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Fabulous Fables

Students learn about beginning, middle, end, and parts of a story as they retell, or adapt, a fable.

Apps: Pixie® or Wixie®

image of hare and tortoise

Task

A fable is a short story that teaches a lesson. The most famous fables are from Aesop, but due to the age of these stories, the language in the retelling is often hard to understand. Ask students to read some of Aesop's fables and then retell or adapt them to make them easier for kids today to understand.

Engage

Read the The Hare and the Tortoise from the Library of Congress, to your students. Ask your students if they have heard this story before.

Share with students that we call a story that teaches a lesson a fable. Ask students if they can name other fables. They may be familiar with ones like: The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Lion and the Mouse, or The Crow and the Pitcher. Many fables are told using animals and most specifically spell out the moral at the end.

The moral of The Hare and the Tortoise from the Library of Congress is “The race is not always to the swift.” Ask your students if they know how to say this moral a different way, such as “Slow and steady wins the race.”

Tell your students that Aesop's fables were written by a Greek slave over 2500 hundred years ago! The version of the story from the Library of Congress was written in 1919, almost one hundred years ago.

Find another version of the story online, or watch the animated adaptation of the “Velociraptor and the Apatosaurus” below. Is the lesson, or moral, the same?

Have a discussion about which version the students like and why. Talk about how a story can be told different ways and still contain the same, or at least a similar, message.

Create

Tell students that they will be reading different Aesop's fables and creating new versions using Wixie or Pixie with the goal of making the lesson in the story easier for kids today to understand. The version they create can be a straightforward retelling, or adaption of the story.

Divide students into small teams and have them choose a fable to retell. You can provide them with a list, or assign fables to different groups, based on the reading level of versions you have available from your school or classroom library.

Explore more samples and ideas for incorporating technology into the curriculum.

Teams should begin the process by reading the story as a group. Have each member complete a Beginning Middle, and End organizer to break the story into pieces making it easier to retell. Then, have them discuss with their team how each of them split up the story.

You can also use a Parts of a Story organizer to help students identify character, plot, and setting. This is especially useful if teams are working on adaptations of the story that go a bit beyond a straight retelling.

Teams should use the details from their organizers to write a rough draft of their retelling. Teams can work together to edit their versions or trade with another team for feedback.

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