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Fabulous Fables

Subject: English Language Arts, Reading, Writing, Math, and Technology

Grade Level: 3-5

Materials: Computers, chart paper, copies of worksheets, cverhead projector, copies of fables by Arnold Lobel or Aesop

About: Students read and listen to fables in class through shared readings, small groups, and homework. They use the Internet to participate in a WebQuest in order to locate and discuss fables. They apply literal, interpretive, and critical thinking skills in order to extract the main idea or moral from the text. The students use Microsoft office to write their own original fable and import clip art. Some students can make a PowerPoint presentation. The main purpose of this unit is to introduce the genre of fables and activate their critical thinking skills while incorporating character development.

The final project is an original fable written by each student. The fables must include the story elements that are necessary for this genre. After the end of this unit, the students will write a letter to the author to express how they have changed or developed their own character from the author's works.

The value of this project is the WebQuest’s ability to aid in the comprehension of various literary elements. The interactive nature is appealing to the children. The students use the effective traits of writing, which are ideas, content, organization, voice, word choice, sentence fluency, and conventions. The fables are a good way for the students to think about human behavior. The brevity of the fables give the students the opportunity to analyze the text. Also, one of the links displays student-written fables that might inspire or guide the children when they are writing their own.

Prior to this unit of study, the class covered the traits of character. Some examples of good character are courage, loyalty, justice, respect, hope, honesty, love, trust, responsibility, fairness, caring, and cooperation. The children learned about human behavior and how those behaviors influence the traits of the characters in fables. We can identify the trait based on what we know about the character. The Attribute Wheel can be created by the teacher or the students and the list of morals can be cut and pasted onto the wheel. This helps the children who might have special needs and require a visual representation. If the WebQuest page is copied onto the computers that the students are working on, they can access some sites from the document by clicking the right side of the mouse. By using a text that is familiar to the students, at the onset of this unit, it serves as a springboard to the lessons. It is also important to have the students know the multiple meanings of the word character. Such as the difference between a character in the story and the development of their own personal character which is the moral fiber of their persona. Total immersion of reading and listening to Fables, is suggested, for an extended period of time is helpful for the comprehension of this genre. It is also important to have a wide variety of Fables for the students to read in class and for homework. The Readers Theater presentation is an excellent way to jump start the students thinking. Also when reproducing the Fables for the students it is important to conceal the moral of the story until the discussion is finished.


Students will identify and understand the key features, structure and elements of a fable.
Students will list the traits of humans and associate them to an animal.
Students will compare and contrast the morals of fables.
Students will analyze written texts for the plot, theme, and characterization.
Students will gather, classify, and interpret information and interact with the text.
Students will make inferences and draw conclusions by using the text and background knowledge on human behavior to extend meaning.
Students will think critically about the lessons and moral of a fable and develop critical thinking by analyzing and identifying the author's perspective.
Students will decide on a lesson they would like to teach through a fable and apply the structure in written form.
Students will analyze theme, plot and point of view in order to introduce or reinforce the use of figurative language.
Students will write an original fable by using the writing process and applying the works of the authors to themselves. They will think criticaly about how it helped them develop their own personal character or moral fiber.

This web page contains three components of the WebQuest.
Aesop's Fables from University of Massachusettes
Online collection of Aesop's Fables
The Tortoise and the Hare
Here you can read Aesop-inspired fables created by third-graders.
Contains numerous links to additional fables.
This is the International Reading Association's site. The students can write a letter to the author by using this webpage.
This collection of fables for children features clip art and animations of the characters. "The Moral of the Story" link tells about fables and their history. "About Aesop" gives a brief description of the man who is credited with many fables. It includes puzzles that can be printed or done online. NOTE: The site has a flashing banner ad.

