Our Fables Lesson Plan introduces the three key elements of fables, which are stories that use animal characteristics and are designed specifically to teach a lesson. Students engage their analytical and critical thinking skills as they hear and read fables, determine the moral for each, and explain the details that support their concluded moral for the fable.
Sample Classroom Procedure / Teacher Instruction
- Place pictures of ants, grasshoppers, lions, foxes, cats, and mice on the board. Free, suitable public domain images of all these animals can be found by searching here: https://www.publicdomainpictures.net/
- Call students to the front of the room and assign groups of 2-4 students to discuss what they know about each of the animals, what they associate with each of the animals, and what they can learn from those animals. Give them the example, “When you see owls, you think of wisdom and intelligence. When you see a dog, you might think friendly and loyal.”
- Have students share the results of their discussions. They may have mentioned that lions are considered king of the jungle and are thought of as powerful, foxes are clever, cats are sneaky or cuddly, etc. Answers will vary and that’s fine. Explain to students that for years authors have been inspired by certain qualities that animals possess and they began using animals as characters in their stories. The stories specifically try to teach lessons, using animal characters. These special stories are called “fables.” Write the definition of fable on the anchor chart you will create with students. “A fable is a short story that uses animals as characters. Each story teaches a valuable lesson or moral to the readers.”
- Read the story of The Ants and the Grasshopper aloud while also using the smart board to show the text. If you do not have a smart board, print out copies of the text for students. It’s short, so you can probably place about three copies per page and cut to distribute. https://www.gutenberg.org/files/19994/19994-h/19994-h. htm#Page_34
- After reading the story aloud, ask the students the following questions: Who were the main characters? What lesson did the author want the readers to learn? As students volunteer to answer, they should point out that the main characters were animals. They should identify that the author wanted readers to learn that hard work pays off, while laziness can ultimately hurt you.
- Read aloud another selection from https://www. gutenberg.org/files/19994/19994-h/19994-h.htm and after reading have students identify the main character and the moral/lesson.
Common Core State Standards: CCSS: ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.9, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.2, CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.RL.4.3
Class Sessions (45 minutes): 3
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