Using Storytelling to Analyze Early American Heroes

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SWBAT analyze how particular lines or incidents in a tall tale propels the action and decisions of folk heroes.

Big Idea

Hey! Can I sit on your lap & listen to a tale?

Warm-Up: Quick Response

7 minutes

How is a hyperbole used in a tall tale? How can these exaggerations heighten the abilities of the characters in these stories? Tall tales are exaggerated, unrealistic stories. The characteristics examined in these stories include compelling action of characters having a conflict, super-human abilities, an obstacle to overcome.

To hook students into another lesson on exaggerated word choices, students are asked to list folk heroes they can recall from their childhood. Some examples of legendary people can include these heroes Unfortunately, students couldn't recall any tall tale characters from their past. However, this lesson will begin to introduce them to people and why they are so important to the settings of these stories.

Guided Practice: Notes on Legends

10 minutes

Tall tales are true elements of American Folk Literature. The origins of these stories contain tales of the roughest men of the American frontier and how they gathered on the Old West. Lengendary figures such as Pecos Bill and Paul Bunyan owe much to the style of these tales.

Since tall tales are not studied much in literature, I guide students through the Tall Tales notes written in their notebooks. From our conversation, students will begin to see how these characters impact the plot and setting of stories they are involved in. 

Independent Practice: Understanding Character Traits of Legend Heroes

30 minutes

The remaining time in class will allow students to read a series of tall tales to understand the impact that the elements have on the comprehension of each story. The following stories read by students include

Brer Possuem's Dilemna

John Henry

Davy Crockett

Paul Bunyan

Pecos Bill

I use the audios to help speed the pace of questioning I ask students before, during, or after the reading of each tale.As we listen to each story, students record a chart of qualities that makes each character a folk hero. 

Extension Activity : Assessment

Students will complete a Tic Tac Toe Project using reading and writing to further develop thier understanding of various tall tales read in class. I utlized the use of a tic tac toe board so students had options on how thier written expressions could look for the project. This activity serves as a great way to differentiate learning products as well as processes students use to complete their understanding of each tall tale.