"Person"ality Traits in the Fables

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SWBAT...identify characters, setting, problem, solution and moral in the fable "The Lion and The Mouse" and then relate these to human qualities.

Big Idea

Fables teach morals through the actions of the animals who act and think as people do.

Creating the Purpose

5 minutes

I ask students What do you know about lions and mice? Take responses - (I'm looking for that a lion will eat a mouse) - If not prompt? Do they get along? Why?

I then ask - Who is the more powerful of these animals? I love to ask Are you sure? to get them wondering about our lesson   

I tell students that today we are going to read another fable written by Aesop titled "The Lion and the Mouse". 

I share that we will complete charts similar to the ones we created in the previous lesson to learn the moral, or author's message for this fable. I'm using this lesson to reteach and improve their identification of the morals in fables because their understanding was lower in the prior lesson. I want to continue to reinforce their ability to sequence events and make connections to understand how choices made effected the outcome. I want them at the point where they can say ...because they chose to do this...this was the effect...and this lesson was learned.  

Now I share the objective - Fables have animals that teach us lessons by the way that they act. The actions of these animals is similar to what people would do - this is called personification. A non human thing or animal acting like a person. We will read the fable and determine the ways Aesop uses personification to teach a moral lesson.

Guiding the Learning

15 minutes

I start by having students pass out the Lion and the Mouse fable as I project a copy on the board. I read the fable as students follow along to ensure they get a first idea of the who, what and why. 

I ask them what are the three main characters in this fable? I then ask them to think of character traits or descriptive words they would use to describe their characters and to reference their prior charts for "The Dove and the Ant" if they need assistance. Students should come up with character traits like (powerful, fun-loving lion, weak, determined mouse, strong, unaware hunters, etc.) - 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 (lion is tied to it), a forest (where lions live/ hunters), a castle in the distance (king lives there), clear day (mouse could see lion), 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 students.

In that we did this in the two previous lessons I don't model this part but I do circulate checking for levels of understanding so that I can gauge where each students comprehension is at. 

If lower levels of understanding are noted then I write = mouse - problem - solution, lion - problem  - solution, and hunters - 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 the story questions:

What was the moral, or lesson learned by the characters in this fable? How was this lesson learned, How do the characters in this fable act like people (personification)? What type of person does the “lion” represent?What type of person does the “mouse” represent? Who is the stronger character at the end of the story? Why?

I projected a copy of common morals on the board for reference if needed.


Closing the Loop

5 minutes

I signal for lesson closure and have them come together.

Students are asked to share the problems and solutions they discovered and I add these to the chart if I identified a high number of struggling students.  If not we just share aloud.

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

We then share the moral of the fable and we share the personalities the characters resemble in humans.   

Then I go back to my first question - Who was stronger, the lion or the mouse? 

Debates are great in this section because they help students to make the connection that the smaller animal used determination and heart and did not give in to fears - while the stronger relied more on strength which almost ended up being his doom. (definite lead in for trickster tales!)  

I tell them that fables teach morals through the actions of the animals who act and think as people do.