Students will read, write, listen, and speak for information and understanding, and identify a conclusion that summarizes the main idea (or moral).
Students will read write listen and speak for literary response and expression, and engage in purposeful oral reading in small and large groups.
Students will read grade-level texts with comprehension and for different purposes, organize and categorize information by using knowledge of a variety of texts, listen to or read text and answer literal inferential and critical application questions, and demonstrate comprehension of text through critical responses.
Students will read unfamiliar texts to collect data, facts, and ideas.
Students will compare and contrast information on one topic from two different sources.
Students will select literature on the basis of personal needs and interests from a variety of different authors.
Students will read print-based on electronic literary texts silently on a daily basis for enjoyment.
Students will work cooperatively with peers to comprehend texts.
Students will read and write for literary responses and expression, use a variety of prewriting tools to organize ideas and information, use ideas from two sources of information, and summarize main idea and supporting details from imaginative texts both orally and in writing.
Students will use computer applications to gather and organize information.
Students will use appropriate graphic and electronic tools and techniques to process information.
Students will locate and use media resources to acquire information.

Day 1: Introduction To Fables.
Students will be introduced to fables as a distinct genre.
Students will listen to the teacher read a fable.
Students will categorize information on an attribute chart.
The story of "The Tortoise and the Hare" or another popular fable.
Copies of Story Element Chart for classwork and homework
A variety of fables that will be used for classwork and homework for each student
Chart paper with the Story Element Chart reproduced from the worksheet
Generate a list from the students on what categories or “genres” of books they are familiar with. After a brief discussion and review of literature genre, note the characteristics of a fable on chart paper (a short narrative that teaches a lesson and often has characters as animals that speak and act like human beings). Tell the students that they are going to listen to a story that is called a fable ("The Tortoise and the Hare"). If you have a big- book version, it can be a Shared Reading or a Read Aloud picture book.
After reading the story, ask the students to identify the events by using the story elements: plot, setting, and characters. List the responses on the chart paper with those categories. This chart will be used for several lessons, by adding pertinent information from other fables that will be shared.
Point out that this story also has a moral or lesson and show that column of the chart. Discuss the story's events while talking about the characters actions. Tell the students that the moral of "The Tortoise and the Hare” is “Slow and steady wins the race”. Add that to the moral column of the list on the chart. Have a discussion about what they noticed that the animals did in the story. Remind them that we can figure out a character’s trait based on what we know about the animal in the fable and by what he said and did.
Students are given a copy of another fable, along with the Story Element Chart and they read in pairs in order to determine the story’s elements. Have the students work in heterogenious pairs in order to finish the worksheet. After they have completed the task, the class shares and discusses the elements of the fable, the way the animals acted, and the moral of the story.
On the board, begin a display of a web with Character Development (moral fiber) in the center. This will be used as a reminder of character traits and how they influence the animals actions. It will also be a good anchor chart for when the students write their own fables and letters to the authors.
The students take a different fable home and think about the moral of the story they read. They also complete another Story Element Chart.
The class assignments, as well as the homework, will be reviewed in class and the teacher will record the title of the fable that the student read as well as the student's ability to understand the moral. This will be an ongoing assessment along with the teacher's conference notes.

Day 2: Learning About Morals Within A Fable
The students will read a story and perform a presentation to the other students.
The students will determine the moral of the story based on the characters actions and the things that they said and did.
The students will think for critical interpretation.
The chart with fable information from the previous lesson
Multiple copies of The Readers Theater story of “The Bad Little Kangaroo” and copies of a different fable for the students
Student copies of Story Elements Chart
Sentence strip with the moral of the fable written on it
Vocabulary: lavatory, doorknobs, behavior, globs
The teacher prepares a shared reading of “The Bad Little Kangaroo” with one copy per student. Choose 5 students and assign the roles of the characters. The students act out the story as the others listen. After the presentation, have a discussion about the elements of this fable. Then assign 5 students per group to read the story together.
As the the students are reading, circulate and listen to the presentations. When the groups are done, call the students to share and discuss the story elements and complete the attribute chart together with the students. The chart contains the title, setting, plot, and moral of the story. Revisit the meaning of the moral of a story. Explain that a moral is a lesson that one of the characters learn in the fable. Students join in a discussion with their partners.
The students collectively determine what the moral of the story might be. List their responses on chart paper. Once all of the students had an opportunity to guess the moral, show them the moral of the story that was written on the sentence strip (The Bad Little Kangaroo): “ A child’s conduct will reflect the ways of his parents.”
Have a discussion about the actions of the characters and the things that the characters did in the story.
Ask the students to state the moral in their own words and compare what they said to the Arnold Lobel’s moral.
Distribute another fable along with the Story Elements Chart and have the students work in homogenious pairs in order to complete the work sheet together. If some students are unable to read the fable, the teacher can take them into a Guided Reading Group and scaffold the lesson.
After they have completed the task, the class will share and discuss the elements of the fable and talk about the way the animals acted.
The information that has been identified and discussed will be written on the chart paper in the proper category.
The students take another fable home and think about the moral of the story. They also complete the Story Element Chart.
The fables that the students have read for homework are added to the list and their morals are recorded on their individual records for assessment.

