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Fable writing - Inter disciplinary approach to social sciences (3-8)

Fable writing - Inter disciplinary approach to social sciences (3-8)

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Written by Hunter   
Tuesday, 24 March 2009 13:57
Lynn F. Muraoka, Central Oahu School District, Wahiawa, HI


Appropriate for grades 3-8.

OVERVIEW: In our dynamic world, the quality of life is dependent upon our capacity and ability to educate our students for a future that increasingly demands responsible, MORAL, and ethical participation for interaction among people. It also requires that the educational processes promotes the development of the abilities and ATTITUDES necessary for relating harmoniously and respectfully with others.


1. To teach character education through the use of children's literature.

2. To introduce social science concepts in psychology, sociology and geography through an inter-disciplinary approach.

OBJECTIVES: Students will be able to:

1. Produce a research paper.

2. Recognize the elements of a fable.

3. Write an original fable story.

4. Make connections with morals and other law-related concepts.


1. Children are always fascinated with animals, and the characters in fables are usually animals with human characteristics. To be able to write a fable effectively, students need to understand the uniqueness of their character, its habits, movements, likes and dislikes, and to be able to "feel" the character. A research project on animals would be the prerequisite to writing.

2. The research project can be initially conducted as a class research (whole group) and each skill can be introduced and practiced with direct instructions.

* Choosing a Topic                 * Communicating Information
* Writing and Grouping              Questions Writing a rough draft
* Collecting Information              Revision/editing (peer interaction proof- reading)
* Evaluating Information
Evaluating source material           Writing final report
* Organizing Information          * Sharing the Information
Note card sorting

3. With research skills background, students can begin their individual research paper. Have students select an animal or insect that they would like to learn more about and also will use as one of the characters in their original fable story. Arrange for students to visit the library to select non- fiction books and other resource materials.

4. Within a time frame and upon completion of their research project, students can begin the "Children As Authors" project. During this pre-writing stage and in preparation for authorship, students need many opportunities to read and be read to a variety of fables by different authors, e.g. Jack Kent's Fables of Aesop, Arnold Lobel, Jean do La Fontaine, etc. Filmstrips are also good resources. After having been exposed to many fables, have students discuss the elements of a fable.

* Usually animal characters with human qualities, wise or
foolish story, a moral.
* Beginning: setting, characters in situation
* Middle: explanation of what the problem is and how
characters attempt to solve problem.
* End: Moral or lesson to be learned from story.

5. During the composing stage, spend a few days discussing morals. Share a list of common sayings and have students discuss them. Another way is to have students discuss common problems and discuss reasons for them.


* Not enough time * Not on task
* Don't understand * Afraid to ask questions
* Wrong lesson * Not listening

* Get it from the horse's mouth
* He who plays when time to work, work when others play

Note: Have students create their own morals.

6. With new knowledge about their animal gained through researching and a deeper understanding, students are ready to become authors and illustrators for their original fable.


* Introduction/review of morals * Author page
* Rough draft Family tree (History)
* Revision/editing * Dedication page
* Final draft * Acknowledgement page
* Dummy pages * Covers
* Final pages * Final book
* Title page

Note: In producing the fable books, computer software could be used to print some of these pages.

While doing the illustrations for each page, the geography themes of location, place, movement, region and human- environment interaction should be reviewed so students could apply these themes to the setting of their artistic composition.

7. To integrate art, have students select a scene from their fable and create a diorama or model of that scene.

8. To develop communications skills, have students select a few fables written by their classmates, and re-write it into a Children's Theatre play form. Have groups of students put on a play or puppet show for other students. Video tape the performances and share it with the school's library lending resources.

9. Have students compare values/morals in other cultures and countries. Share other literature stories that depict ethical issues.

E.G. Boy Who Cried Wolf (lying)
Jack and the Beanstalk (stealing)
Goldilocks and the Three Bears (trespassing)
Pinnochio (lying)

10. From lessons on morals and values, springboard into the introduction of other law-related concepts of...

* Responsibility * Privacy
* Justice * Authority
* Freedom * Diversity


STUDY SKILLS, A Ready Reference for Teachers, Office of Instructional Services/Multimedia Services Branch, Dept. of Education, State of Hawaii, April 1988.

WRITING RESOURCE HANDBOOK, Dept. of Education, Windward Oahu District, September 1982.

TYING IT ALL TOGETHER: While learning basic skills and social science concepts, students will have finished products to share.  The most effective learning takes place when students can communicate their ideas and share their products with others. A feeling of ownership and pride in their work is enhanced when there is this sharing purpose to their projects. Research papers, art projects, and fable stories could be on display at the school or community libraries, educational fairs, PTA meetings, etc.  Stories could also be published in newsletters or community papers. Puppet shows and plays could be part of the school assembly. The most significant results of these lessons and in tying the knot, however, would be the significant increase of a more responsible and ethical student citizenry.
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