Folktales and Stories

Students use the text and illustrations of fables and folktales to analyze setting, characters, and key details, allowing them to connect traditional stories to their own lives.

Unit Summary

This unit continues the yearlong theme of what it means to be a good person in a community by pushing students to think about how the lessons and morals from traditional stories and folktales connect to their own lives and communities. The unit launches by listening to the book A Story, A Story, in which students see the power of storytelling not only for entertainment, but also for learning valuable life lessons. Over the course of the unit, students will explore lessons and morals about hard work, happiness, friendship, honesty, and humility. Through discussion and writing, students will be challenged to connect their own lives with the sometimes-abstract lessons and stories in order to build character and a strong community. It is our hope that this unit, in connection with other units in the sequence, will help students internalize the idea that we not only learn from our own experiences, but we also learn and grow by hearing the experiences of others. 

In reading, this unit builds on the foundation set in unit 1. Students will continue to practice asking and answering questions about key details in partners, individually, and in discussion, although questions will require a deeper and more nuanced understanding of the text than in unit 1. Students will learn to use the text and illustrations to both identify the setting of a story and think about why the setting is important to the story. Students will also be pushed to deeply analyze characters traits, actions, and feelings and how those change and evolve over the course of the story. Once students have a deep understanding of the setting and character motivation, students will grapple with figuring out the lessons the characters learn and how they learn them. Finally, in this unit students will begin to notice the nuanced vocabulary authors use to help a reader visualize how a character is feeling or acting. 

In writing, students will continue to write daily in response to the text. The focus of this unit is on ensuring that students are answering the question correctly and using correct details from the illustrations and text to support their answer.

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Texts and Materials

Core Materials

See Text Selection Rationale

Unit Prep

Essential Questions

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  • What lessons can we learn from reading folktales and classic stories? 
  • How can we use the lessons we learn from folktales and stories in our lives?

Writing Focus Areas

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  • If the expectations and routines for writing about reading were established in unit 1, students should be able to write for 15 minutes daily in response to the text with minimal teacher support and intervention. Therefore, in this unit students will begin to focus on correctly answering a question by answering the question and adding an inference, critical thinking, or facts to show understanding of the question. Students should be able to write multiple sentences in response to the text and should be receiving feedback on both the content and the structure of their answers. 
  • Structure feedback should be differentiated based on the needs of the students. Students should always know what one or two things they are working on to improve their writing.

Language Focus Areas

  • Pick one or two structure focus correction areas to teach and reinforce

Writing-About-Reading Focus Areas

  • Correctly answers the question with an inference, critical thinking, or facts that show a basic understanding of the question or text

Vocabulary

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Literary Terms

lesson, message, setting, character, problem, solution, folktales

Text-based

valuable, lazy, insult, impatient, ridiculous, command, strange, intend, quarrels, justice, disgrace, amazement, repay, fool, demanded, stranger, gentle, unusual, feast, stretch, unfortunate, quarreling, wise, commotion, advice, courage, ashamed, patience, wasteful, satisfied, temper, aghast, livid, deed, plentiful, modest

Idioms and Cultural References

"If at first you don’t succeed, try, try again", "Practice makes perfect", "Let the cat out of the bag"

Content Knowledge and Connections

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  • Describe the characteristics of a folktale. 
  • Explain how we can use the lessons from folktales and stories in our own lives.

Intellectual Prep

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Build Content Knowledge: 

  • Understand the characteristics of folktales and stories. 

Internalize the Text and Standards: 

  • Read all unit texts, including the author’s notes or any cultural connections, with essential questions and unit themes in mind. 
  • Identify the lesson the author is trying to teach in each text, and brainstorm ways the lesson connects to students’ own lives. 
  • Take unit assessment. 
  • Internalize priority standards. 
    • RL1.2 → What do students need to understand about a story to demonstrate understanding of the central message or lesson? How do students demonstrate understanding of the central message or lesson? 
    • RL1.3 → What types of details should students use to describe characters? How can students track details across multiple pages or an entire story to build a deeper theory or understanding of a character? How can students use the illustrations to deepen their understanding of a character? 
    • RL1.4 → What does it mean for students to notice feeling words? How do feeling words, or powerful words, help the reader better understand character and character traits? 
  • Identify focus for writing about reading. 
  • Determine a habits of discussion focus for the unit that aligns with target speaking and listening standards. Create a plan for how to teach and reinforce the discussion habits over the course of the unit during daily partner and whole-group discussions. 
  • Plan book introductions that highlight the history or culture of the story, when applicable, without tokenizing the culture. 
  • Create a system for tracking the different messages and lessons from the unit.
  • Plan which character traits to introduce over the course of the unit, and create an anchor chart to track character traits as they are introduced or used. The character traits are not included in the vocabulary section because they should be determined during class discussions based on the evidence about each character. 
  • As an extension, have students use what they learned about folktales and stories to write their own during Writer’s Workshop.

Assessment

This assessment accompanies this unit and should be given on the suggested assessment day or after completing the unit.

