Folktales: What Do They Teach? Day 2 of 2

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SWBAT reread to determine the central lesson in a folktale.

Big Idea

Cultures disperse their wisdom through their many folktales.


5 minutes

Summary and Context

I have taken standard RL.2.2: recounting stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral and divided the central message part of the standard into two days of teaching. I believe in this way, it is more manageable for my students. And, with Day 2, I get to offer them another opportunity to read the selection, giving them reading time and deepening their comprehension of the story.

Today, the students will reread their folktale. I have provided students with folktales from different cultures. Providing students with folktales from different cultures deepens and widens their content knowledge of stories. As they reread, they will choose a main character and determine what lesson that main character learned. Students who can identify the lesson of the story which is connected to the lesson the main character learns, are students who understand the key details in the story. It sounds easier than it is, especially working with second language learners who come to our school with limited literacy experiences.

In writing down the lesson that a main character learns, I am asking them to think, again, about key details: who is the main character and where does the story takes place. Then, they will proceed with writing down the lesson. Afterwards, they will need to provide evidence as to how the character learned the lesson. As they provide evidence, I will be looking for them to refer back to their text and be specific with their examples. I am looking to see whether the evidence they provide matches the lesson learned.

Lesson Opening:

To help them get started with their task, on the rug, I will ask them to think back to the story of The Three Bears and the lessons they learned and how they learned them. I will have them pair share and have a few share out loud.

In helping them visualize how the characters learned the lesson, I created a chart for them. I drew a chart with two columns. One column is labeled, dialogue, the other is labeled lesson.

Please note: The chart was misplaced, but here is example of what of it:

How Lesson is Learned

Also, I will briefly review the chart we collaboratively made about their discoveries of the Folktale Elements. I look to revisit it again during our debriefing and see whether they want to add other elements.

Rereading Folktales

17 minutes

As students read, I walk around and monitor them. I am looking for them to be reading. I will speak with a few students and ask them what they are doing. Students need to know that we read for different reasons and I want to make sure the purpose for their rereading is clear. This is a shift with the Common Core State Standards: giving them time to read books independently. Interestingly, our school library has a good assortment of folktales. I still gathered titles from the public library.

One thing to mind so that students have a variety of stories they can read on their own that capture their interests is that it does take time to gather them. So it's a good thing to plan for it.

What is the Lesson?

20 minutes

My students are working in their red response journals. I have provided a template for them on the board and they are replicating the template. I am looking to see how well they understand the lesson or not. I am looking for them to reread and find the evidence as to how the character learned his or her lesson. 

Some will need help directing them to particular pages for the evidence but I will not read it for them. I do remind them to keep in mind words and/or phrases that repeat to them identify the lesson(s).

As I walk around, I like to ask my students where they are at in the process:


These are some of their responses:






8 minutes

I gather the students to debrief our lesson and their progress in identifying the lesson of one of their characters.

First, I asked those who identified correctly to share. Then, I posed the question to the group of how we can get better with this task:

•What We Need To Do Learn the Lessons of the Characters

I find the debriefing period an important part in the learning process. We get to revisit what we should have been doing and learning. Whether they come up with an idea that is viable or not, the purpose to draw attention to where we need to improve as a classroom. Building awareness is also important.