Day 3: The WebQuest 2-3 Sessions
The students will learn and view the format of a WebQuest.
The students will understand the tasks and assignments.
The students will learn about fables that were written by Aesop.
The students will use media to locate and acquire information.
Computer access
Copies of the WebQuest page reproduced for each student
Copies of the Story Element Chart
Fable planning wheel
Review the chart of fables and attributes that has been generated. Discuss some of the prior fables and how the events of the story helped to determine the moral. Tell the students that they will be going on a search for information that will help them to generate a good plan for writing a fable of their own.
Distribute copies of the WebQuest reproducible and read it together with the class. Demonstrate the various sections and meanings of the components. Read it together as a Shared Reading. After the entire piece has been discussed, the students go on the computer and interact with the the web page. They work with a partner and read the WebQuest page containing the Introduction, The Task and The Process. Give the students a new Story Element Sheet to complete.
Talk about how the students can apply the things that they learned about fables in other lessons to this WebQuest. Distribute their Story Element Charts and have the students recall the things that they have learned about fables and the information on the chart. They will add new information to the chart by doing online research of fables. The students must access the following website: http://hometown.aol.com/emorris300/myhomepage/profile.html
After clicking on the link, the students follow the directions. Allow them time to explore the website and the links. The exploration phase should take several sessions.
The teacher circulates, observes and documents the childrens' abilities to manipulate their online environment. He/she confers with the students and lists the fables that have been completed as well as the students knowledge of the fable and its moral. When each student has at least one fable on their chart, have them share their observations and ideas. Add the information to the class chart and have a brief discussion of similarities and differences.
To close the lessons the students are asked to take their charts home to reflect on. They will add new fable ideas and information from their research and readings.
These procedures should be repeated several times and differentiated in terms of the technological abilities of the students.
When all of the WebQuests components have been completed, the teacher confers with the students and reviews the rubric on the WebQuest page and they will self-score their research. The teacher scores them as well.
Students read the WebQuest page at home in order to gain a better understanding of the introduction, the task, and procedure. Future homework will be differentiated based on the children's need for instruction or enrichment.
The rubric on the WebQuest page is used with the students and scored. The results will go into their portfolios.

Day 4: Writing The Original Fable
The students will use the information that they gathered in order to plan writing a fable of their own.
Students will decide on a lesson they would like to teach through a fable and apply the structure in written form.
Students will write an original fable using the writing process.
Students will revise their fable by making it a number story and inserting numerals in order to solve a problem.
Fable Planning sheets
Fable Attribute wheel
Fable rubric
The students use the planning sheet and their Story Element Charts to study and plan the writing of their own fable. Begin by having the students discuss some of the fables and morals that they have read or that were shared in class. Review the chart of generated information from the prior lessons. The students should envision the fable as they are reviewed. Have the students share their Fable Planning Sheets and compare their characters and morals to the chart. If there are any differences, they should be discussed as well, This exhibits a higher form of originality.
Tell the students that they are going to use their sheets to write their own fable. They must make sure that it has a good beginning with the setting and the characters, a middle where something either good or bad happens, and an end where the characters learn a lesson or moral. The students begin their fables based on the information on their planning sheet. The teacher models the writing using the class chart and personal planning sheet. Demonstrate how you identified the characters and the setting in the beginning. You might create tension in the fable. Show how the characters acted by the clear things that they had done. Model how at the end the moral is located several spaces from the ending of the piece.
After the students have completed the writing they can illustrate it. There should also be differentiation is the manner that it is written. The students should have the opportunity to type it and possibly inserting clip art if they decide to do so.
If some students had difficulty with the Fable Planning Form, they can use the Fable Attribute Wheel to choose a character and a moral from the wheel.
The teacher circulates and views the students' work and choices. This is a good time to confer and assess the students' depth of knowledge and creativity in planning the fable.
Once the students have completed their projects, there can be a celebration of their fables by sharing and discussing.
If some students have a computer at home or have the time in clas,s they can use the following website to electronically write their letters: http://readwritethink.org/materials/letter_generator/
Students revise their fable by making it a number story and iinsert numerals and create a problem to solve.
When conferring, the teacher reviews the evaluation of the project along with the students written pieces on their original fable. The students also use the rubric as a self evaluation. The teacher will also complete a rubric based the students published piece.

