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Writing a story about work

  • Age group:
    Students ages 6 to 7
  • When:
    March and April
  • Time required:
    6 hours 30 minutes

Area of learning:

  • Community life and citizenship

Financial and cooperative skills

  • Understanding that money is earned by working
  • Understanding the benefits of saving
  • Teamwork

Activity summary

Students associate the practical lessons—or morals—of 3 La Fontaine fables with the concepts of working and saving. Next they write and illustrate their own story, in the style of a fable. They finish by associating illustrations made by other students with sentences from the story.

Competencies

Table of disciplinary and non-disciplinary competencies

Disciplinary competencies taught

Disciplines Competency Learning progression
English
  • Write a variety of texts
  • Read a variety of texts
Use all the identified and applied concepts in their own reading and writing
Visual arts Express themselves through artwork Make use of creative ideas inspired by a suggestion

Non-disciplinary competencies

  • Make use of creative thinking

Preparation

Students associate the morals in La Fontaine fables with the concepts of working and saving.

Task 1: Think about the morals in 3 fables

Task 1 objective

  • Time required
    120 minutes

At the end of this task, students will be able to interpret a fable and identify its moral.

Instructions

  1. Explain what a fable is to the students.
  2. Ask the students if they know any fables.
  3. Work with the students to examine 3 fables found on the Internet.
  4. After examining each fable, ask the students to summarize it in their own words.
  5. Ask the students to explain the moral of the fable, and add to their explanations if necessary.
  6. After examining the 3 fables, ask the students to find a common theme.

Teacher's notes

  • A fable is a prose poem (written in verse) that features a practical lesson called a moral.
  • Well-known examples include the works of Jean de La Fontaine, France's premier fabulist, especially The Fox and the Crow or The Ant and the Grasshopper.
  • 3 fables that can be found easily online deal with the subject of work and money:
    • The Ant and the Grasshopper. Moral: “You spent your time singing—that was fine with me. But who's dancing now?” Explanation: It's better to plan for the future than to spend all your time having fun.
    • The Ploughman and His Sons. Moral: “Work, as hard as you can—but material things aren't what is important.” Explanation: True value lies in working, which makes it possible to earn money.
    • The Cobbler and the Financier. Moral: “Give me back my songs—and let me sleep,” he said. “You can have your 100 crowns.” Explanation: Money doesn't always make us happy—far from it, it can bring unhappiness. When the cobbler came into a great fortune, he lost the ability to enjoy life.
  • To find fables online, enter some titles plus the word “fable” on YouTube, or use a search engine like Google, adding the word “video.” Audio versions of well-known fables may also be downloaded from The LibriVox Free Audiobook Collection.
  • You may also want to write a few sentences that summarize each fable.
  • The 3 fables focus on the subject of money and work. We earn money by working, and saving and planning for the future let us avoid unexpected surprises. But the other extreme—never using the money we save—isn't good either.

Execution

Students make up and illustrate a fable with work and saving as their theme.

All the documents you need to carry out this activity are in the right-hand column under Useful links.

Task 1 objective

At the end of this task students will be able to work with classmates to write a fable about work and saving.

Instructions

  • Instructions for primary cycle 1:
    1. Suggest to the students that they work together to make up and write a fable about saving and working.
    2. Brainstorm with the class to find a moral for the story.
    3. Brainstorm to come up with the characters that could be used to explain the moral of the story. For example, the squirrel is an animal that saves by storing food for the future.
    4. Fill out the Fable Outline, which can be found in the writing notebook, with the students.
    5. Outline the fable on the board, using class input—students can share ideas by raising their hands. The teacher puts these ideas into sentences and writes them on the board.
    6. Once the text is complete, divide the class into 4 teams.
    7. Hand the sentence slips out to the students, and discuss how they are to be used.
    8. Each team should copy the fable onto the sentence slips. Team members should divide up the work so each slip contains at least 1 sentence.
    9. Collect the sentence slips from each group and put them into a separate envelope for each team.
  • Instructions for primary cycle 2:
    1. Suggest to the students that they work together to make up and write a fable about saving and working.
    2. Brainstorm with the class to find a moral for the story.
    3. Brainstorm to come up with the characters that could be used to explain the moral of the story. For example, the squirrel is one animal that saves by storing food for the future.
    4. Fill out the Fable Outline, which can be found in the writing notebook, with the students.
    5. Write the fable, using the sentences spoken by the students.
    6. Once the text is complete, divide the class into 4 teams.
    7. Hand the sentence slips out to the students, and discuss how they are to be used.
    8. Each team should write the fable on the sentence slips. Team members should divide up the work so each slip contains at least 1 sentence.
    9. Collect the sentence slips from the each group and put them into a separate envelope for each team.

Teacher's notes

To help students reach consensus when working together as a team, see page 4 of the cooperative learning guide for activities to help prepare them for this.

Task 2 objective

  • Time required
    60 minutes
  • Teaching material
    Diagram
    (PDF, 573 KB)

At the end of this task, students will be able to produce drawings that illustrate scenes from the fable the class has written together.

Instructions

  1. Give each student a copy of the Diagram found in the writing notebook, printed on heavy white paper.
  2. Each of the teams formed in Task 1 takes the sentence slips from its envelope.
  3. Each student takes 1 slip and illustrates the sentence on it by drawing in the space provided on the diagram.

Teacher's notes

None

Evaluation

Students correctly associate sentences from the fable with the illustrations.

Task 1: Read and understand a story

Task 1 objective

  • Time required
    30 minutes

At the end of this task, you will be able to evaluate the students' reading ability and comprehension.

Instructions

  1. Give each team an envelope containing another team's sentences and illustrations.
  2. Ask the students to correctly associate the sentences with the illustrations.

    3 suggested methods

    1. Give a sentence to each student so he or she can find the right illustration among those on the diagram. Allow time for the students to locate drawings before you go through the exercise and associate sentences and illustrations.
    2. Suggest a cooperative approach, in which the team chooses strategies for associating sentences and drawings.
    3. Give all the sentences and drawings to one student (4 can work on this simultaneously) and direct him or her to associate them correctly. This will allow you to check and evaluate their work.

Teacher's notes

  • Look at all the diagrams beforehand, and add hints with the students if you feel that the drawings are not clear enough.

Reinforcement

Students tell their story to classmates.

  • Time required
    120 minutes

Instructions

  1. Form teams of 4 students.
  2. Ask each team to prepare to present its fable, either by presenting it aloud or miming it, with 1 student reading the sentences and the others acting them out.
  3. Each team will use the drawings that were made to tell its fable to another class.

Useful links

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