Discovering Morals Through Fables

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SWBAT...analyze the characters, setting, problems and solutions to identify the moral lesson in the fable "The Dove and the Ant".

Big Idea

The main characters in fables are animals who learn lessons through the problems that they face.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I start by showing them a video clip of "The Dove and the Ant".  We already read the version in the previous lesson so this is used to "rebuild" their interest.

I tell students that in this version the illustrator drew pictures of what he felt the animals and setting in the fable looked like. As good readers we also build pictures of the events and characters as we read stories.

I ask students to think about how they would have changed the characters or setting if they had illustrated the video? Students are given a signal to turn to a partner and share their visual pictures.

I have students share aloud so that I can begin to get them thinking about the different ways authors can create story images. I now want to move from this to my objective with the lesson today (problem-solution patterns) - so I ask them what was a problem that the characters faced in the story? As students respond I push them to think of more problems by asking "What other problem did the characters face in the fable?

I still want to keep them focusing on author's influence through writing in stories and fables so I give them an inquiry based question and share ...Can authors use their stories to teach lessons through their events and pictures?  

Now I share the objective - Good readers evaluate the story elements to determine what the main problems are. They use these to learn the author's purpose for writing the fable and what the author wants the readers to learn from it. This is called the moral of the fable. 

Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

I now have students read the fable The Dove and Ant in a quiet voice to their partners and to make mental pictures of the characters and events that are occurring in the fable. 

When they are done I have some share aloud who the three main characters in the fable are?

I then ask them to think of character traits or descriptive words they would use to describe their characters if they were making a video of them (shy, helpful ant, caring, unaware dove, cunning, hungry hunter, etc.) - I model add details to their charts 

I now ask them to imagine what the setting their version of this fable would look like - I have them turn and share their versions with a partner (this helps them to create more complete picture details for our chart)   

I ask students to share and ask guiding questions such as "What else can we add?" to help them come up with a tree (dove lives there), a stream (easier to visualize than a brook), a sandy shore (ant slipped), windy day (fast moving water), etc.


Independent Learning

15 minutes

I then ask them to identify by underlining the problem that each of the characters faced in the fable and then to write how each was solved in the margin of their paper.  I pair struggling partners with peers. 

We worked on identifying problems  in the previous lesson, so I don't model this part but I do circulate checking for levels of understanding so that I can gauge each students' comprehension of the text.

If lower levels of understanding are noted then I write = ant - problem - solution, hunter - problem  - solution, and dove - problem -  solution on the board and have students add details after the time is signaled

After students have responded to all three problems and solutions on their charts. I have them write responses to "What characteristics were the most important in this fable? Why? and "What was the moral, or lesson learned by the characters in this fable?

Closing the Loop

5 minutes

In my closure I want students to share out the problems and solutions orally so that they can begin to see the lessons learned from the choices made.  They struggle a bit with the morals because they don't hear them as often as we did years ago. In that I am going to build on this lesson with the next one, I just am looking for them to be able to identify the big lesson/ or big idea that the author wants readers to take away from the fables. 

Students are asked to share the problems and solutions they discovered and I ended up adding these to the chart because I identified a high number of struggling students. 

I ask students if anyone wants to add on - or disagree with a response given as a problem or a solution? Take answers and debate stronger/weaker responses to help them to narrow down the choices to the most prominent ones.

I model how to combine ideas to get to the one big moral of the fable and what characteristics were most important in this fable.

I them reiterate that fables teach morals through the actions of the animals and that often these animals act like we would if people were in the same scenes. (my lead-in to next lesson)