Sunday, February 9, 2014

Fables 101

WHAT A WEEK! This week was Groundhog's Day for me {literally and figuratively}--everyday I woke up thinking it was at least three days ahead of what it actually was.  We had a fun filled week, but I am VERY happy it's FRIDAY! The only thing that would be even better is if TGIF was on--I could really go for some Winslow/ Tanner family fun right about now...

February is one of my favorites times of the school year!  It's of course the LOVE & HUGS month, but it's also when we begin our Fables and Fairy Tales Unit!  Next to Wizard of Oz, this is certainly my favorite unit of the entire year!

We start off with fables because it gives children a chance to practice with the layout and process of comprehending a story where a character faces a "moral" challenge. It's always interesting to see who has experience with fables within the classroom.  I always assume students would have heard a few of the common fables, {Lion and the Mouse, Country Mouse/ City Mouse-which I can remember my mom reading to me when I was little, which is why I always make it a point to read that one :) }, but every year I become more and more surprised at how few students have read fables before!  In one way it's GREAT because I get to read/ show them something new without them already knowing how the story ends, but on the other end, they don't really have a frame of reference to go off of when determining the MORAL of the fables they read independently.  Needless to say, we have a lot of modeling going on the majority of the week before releasing them into the wild!

A wonderful resource to use when teaching fables is it highlights the print as it reads the story aloud--great for increasing student time in text! Speekaboos has a few, but it's really good for more Fairy Tales than Fables.

The good thing about fables is they're short and sweet, so you can squeeze in a few each day depending on how much explicit instruction your little ones may need! We started off with King Midas and the Golden Touch--one of my FAVES! Not to mention it has a great moral that can be applied to many things throughout their young lives!

We charted the elements using our Story Structure Chart, which Students kept in their homemade Fables folder, which they kept all their materials in for the week!  I had everyone pick their favorite piece from the week, which was displayed in the classroom {nice little time saver for me!}

Here's a look at what went down with fables this week: {grab the resources HERE}

Used to teach about a significant event in the story and how the character reacted to that event.

We read, "Two of Everything," by Lilly Toy Hong, which I remember reading when I was doing a field experience in college--so it's an oldie but goodie for sure!  We then charted the important events from the story using the cart below:
Students then read another version of the story {found here} and compared the two fables:  

Later in the week, students helped me analyze characters in The Little Red Hen by listening to the story HERE and completing an analysis of the character to develop traits based on their actions in the story.  They are getting SO GOOD at character traits!  We keep a list in their Daily 5 Folder so they can reference it whenever needed.  

Students read a one page fable and did the same with a clock buddy {find Clock Buddies Sheet here}! 
 Great way for easy partnering for activities!

Finally, students were able to read, retell, and present a fable of their choice to the class.  Half the class read using our class iPads, while the others used laptops from our COW-computers on wheels. :)  There are some wonderful free Fable Apps out there! A few great ones:

Wild Fables FREE
Aesop Fables HD-FREE!
Animated Aesop Fables-1.99

Students created their own booklet depicting the characters, setting, problem, and moral of the fable.  It is so fun to watch them compose their own moral from the story!  This activity is helpful to place your lower level lovelies with a medium or higher level student to help them with the moral of the story.  They really enjoyed it and are now officially fable experts!

You can find all these wonderful printables and resources on my TPT store HERE!

Not only was it Fables week, Friday was our 101st Day of School {technically 102nd day, but we got off track during our 4 snow days last week! Yes, we finally got the snow I've been wishing for-yay!}  

Yes, that is the T from the TH upside down... #whenlifehandsyoulemons

As an optional project, students made an outfit including 101 items of their choice.  I encouraged them to be as creative as possible!  For the first time in three years we had 100% class participation with this project! YAY!!!  

Here's a look at their adorable outfits!

Yes, that is 101 ribbons!

Love the expanded form!

Me too :)

We did all sorts of 101 themed activities that day and the kids were so eager to do them all!

Partner Poem with 100 words (plus their name at the top made 101!)

Brainstorming what life will be like when we're a CENTURY plus ONE!

Then came the excitement.  Stumbled upon a 99 cent app called, "Aging Booth."  Oh my gosh, this thing provided hours of entertainment for me and my family during the snow days last week.  Although it may be scary, it's oh so fun. 

Yes, that all be me in a few decades...scary I know.

Of course we had to use this for our Life as 101 writing!  The kids FFRREEAAAKKKEEEDDD out! It was solid laugher for about 5 minutes straight. 

After they wrote, I had them do a gallery walk around the room to view everyone's photos.  They were truly in AWE and it was a great writing motivator :) :) :)

Some of them even WROTE like they were a century old-she read it aloud that way too- it was awesome!

Every 101 minutes, we busted out our, "I Can Write 101 Words!" paper.  Students had 101 second to write as many words as they could.  We hoped to reach 101 by the end of the day :)  They worked so hard and I think that is the quietest my room has been all week! #1minuteand41secondsofsanity

We then did our "101 is..." math activity.  Students were given a number between 1 and 1,000 and had to write what that number WAS.  I encouraged them to use real world examples when they finished the sentence starter.  The lower level students received numbers 1-100--easy way to differentiate.  Once everyone was finished writing their sentence, they had to place themselves in order on an imaginary number line.  I didn't help at all.  Just sat back and what appeared to be organized chaos.  It's fun to see which of your students will take charge and help put everyone in their place and who just sits back and enjoys being told what to do.  :)  They did it in under 3 minutes--quite impressed.  Students then read what number they had and what it represented.

To finish up our day, we gathered 101 snacks and placed them on a 100s chart.  We had ten food yummy snacks to choose from, which was great to practice the concept of 10 10s equals 100! The 101st item could be an extra of their choice.  

After everyone had their snacks, I asked them various questions pertaining to using a hundreds board.  "Pick up the snack on number 35."  They couldn't see the numbers, therefore had to skip count and use their knowledge of the board to find it.  I'd then ask, "What is 22 more than 76?"  They got to eat the snack which was the answer.  Fun and delicious way to build number sense in these little guys!

As they were finishing up their snacks, I had them do one last writing assignment for the day.  This one is always one of my favorites to find out what they are going to say.  

Some were Happy Thoughts!

While others were the "troubles" we have during the day...

We had so much fun celebrating the 101st day of school!! You can find our 101st day activities bundle HERE and the same activities geared toward the 100th day HERE!  

Hope you're 100th day is approaching soon! Now, it's onto the countdown down! 

Happy Weekend!!!


  1. I love all your ideas. Where can I get a copy of:
    1) Character analysis of Little Red Hen
    2) Mirror

    Thank you sooo much for posting your awesome ideas for others to use!

  2. Hey, D'Ann! You can find all of the resources EXCEPT the mirror Here: (copy and paste the link)
    The mirror came from scholastic book--not sure which one!! I just kept it in my fables and fairy tales folder! But I'm sure the kids would LOVE to make their own mirror out of construction paper! They could even write a little synopsis or summary of the character or the fable :) Let me know how it goes for you!

  3. I LOVE that idea of the kiddos making their own mirror. I have your fables unit in my wish list for next year! My students adored your Duck Dynasty unit and I must say it's one of my guilty pleasures.

  4. YAY! I still bring those resources out for the kiddos to play with during Morning Centers (morning work), or at the end of the day--they LOVE it and they are still talking about the Fables unit, too! I'm getting ready to post my Fairy Tale resources so be on the look out! It's one of, if not MY MOST favorite unit of the year!