. It was a short story (there were few extra "fluff" details)
2. It was imaginary (a work of fiction)
3. It had talking animal characters
4. It shared a moral at the end

We filled out this "Focus on Genre" sheet on Fables.
I found it from Laura Candler's website and can be accessed for free here.

We're going to be filling out these "Focus on Genre" sheets for each genre we study. This is the first page in our "genre" tab.

The next day we read an "Uncle Remus" story, "Mr. Wolf Makes a Failure" and discussed characteristics of folktales. We then compared folktales with fables and filled out a Venn-Diagram - or a "Venn Traffic-Jam" as a first grader once said :) 

 We read three moral fables (by Leo Tolstoy) as well as a chapter from the book Pinocchio and continued to point out the recurring elements and characteristics of fables. I gave a Fables quiz, which can be downloaded for free.

Then we read a fable that I wrote, "The Three Large Elephants," a spin-off of The Three Little Pigs. 

I challenged the students to write their own fables. We began by brainstorming ideas on a story map sheet: 

 Then they composed their first drafts based on the information from the Story Map. They revised it using a color-coded key to make sure they had every necessary element.

Then they proof-read for spelling, punctuation, and grammar errors. They switched with a partner and edited a classmate's paper. 

Then, to add some color, pizazz, and to excite the artistic students in my class while developing visualizing skills in all readers, the students created "Comic Strips" based on the beginning, middle, and end of their fables.

The final product looked like this:

Now, to wrap-up our unit, we're performing Fable Readers Theaters! I have two classes, so each one has been practicing their play and will perform it for the other next week. The students have worked diligently to practice their lines, learn their blocking, design the set posters, and create the props. 

The scripts we're using are by a man named Aaron Shepherd and are from his website http://www.aaronshep.com/rt/index.html

You can click on the links to download the scripts for free:
1. The Legend of Lightning Larry: A cowboy with a huge smile, a gun that shoots bolts of light, and a hankering for lemonade takes on Evil-Eye McNeevil’s outlaw gang.

2. More than a Match: When the king’s most powerful warriors are defeated by a giant who’s blocking the road, the Wise One must find a way past.

Well there you have it - thanks for persevering all the way to the end! :)

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