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Folktales Around the World


Language Arts  



Title – Folktales Around the World
By – Melissa Schack
Primary Subject – Language Arts
Grade Level – 5
Activity Time: One week for 20 minutes each class

Introduction to Theater
Grade 5
20 Students
Folktales around the World
Instruction Time: One week:
40 minutes each lesson

-This is a week-long lesson on folktales around the world. This lesson introduces different cultures, languages, and various stories around the world. Students will learn what a folktale is, and read and compare folktales from America with folktales from around the world. This will be incorporated into their geography class in locating the different areas on the map.

After discussing characteristics of different cultures and reading folktales from that culture, the students will be able to:
1. Identify specific characteristics from various cultures, with 100% accuracy.
2. Identify and define what a folktale is, with 100% accuracy.
3. Identify and say new vocabulary words, in a different language, with 70% accuracy.
4. Locate different countries on the map, with 90% accuracy.

At the beginning of the week, the teacher will discuss what a folktale is and read an American folktale, to the class. The teacher will inform the class that this is multicultural week and that they will be reading a folktale from a different culture, each day. At the beginning of each class, the teacher will introduce the culture of the day, locate it on the map, and introduce new vocabulary to go with the folktale. At the end of the week, the students will enjoy a festival of the cultures, with various decorations, music, and food from each culture.
Day One: American Folktale
1. Johnny Appleseed
2. Osborne, Mary Pope. American Tall Tales. Alfred A. Knopf, New York, 1991, pgs.27-35.
3. The teacher will discuss what a folktale is and will tell the class that they will be reading “Johnny Appleseed.”
4. After reading the story, the teacher will discuss the story by asking review questions.
5. The teacher will end the lesson by watching the Disney version of Johnny Appleseed.

Day Two: Mexican Folktale
1. “Cuckoo/Cucú,” by Lois Ehlert. Copyright 1997, Harcourt Brace & Company.
2. The teacher will discuss traditions of Mexican culture.
3. The teacher will introduce the new Spanish vocabulary that will be used in the story.
          a. tomato -tomate j. sun -sol
          b. beans -frijoles k. owl -búho
          c. flower -flor l. dog -perro
          d. rooster -gallo m. dove -paloma
          e. star – estrella n. leaf -hoja
          f. mole -topo o. corn -elote
          g. parrot -cotorra p. cuckoo -cucú
          h. squash -calabacín q. pepper -pimiento
          i. moon -luna r. heart -corazón
4. The teacher will read the story to the class, in Spanish first (while there is a puppet showing going on in the background), then again in English.
5. After the story has been read, a second time, the teacher will discuss the folktale with the class.
          a. Why is this a folktale?
          b. What did the animals think about the cuckoo?
          c. Were the other animals wrong about the cuckoo?
          d. What was the moral of the story?
6. Finally, the teacher will go over the new Spanish vocabulary, by playing a match game, with the class.

Day three: Irish folktale
1. Tim O’Toole and the Wee Folk, by Gerald McDermott, 1990.
2. The teacher discuss Irish culture.
3. The teacher will have the class read the folktale in class.
4. After reading the story, the teacher will review with discussion questions.
5. The teacher will finish the lesson by having the class do an art project, based on Irish culture.

Day four: British/English folktale
1. The Clever Men of Gotham.
2. Greenway, John. Tales from the British Isles. Silver Burdett Company, New Jersey, 1979, pg.49-57.
3. The teacher will discuss cultural life in England.
4. The teacher will read the folktale to the class and review with discussion questions.
5. The class will wrap up by having the students watch an educational video about England.

Day five: Native American folktale
1. The Coming of Gluscabi.
2. Caduto and Bruchac. Keepers of the Earth. Fulcrum Inc., 1989.
3. The teacher will read the story to the class.
4. The teacher will follow up the story with review questions.
5. The teacher will discuss Native American culture and traditions.
6. The teacher will finish up the class with an activity.

-The students have just learned what the definition of a folktale is. The students learned about different cultures and the language that pertains to each culture. The students also learned where each of these cultures is located on the map. It is finally Friday and the class now gets to appreciate the different cultures, by listening to the different cultural music, eating the different kinds of food, and decorating the classroom with each culture. This gives the students a greater appreciation for individual differences and to understand what takes place in different cultures.

-Five folktales based on each culture.
-Materials from each culture (hats, musical instruments, etc.).
-Game pieces and pictures to show to teach new vocabulary.
-Food, music, and decorations pertaining to each culture, for the end of the week festival.

-The students’ understanding of what a fable is through stating a definition.
-Each student will individually assessed, by class participation during each class activity.
-At the end of each lesson, the students will have the opportunity to play a match game to better understand the new vocabulary that they had just learned.
-There will not be a formal test on the information they learned about each culture. This is a week to appreciate individuality.
-There will be a formal test on the locations of each culture learned and a short summary of each folktale.
-An additional activity may be to have each student write their own folktale and read it to the class.

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