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Purpose:

Students will be exposed to positive children's literature to be able to recognize and


critique appropriate picture books.
Duration:

Five Forty-Five Minute Class Periods


Objectives:

The learners will:


define the words fable and moral.
recognize the moral of a childrens story and interpret the authors message.
determine the moral/positive messages in Aesops Fables.
compare the story line of childrens literature to real life situations.
identify the elements of a traditional fable.
compare a modern childrens story to a fable.
Materials:

A read-aloud copy of Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Suess


Student copies of the handouts (Handout four is used by the teacher to create
handout five.)
A selection of pictures books if a trip to the library is not possible
Field trip permission slips if students are traveling to the local library
A read-aloud copy of Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli
Handout 1
The Moral of the Story Recording Sheet
Handout 2

Little Gestures, Big Payoffs


Handout 3
Scoring Guide for Childrens Literature
Handout 4
Suggested Fables
Handout 5
Story Cards
Handout 6
Stories Worth Sharing
Teacher Preparation:

Using the fable titles and link on Handout Four: Suggested Fables, select eight
fables for your students to read. Copy and paste the text from those eight fables
into the story cards on Handout Five. Duplicate the story cards for students to read
the eight brief fables.
Instructional Procedure(s):

Anticipatory Set:
Journal Entry: Write the word moral on the board.
What does the moral of the story mean?
Write a definition for the word.
What are other forms of the word? (morale, morality, moralize, moralist, immoral)
Day One:
Go over students answers together. Write a good definition of moral on the board
and instruct students to rewrite their original definition, if needed. Have students
brainstorm synonyms for the word moral (upright, honest, virtuous, and honorable).
Brainstorm a list of principles people should live by. (Instruct students to create a
list in their journals as you record their answers on the board.) Ask them if they
should include acting philanthropically. Define the term philanthropy as the giving
of ones time, talent or treasure for the sake of another- or for the common good.

Another definition is voluntary action for the public good. Have the learners give
you suggestions for what it means to act philanthropically. Ask students if all
cultural groups live by the same morals.

Distribute The Moral of the Story Recording Sheet (Attachment One) and ask the
students to complete questions one and two. As a whole group, report out. Answers
may be similar to: 1) the teaching or practical lesson contained in a story; 2)
generally accepted customs of conduct and right living in a society.

Present the story Horton Hatches the Egg by Dr. Seuss. Using The Moral of the Story
Recording Sheet (Attachment One), have students complete question three with the
graphic of the baby using the following instructions:

Use one color (red pen, blue pen, etc.) to record Hortons morals or virtues on any
features that came from Horton.

Use a different color (red pen, blue pen, etc.) to record the birds principles on any
features that came from the bird.

Have students respond to question four on Attachment One by describing Hortons


opportunity costs (what he gave up in order to keep his promise) and benefits for
Horton during the story.

Instruct students to complete the remaining questions and take their recording
sheets home and share them with their parents/guardians. Each should have their
parent/guardian sign the bottom of the handout.

Tell students they will be starting a unit on childrens literature. Distribute a copy of
the Scoring Guide for Childrens Literature (Attachment Three) to each student and
go over each of the assignments together. Be sure to clear up any questions or
areas of concern before going on. Instruct students to take the Unit Guidelines home
and share them with a parent. Parents are required to sign the bottom, stating they
have seen and understood the unit.

Day Two:
Journal Entry:
Define the word fable. (a short story which teaches a lesson)
What is the purpose of a fable? (to teach and entertain)

Present the story Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch by Eileen Spinelli. Distribute a
copy of Little Gestures, Big Payoffs (Attachment Two). Allow students time to
complete the sheet and have students share their answers. Take a few minutes to
talk about the way the story is put on the paper, the story line as well as the
illustrations. Ask students to talk about the message of the story and the power of
the good deed. Ask students if this is an appropriate message for children and have
them explain their opinions.

