Problem, Solution, and Central Message in Hansel and Gretel

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SWBAT identify the problem, solution, and central message in a folktale.

Big Idea

Students will get exposure to a folktale by determining the problem, solution, and central message.


10 minutes

Common Core Connection and Introduction

In this lesson I use two fables from the internet so I can get a copy of each story for each child. Fro the guided practice we use Hansel and Gretel and for partner work students use A Gift from St.Nicholas. Students need the text to reference and use to make their notes.  The lesson involves guided practice where we write notes on the left side of a piece of paper after we read the text.  Then after discussion students come up with a message or moral.  Last we meet in the lounge to reflect and close.


Students need to connect their previous learning to current learning. So, I ask the students to discuss the message in the previous texts.  I remind the class to think about Stone Soup just to remind them of a previous story we have read that had a clear message.  I reflect on Stone Soup to scaffold the instruction a little and am trying to help students reflect on the central message since the central message is similar in A Gift from St. Nicholas and Stone Soup. After discussion the students are encouraged to share their ideas. I add to some of their thoughts to model building on what others say which is a part of how Common Core focuses on speaking and listening.

Then I begin explaining to the class what we are going to do today because I feel that students need to know the plan for the lesson.  I also state the lesson goal and engage the students by asking them to repeat it.  Students say I can identify the characters, events, problem, solution, and central message in a folktale. This is kind of long to I write it on the board and point as we say it.

Guided Practice

20 minutes

As the guided practice begins students echo read the Hansel and Gretel to get familiar with the text.  Echo reading is a nice way to scaffold instruction and allow all of the learners to take time reading the text. It also allows the class to engage in asking questions about he text.  It is hard for me to predict what will confuse some learners so I stop and allow the students to discuss what is happening or ask questions to clarify meaning. after each paragraph.  Students learn quickly to stop me anytime to ask what something means since they know I want them to understand.  But, I had to establish this by stopping and checking for understanding.

To get the class thinking I ask them to discuss the characters in the story with their partners.  We use heterogeneous partners to allow students to help each other.  I like to call them peanut butter jelly partners. One is high and the other low based on oral reading fluency. This mixed grouping challenges the high student to explain which is higher order and the other student gets extra instruction. After the small group discussion students begin engaging in a whole group discussion about the characters.  

 We recall the big problem and how the characters  resolved the problem. This helps first graders come up with the central message. First students discuss the problem to engage all learners and get them thinking.  Then a volunteer shares their ideas.  The class engages in discussion and we determine if the idea is valid by using evidence from the text.  I write the word problem on the Board Work and the problem we have identified.  The I ask the class to discuss what the characters did to solve the problem.  After about a minute a volunteer comments.  The class engages in discussion.  I prompt the students with: Why do you agree or disagree?  Where did the text tell you that?  

I found this great Graphic Organizer to help my students discover the central message. I also have the graphic organizer (Graphic Organizer Completed) in the resources, so you can see what our work looks like. We discuss each section and fill in the blanks.  Then I ask the students to discuss how the kids might have learned a lesson and what did they learn. The students discuss this and share aloud. Next I ask them class to discuss how this might relate to them.  This is the process that I use to learn the class to determining the central message.

Partner Work

20 minutes

First graders need transition about every twenty minutes so as we  transition to the center tables I ask the class to chant three times I can identify the central message.Every child needs a copy of the text to use to find evidence. I scaffold instruction by echo reading the students the A Gift from St. Nicholas.  Then the students can work with a partner (Partner Work) to fill in the graphic organizer. Eventually students are able to come up with the central message. I actually have an example of Proficient WorkBasic Student Work, and Below Basic Work work in the resource section.

As I walk around the room I listen to check for understanding.  Then I ask the students questions.   Some of the questions I ask the students when they get stuck are: What was the problem?  How did they solve the problem?  What happened as a result?  So, what did you learn? How do you think you this story connects to you?  After all this they usually have the message.

Student Reflection

5 minutes

This is the time I like to work on speaking and listening which is a shift from the old curriculum and new to us with Common Core.  To engage the class in a higher order thinking activity I ask the class to evaluate their peers.  This lets my learners understand what they did well and where they can improve.  My students are very comfortable being evaluated because I have created a culture where they are constantly wanting to improve no matter where they are in their learning.  


5 minutes

As the lesson winds down I ask my students to discuss with their partner about what they learned today. As I listen I am wanting to hear students talking about how they will always be kind and help other no matter how much they have or they will not trust strangers. After listening I add to a what I hear students say and all other students to share their discussion. When everyone is talking to their partner I have 100% engagement and this means everyone is learning.

One way I end the lesson is by engaging my class is by asking the students to echo the goal, tell a friend, and say it with me.  Doing this makes learning personal and repeating things helps comprehension. So I say, I can identify the characters, events, problem, solution, and central message in a folktale.