Using Opinions to Justify Morals in Aesop's Fables

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SWBAT determine the central idea of a text and analyze its relationship to the characters and moral of a fable.

Big Idea

Guess what I learned? Fables have THEMES too!

Lesson Introduction

Looking at fables is another great way to take a simple story and learn the processes of how to discover the central idea or theme in a fictional work. Aesop Fables are very popular and highly studied in many classroom across the country. With support from this text, students can easily recall some classic stories of Aesop while using characterization and motives to determine big ideas of a fictional piece of literature.

Warm-Up: Brainstorming Ideas from a Picture

10 minutes

A picture from the fable warm-up power point is posted on the board. Students are asked to look at all corners of the picture and list what elements of fables are seen in the photo. Instead of writing their brainstorming list on paper, students are called on to respond to the image. What came from the responses included

animal characters, personified (talking animals), close relationship of animals, and animals in different habitats.

I was really surprised that two students picked up on the closeness of the animals and use of different habitats. I wish that other students would have looked inside the picture to discover these hidden treasures about Aesop's Fables. However, the remaining activities of this lesson will require the identification of elements to understand the big lesson learned by each main character in a fable.

Guided Practice: See Video Clip

7 minutes

Whether students know anything about Aesop, they will watch an animated clip of the Hare and the Tortoise to understand more of the elements determined in the warm-up activity. Because the moral of this story is applicable to kids livelihood, it won't hurt using a little make-believe to teach a valuable lesson about life. 

Independent Practice: Establishing Meaning from the Analysis of a Fable

30 minutes

Now that students understand what the elements of fables look and sound like, it is time to complete the remaining activities for today. Students are asked to read different fables while relying on the cues of the how to analyze fables bookmark to better understand the major parts of each fictional story. The ideas on the bookmark can be changed based on the learning objectives, targets, and/or needs of students in your classroom. Students will work in groups to read each Aesop Fable, determine its elements, and find the element that influenced the moral of each piece. 

You can see a student notebook page of fables to uncover what was discussed in each group during the analysis process. We will end class with groups presenting information about their fable. Since all groups will not get the chance to analyze each fable, view a student teaching video to understand the need of sharing this information with the entire class.