Day Three:
Fable Challenge. Game Preparation: Divide students into groups of three to five.
Give each group a copy of Story Cards (Attachment Five), which should now have
the Aesops Fables of your choice pasted into the table. Instruct students to become
familiar with the fables that are listed on the handout. Instruct each group to choose
one fable to present. They are to come up with the lesson or moral the fable is
teaching and then create an improvised scene depicting that particular lesson.
(Example: In The Grasshopper and the Ant the lesson is to be responsible.
Students may create a scene that depicts one student working on homework while
another watches television or talks on the phone.) Explain to students that each
presentation needs to include a beginning, a middle and an ending. Have them say
curtain once the presentation is over.
Teachers Note: This may seem unimportant, but many students will not know when
to end the presentation.

Game: Assign each group a number, starting with group one, and have them
present their role plays to the class. Tell them no one is allowed to make any
guesses while the group is performing. When the performers say curtain, groups
may be allowed to guess which fable is being presented. The group that guesses
correctly gets one point. If they are able to guess what lesson the fable is teaching
and explain why, they earn an additional two points. If they are unable to come up
with the lesson, the other groups are given a chance to answer for two points. The
performing team will earn three points if a group is able to guess their fable.

(Teachers Note: It may be easier for classroom control if you start by having group
two respond first and then go to three, etc., rather than allowing random calling out
by the groups.) When a group is able to correctly identify the matching fable ask
them to tell what was done that helped them come up with their answer.

Homework: Instruct students to write the following reflection:

Describe the process you went through to come up with a scene for your
improvisation. Questions to consider: How did you come up with an idea for your
presentation? Did one partner facilitate, or direct, the group? What steps did your
group go through to come up with an idea?

What are the similarities and differences between Horton Hatches the Egg and the
fables?

Day Four:
Go over procedures for proper conduct at the library. Take students to the school (or
local) library. Instruct students to check out two picture books, at kindergarten or
first grade level, with messages or morals. Teacher Note: If you are unable to visit
the library, bring in a large selection of picture books to be used for Lessons Two
and Three. After students have visited the library, distribute a copy of Stories Worth
Sharing (Attachment Six) to each student. Instruct students to read their two
selections and complete the sheet according to directions. Inform them that that
they will be required to share this information in the next class.
Assessment:

The Moral of the Story Recording Sheet

Little Gestures, Big Payoffs worksheet

The homework reflection piece

Stories Worth Sharing

Group presentation
School/Home Connection:

Interactive Parent / Student Homework:


Students will take the Scoring Guide for Childrens Literature (Attachment Three)
home and share it with an adult. It contains all the requirements for this unit.
Cross-Curriculum Extensions:

After the fable game, the students may stay in their groups and write their own
fable.
Bibliographical References:

Geisel, Theodor Seuss. Horton Hatches the Egg, by Dr. Seuss {pseud.}. Random
House: New York, 1968.
Aesops Fables Website http://aesopfables.com/
Spinelli, Eileen. Somebody Loves You, Mr. Hatch. New York: First Aladdin Paperbacks,
1996.

LESSON CONTENT

Lesson Plan Template: General Lesson Plan

Formative Assessment

Prior Knowledge: To assess prior knowledge about retelling a story and determining the
lesson learned, the teacher will choose a familiar fairytale/folk tale (such as The Three
Little Pigs, The Little Red Hen, Cinderella, etc.) to review with students. The students will
retell what happened in the story (in sequence) and recall the lesson learned.

During the lesson: Students will be able to retell the fable using a sequencing chart,
retelling the beginning, middle, and end of the story. This will ensure that the students
can recall the important events from the fable before determining the moral of the
fable. (See the Story Book sequencing chart.)
Feedback to Students

Students will be receiving feedback throughout the lesson while the teacher is
circulating.
The teacher should be probing and using guiding questions while circulating to check for
full understanding of the concept. Some questions to ask are:
o

What events in the fable helped you understand the moral of the story?

