During the next trimester of my school year, I'm plan to begin focusing on concepts related to writing fiction stories. My students and I spent the first part of the year working on writing conventions, personal narrative topics, beginning/ middle/ end, and the writing process that they would continue to work with throughout the rest of the school year.
To begin the new trimester, I'd like to also introduce various types of reading genres to my students so that they can distinguish between the main characteristics of each genre. I'd like to start with fables since these stories can also be broken down into literary elements such as characters, setting, problem, solution, and lesson/moral.
After we have identified the defining characteristics of the genre, it will be important for my students to take time to understand how to identify the moral or lesson of the story. A complete collection of Aesop Fables can be found on the Big Universe Learning website, and can also be assigned to students for independent reading.
Fable Defining Characteristics:
- Short story.
- Teach a moral or lesson.
- Characters are animals that act/speak like humans.
After ample exposure to the Fables, my students will begin creating their own "modern" fable using the Aesop Fables as a mentor text or guide. Students will be encouraged to create a modern lesson, or use a lesson from Aesop Fables and create modern details to support the main idea of the story.
In the past, this type of writing experience has always served my students well since it requires them to be specific in describing the characters, setting, problem/ solution in order for the lesson or moral to be implied to the reader. These type of stories also tend to be shorter in length which encourages students to maintain on topic, and provide details to support the main idea of the story without going off on tangents.
I recently visited the website, www.kidsfables.com where they have published "Tips" for students to consider when writing their own fables. In addition, this site is devoted to publishing student fable writing that meet specific qualifications.
When preparing my students to write their own fable, I also plan to use a website which helps to create a visual process regarding how to write fables. The site contains specific details broken down into student friendly terms, such as how to pick proper moral for the story, how to choose the animal characters that would relate to the moral, and other story elements and story parts.
Once their story is complete, students will be instructed to create a visual story map for the beginning/ middle/ end, by hand drawing the images and scanning them onto the computer; or, by using a program such as Pixie, which allows students to "draw" pictures on the computer. Then, the students will record their oral reading of their individual fables while displaying each picture on the computer using the Quick Time screen recording function. These projects can then be uploaded to their blogs on www.kidblog.org for their parents and peers to view.
The "moral" to this story is to always encourage your students to have fun when writing!