Lesson Map

1

  • A Story, a Story

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain how you can tell that Ananse thought stories were valuable, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

2

  • Anansi (Melon)

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Describe Anansi and if he learned a lesson, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

3

  • Anansi (Rock)

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Describe Anansi and if he learned a lesson, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

4

  • Anansi (Magic Stick)

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Describe Anansi and if he learned a lesson, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

5

  • Anansi (Fishing)

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.7

Explain if Anansi learned a lesson, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

6

Discussion & Writing

  • Anansi (Melon)

  • Anansi (Rock)

  • Anansi (Magic Stick)

  • Anansi (Fishing)

    RL.1.2

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    L.1.6

Defend if Anansi is a good friend and brainstorm advice for how he can become a better friend, by participating in a class discussion using evidence from the text and class discussions.

7

  • The Lion and the Mouse

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain why the lion changes his mind and what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details from the text and illustrations about character to show understanding of the lesson.

8

  • Borreguita and the Coyote

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain why Coyote never bothered Borreguita again and what lesson can be learned, by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

9

  • The Paper Crane

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.4

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain how the stranger’s gift changed the man’s life and what lesson the author is trying to teach, by using key details from the illustrations and text about character to show understanding of the lesson.

10

  • Mama Panya's Pancakes

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.4

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain what Mama learns at the end of the story, by using key details from the text and illustrations to show understanding of the lesson.

11

  • It Could Always Be Worse

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain what lesson the man learns and how the rabbi helps, by using key details to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

12

  • Ming Lo Moves the Mountain

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Describe the wise man’s final piece of advice and if it was meant to help or trick Ming Lo and his wife, by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of characters and central message.

13

  • Doña Flor

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain how Doña Flor’s actions show that she cares about her friends, by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of characters and the central lesson.

14

  • The Empty Pot

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain what the king means when he says, “I admire Ping’s courage to appear before me with the empty truth,” by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of the characters and the central lesson.

15

  • Why the Sky is Far Away

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain what the sky means when it says, “perhaps through your own labor you will learn to not waste the gifts of nature” and what we can learn from this statement, by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of the characters and the central lesson.

16

  • Martina the Beautiful Cockroach

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.4

    SL.1.2

Explain how the coffee test helped Martina learn a person's character and what we can learn from this, by using key details to show understanding of the characters and central lesson.

17

  • One Grain of Rice

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    SL.1.2

Explain why Rani was or was not a clever girl, by using key details from the illustrations and text to show understanding of the characters and central lesson.

18

  • Juan Bobo Goes to Work: A Puerto Rican Folk Tale

    RL.1.2

    RL.1.3

    RL.1.7

    SL.1.2

Explain if Juan Bobo always finds a way to bungle things up on purpose or by accident, by using key details to show understanding of characters and central lesson.

19

Writing

  • All unit texts and posters

    RL.1.2

    W.1.1

    SL.1.1

    L.1.6

Defend if folktales are or are not silly stories that connect to our lives, by stating an opinion and using facts and examples from the unit to support the opinion.

20

  • All unit vocabulary

    L.1.5

    L.1.6

Demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings by participating in word sorts and activities using target unit vocabulary.

21

Assessment

22

3 days

Project

  • Project materials

    RL.1.5

    SL.1.5

    SL.1.6

Students will be able to create and act out folktales in groups by applying knowledge of folktale characteristics.

Common Core Standards

Language Standards
  • L.1.1 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.

  • L.1.2 — Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.

  • L.1.5 — With guidance and support from adults, demonstrate understanding of word relationships and nuances in word meanings.

  • L.1.6 — Use words and phrases acquired through conversations, reading and being read to, and responding to texts, including using frequently occurring conjunctions to signal simple relationships (e.g., because).

Reading Standards for Literature
  • RL.1.1 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.

  • RL.1.2 — Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.

  • RL.1.3 — Describe characters, settings, and major events in a story, using key details.

  • RL.1.4 — Identify words and phrases in stories or poems that suggest feelings or appeal to the senses.

  • RL.1.5 — Explain major differences between books that tell stories and books that give information, drawing on a wide reading of a range of text types.

  • RL.1.7 — Use illustrations and details in a story to describe its characters, setting, or events.

  • RL.1.10 — With prompting and support, read prose and poetry of appropriate complexity for grade 1.

Speaking and Listening Standards
  • SL.1.1 — Participate in collaborative conversations with diverse partners about grade 1 topics and texts with peers and adults in small and larger groups

  • SL.1.2 — Ask and answer questions about key details in a text read aloud or information presented orally or through other media.

  • SL.1.4 — Describe people, places, things, and events with relevant details, expressing ideas and feelings clearly.

  • SL.1.5 — Add drawings or other visual displays to descriptions when appropriate to clarify ideas, thoughts, and feelings.

  • SL.1.6 — Produce complete sentences when appropriate to task and situation.

Writing Standards
  • W.1.1 — Write opinion pieces in which they introduce the topic or name the book they are writing about, state an opinion, supply a reason for the opinion, and provide some sense of closure.

  • W.1.8 — With guidance and support from adults, recall information from experiences or gather information from provided sources to answer a question.