What are the actions of the characters that help you understand them?

Why do you think the characters acted the way they did?

How does the author let the reader know __________________?


Summative Assessment

Students will take a quiz at the end of the lesson to determine if they have mastered the
content. In this quiz, students will read a short fable and write an opinion paragraph,
stating the moral to the story and providing at least two reasons from the text to
support their opinion. Students will be shown the attached Opinion Essay Rubric that
outlines the expectations for their writing prior to the quiz.
Learning Objectives: What should students know and be able to do as a result of this

lesson?

Students will be able to:


o

analyze a fable by asking and answering questions about the fable.

determine the moral of a fable.

recount a fable, including key details in sequence.

to write an opinion paragraph stating the moral of the story and


supporting their opinion with evidence from the text. They will use gradeappropriate organization, grammar, and conventions in their written piece.
Guiding Questions: What are the guiding questions for this lesson?

What is a fable?

Why is it important to be able to recount a story's details in sequential


order?

How does the reader determine the moral of a fable?

What key evidence does the author give to help the reader determine the
story's moral, or lesson?

Does the moral make sense based on the events in the story? How does
the reader know?
Prior Knowledge: What prior knowledge should students have for this lesson?

Students should:
o

be able to identify the elements of a story(characters, setting, major


events) and have a basic understanding of the organizational structure of
problem/solution.

have experience with retelling a story including key details.

be able to ask and answer questions about text.

be able to write a complete sentence with age-appropriate grammar and


conventions.

be able to write an opinion paragraph with age-appropriate organization,

grammar, and conventions.


Teaching Phase: How will the teacher present the concept or skill to students?

Prior Knowledge Activity (Optional - see Formative Assessment Section)


Day 1
1. Gather students on the carpet.
2. The teacher begins, "Today we are going to start learning about fables. Before we
begin, I would like us to take a look at a chart that shows us what writer's need to
include in their stories if they want their story to be a fable." (Show students attached
Anchor Chart: Characteristics of a Fable) The teacher will review the chart with the
students.
3.Tell the students that you are going to listen to a fable titled The Ant and the
Grasshopper by Amy Poole (670L; or another Aesop fable). Instruct students to think
about the characteristics of a fable and see how many of the items off the Anchor Chart
apply to the fable as it is being read. They are to think about what the moral of the story
is (what the characters learn).
4. Read the story aloud; the teacher can do this as a read aloud or project the book on
the document camera so all students have access to the text. Stop along the way and
ask questions, such as:
o

What kind of animal is the author using in the story?

How many characters have been introduced?

Why are the ants working so hard?

What is important to the grasshopper? How does the reader know this?

Why do the ants ignore the grasshopper and keep working?

Which character seems to appear to have some negative traits? How does
the reader know?

How does the author entertain the reader with the story?

Allow students to voice any questions at the end of the fable and discuss possible
answers.
5. Once the teacher has finished reading and discussing the fable, ask: "Why is it
important to be able to recount a story's details in sequential order?" Discuss. Use a
graphic organizer to organize the beginning, middle, and end of the story (See link in
Special Materials Needed Section of the lesson plan). Have students assist in recounting
the important events in the fable and complete the graphic organizer together as a
class. Discuss which events were part of the problem and which events were part of the
solution (you can label them on the graphic organizer with a "P" and "S"). Tell the
students that understanding the problem and solution in the fable can help the reader
identify the moral of the story.
6. The teacher will continue by asking, "How do I determine the moral of a fable?" What
does the grasshopper learn? What is the moral of this story? Create a new anchor chart
like the attached: Morals of Fables and list the moral of The Ant and the
Grasshopper. Ask, "What key evidence does the author give to help the reader
determine the story's moral, or lesson?" Review the text and locate text evidence that
supports the identified moral of the story. Ask, "Does the moral make sense? How do
you know?" Discuss. Explain to the students that as the class reads more fables the
morals of those fables will be added to this chart.
Guided Practice: What activities or exercises will the students complete with teacher

guidance?