Day 5: Writing To The Author About Character Development
Students will write to the author of their favorite fables.
Students will examine their own character development.
Students will support their statements by showing evidence from the text.
Students will understand the format of writing a letter.
Completed Story Element charts for review
"What do you think you learned about yourself?"
Letter to the Author sheet
Loose-leaf paper (rough draft)
Review the fables that have been read in the class and contrast the morals. Demonstrate to the students that in "The Tortoise and the Hare" it seemed to teach me about patience. Say “Sometimes when I am shopping, I keep changing checkout lines in the store. Because I was not patient, it always seemed to take longer then the original line that I was on”. Give evidence in the story where you began to understand the moral as a reader.
Point to the Character Development Web from the first lesson to show how patience is a personal character trait.
Choose several students to share the original fable that they wrote. Ask them if they wrote about something that they thought someone needed to learn, based on their own ideas of what a person should be like.
Refer to the Character Development Web.If the student’s response is there review it, and if it is not, add it to the chart.
Instruct the students to discuss their Story Elements charts and original fables in partnerships. Distribute the “How do you think that you changed as a person by reading the fables?” sheet. Students work in pairs to reflect and write their thinking.
The teacher should confer with the groups and chart the responses for the assessment on the unit of study. When the students have completed the task, share the information that the students discovered and compare it to the Character Development Chart again.
Tell the students that you will show them how to write a friendly letter. It must have a salutation, body, and closing. Model the way to write a letter. Think out loud how you would write a letter to Aesop about his fable of the Tortoise and the Hare. You want to tell him how you think his story made you a better person, (for example, being more patient). You might write how the events of the story made you stop and think about the moral. Show them how you are thankful for the fable.
Quickly review the processes of drafting, writing, revising, and editing. Remind the students that they are to use this when writing their letters. Tell them they will be making a rough draft or pre-writing their letter.
Distribute loose-leaf paper and have the students work independently in brainstorming their ideas. Circulate, evaluate, confer, and document the children’s thinking. When it seems that the students are finished, bring them back for a share and have a discussion.
Tell the students that the letter will be completed during the next session and that for homework they will be revising their writing. The following day, the students, after you review the piece, can publish the letter to the author of their choice. When all of the letters are complete, can confer with the students and discuss.
Distribute the student’s looseleaf papers with the rough drafts and have them revise and edit their pieces. Students will change their Fables to include math word problems. The students will include number words into their fable.
Assessment is based on their understanding of the writing process and the evidence that they give to support their feelings or ideas.

Eva B. Morris


P.S. 164
4211 14th Ave
Brooklyn,, NY 11219

P.S.164 in Boro Park, Brooklyn has been my home for ten years. As I watch the children move through the grades and eventually graduate, I can see myself growing, as well, in the field of teaching. I enjoy learning new things and applying them in my instruction. With an extensive background in Special Education, I feel that I can help my students expand their minds and “learn to love to learn.” If that can be accomplished, then I know that I have helped the children become lifelong learners.

Important documents for this lesson plan.

Fable Planning Form1.doc
The Bad Little Kangaroo.pdf
Fabulous Fables Webquest Sheet.doc
Fable Rubric.doc


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