People of all ages love a good story, and fables have been used for years and years to teach important lessons. A fable is a short story that tells a yarn that ends with a moral lesson. Often fables are told through animals or mythical characters.
The performance task included here can be used by students in grades 3-12, and tweaked to coordinate with any character trait of your choice including but not limited to respect, responsibility, caring, fairness, integrity, courage and kindness.
When should you use this lesson? You may find that it’s perfect for the beginning of the school year. Maybe you want to introduce it before Halloween. Perhaps your school or district embraces one character trait each month. If that’s the case this will combine your writing lesson with the specific character trait. You might want to teach it when your social studies teachers reach Greek and Roman mythology in their curriculum guides. Your options are endless!
Where should you begin? Well you need to select a fable. The easiest and most well-known are Aesop’s fables. They’re available in book form but you can also easily access digital copies, often for free. Two good places to begin your search are the public library and Amazon.
Once you’ve selected the perfect fable and the students are ready to listen, read the fable. At the end ask them what they think the moral of the story is. You might ask a student to keep a list of their thoughts on the board. It won’t take long for the students to appreciate the value of a fable as the way to make a point.
Before you know it they will eagerly accept the challenge of creating their own fables. Let them work individually or with a partner. Give them plenty of time to work through the process. Once they’ve finished you’ll likely have products worthy of a specially created bulletin board or part of your classroom library!
Blending writing with character development can be a natural process. This task is just one example of a good way to accomplish your academic goals while improving the climate within your classroom.