Day 2
1. Review what a fable is with the class using the anchor chart from the previous day.
(Anchor Chart: Characteristics of a Fable)
2. Divide students into groups of four. Give each group of students a different Aesop
fable to read (see attached Aesop Fables_Adaptations or use leveled book versions).
Provide students with the Directions for Fables Group Work handout and a sequencing
chart (located in Special Materials Needed section of the lesson plan). Go over the
expectations in the handout. Circulate as students complete the assignment and
provide feedback (see feedback section).

3. Have each group recount their fable to the class and discuss the moral of the story.
Have the students use the document camera to show where they found the text
evidence. Discuss proposed moral as a class, making adjustments as needed. Once
moral is agreed upon, add to the anchor chart, Morals of Fables (see attached).
Day 3
Using the fable from day one, model how to write an opinion response for the students.
Explain to students that they will be writing an opinion paragraph about a fable they will
be reading in the next few days. In order to understand how to write an opinion
paragraph, they will need to watch as the teacher models writing such a paragraph
using the story The Ant and The Grasshopper.
These sentence frames are simply an example. If the students have had previous
instruction in opinion writing, they will not need to use the frames. There are more
frames included here than may be needed.
o

Topic sentence (this should restate the moral of the story)

I think the author shows this moral when he writes


____________________________.

Another point the author makes about the moral is when


_____________________________. (what occurs)

The actions of the character ________________ also show the moral when he
___________________.

Finally, when _________________ occurs the author also shows the reader
_________________________. (moral)

That is the evidence found in the fable _____________________ that shows


_______________________. (when)

Those are the ideas in the story that show _________________________.


(moral)

My conclusion based on the evidence in the story is that the moral is


______________________________.

I think I have shown that _____________________________.

Independent Practice: What activities or exercises will students complete to reinforce

the concepts and skills developed in the lesson?

Students will take a quiz at the end of the lesson to determine if they have mastered the
content. In this quiz, students will read a short fable and write an opinion paragraph,
stating the moral to the story and providing at least two reasons from the text to
support their opinion.
Students will be assessed using the attached Opinion Essay Rubric.
Closure: How will the teacher assist students in organizing the knowledge gained in

the lesson?

Review the guiding questions and discuss. Students will share their opinion piece with
other students using an Inside-Outside Circle strategy.
Inside-Outside Circle - The teacher will divide students into two equal groups. Half of the
students stand up and form a circle with their backs to the inside of the circle. They are
partner 1. The other half of the students form a circle facing a partner from the first
circle. These students are partner 2. Partner 1 will speak first and read their opinion
paragraph. Then partner 2 will read their opinion paragraph. Next, have students who
are partner 1 raise their left hands and then move two people to the left to meet with a
new partner. Repeat the readings with partner 2 reading first.

ACCOMMODATIONS & RECOMMENDATIONS

Accommodations:
o

Provide lower-level text (fables at an easier readability).

Provide common moral statements for students to choose from for the
analysis and writing activities.

Provide writing frames for students to use on an as needed basis.


Extensions:
o

Students can write a fable of their own and have other students find the
moral of the story.

Students can analyze other types of text that have been passed down for
generations, such as fairy tales and myths, to determine the central message.

Suggested Technology: Document Camera, Computer for Presenter, Microsoft Office

Special Materials Needed:


o

The Ant and the Grasshopper by Amy Poole (670L)

Chart paper/markers for anchor chart

Sequencing chart (see related resource or go to the student center


activities at www.fcrr.org for samples)

Student copies of sequencing chart, directions for fables group work, and
fables quiz

Writing rubric

Selection of Aesop's fables for students

Further Recommendations:
This lesson is intended to help students understand what a fable, moral, and text
evidence is. This lesson can be adapted to folktales or other types of literature.