I chose these fables because they were more appropriate than many of the dated fables. Some of them have quite a bit of violence and older language. I only read the highlighted parts because it was really long.
Underlined words below are lesson vocabulary words that are emphasized and written on sentence strips for my Reading & Writing word wall. I pull off the words off the wall for each lesson, helping students understand this key 'reading and writing' vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics. The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary. My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words.
The students are reading and recounting fables (RL.2.2) from diverse cultures to determine their central message. This is important because the themes, characters, and problems reoccur throughout literature. I am building on their general knowledge by helping them read and recount 'classic' literature. They are building on their content literacy expertise, which will pay off throughout the years as they are exposed to more and more literature from other cultures.
Review the concepts quickly
Model the skill
Compare as a group on the whiteboard
We are reviewing all of the story elements, but are focusing on identifying problem and solution. The Common Core State Standards encourage students to examine stories to determine their structure and organization (RL.2.5). This interaction with the features allows them to be 'close readers' who interact and anticipate the features as they occur ('look at the events that lead to the solution' or 'see how the characters change in response to the problem'). This is an emphasis in the Standards - encouraging active participation in carefully constructed situations (2 fables that contrast) so students can examine and compare them more independently.
We are doing these as a group because the reading level is too high for the students. Fables translated to English from other countries typically are written in English that is far above their reading level. Also, I have found that comparing and contrasting all the story elements, as well as identifying an appropriate problem and solution is best addressed in a group at this time of the year.
They are contrasting those fables (RL.2.9) using a Venn Diagram. Analyzing how two or more texts address similar themes and story lines allows them to build knowledge and compare the approaches that the author takes. Asking questions to allow comparison requires them to cite evidence to answer the text-dependent queries. The Standards want learners who take charge of their learning - asking questions to get answers, searching the texts for verification, and comparing ideas to gain a better level of comprehension.
Explain the task
Support student work and discuss
Scaffolding and Special Education: This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.
For my special education students, the video and story read aloud were a perfect way for them to participate and understand the stories without having to read at the 2nd grade level. The videos were much easier for them to understand and I realize they were a bit lost with the story read, since there were no pictures and the vocabulary was harder. I still think they got some great exposure from ideas that the other kids offered and I called on them earlier in the comparison so they could offer up clearcut similarities and differences (Jack had a cow and the other boy did not). When they completed the diagram, I either paired them up with a buddy or wrote some vocabulary on their slate to help them.
For more advanced students, the stories from other countries might be of great interest. They would probably have more ideas about contrasting the more difficult story elements, such as the problem and solution. I would also question them more about how the setting change leads to characters and problem changes. Perhaps they would also like to extend this idea and research another fable and find what versions are offered from other countries.