This unit uses multi-leveled Accelerated Readers to differentiate instruction to teach the elements of tall tales. This unit is done in the fashion of a book study. Students should be grouped according to their reading level in groups of two to four, to look for the common elements of a tall tale. The students will also look for exaggerations. The ultimate goal of this unit is for the students to write and illustrate their own personal tall tale. The things to look for when selecting tall tales for your class are:
Look for a classic tall tale. (2) Only pick picture books. (3) Pick levels that are relevant to your class’s reading level.
Suggested Tall Tales & Accelerated Reader Information
ELA4R1 The student demonstrates comprehension and shows evidence of a warranted and responsible explanation of a variety of literary and informational texts.
Element h Identifies themes and lessons in folk tales, tall tales and fables.
ELA4W1 The student produces writing that establishes an appropriate organizational structure, sets a context and engages the reader, maintains a coherent focus throughout, and signals a satisfying closure.
SS4CG2 The student will describe how physical systems affect human systems.
Personal Style Students will be able to identify advantages and disadvantages of important personal temperaments and traits.
Personal Style Students will be able to identify and discuss physical differences among people.
Social/Cultural-SocioCultural Students will be able to identify the conflicts of man (man vs. man, man vs. nature, man vs. self) and ways to settle the conflicts.
This lesson should take five, forty five minute sessions. The actual reading part of the lesson occurs on day one. The remaining days are used for the writing process.
Internet connection, computer, smart board or a way to show PowerPoint, variety of tall tale books on your classroom’s reading level, post it notes, Tall Tale Report Form.
Use the powerpoints from www.mikids.com/5/TallTale.pps or
http://jc-schools.net/tutorials/ppt/talltales.ppt to introduce the Tall Tale elements. The PowerPoint from www.mikids.com is very good. The PowerPoint from jc-schools is good but you will have to introduce the elements of a Tall Tale as you go through the PowerPoint.
Next pick a tall tale that you do not plan for the students to read in their groups. Read it aloud to the class pointing out the elements of the story as you read. Make sure you show the pictures as you read, because many of the tall tales elaborate the exaggerations through pictures. Model for the students how to use post it notes to mark pages with examples that they will want to put into their Tall Tale Report Form.
How to use the Tall Tale Report Form:
In the first row of boxes list the main character’s name, and any other character that is of importance.
In the second row list examples from the text that show the main character is larger than life.
In the third row list examples from the text that are examples of exaggerations.
In the fourth row list examples from the text that explain the problem the character is facing.
In the fifth row list examples from the text that are examples of the action of the story.
In the sixth row list examples from the text that are funny or impossible actions.
In the seventh row list from the text the manner in which the main character solved the problem in the story.
Break the students into groups according to reading level. Pass out the post it notes and the Tall Tale Report Form. Circulate around the room and listen in as the students read and work. Ask questions about what they are writing on their form to ensure that everyone is on task. After everyone has had time to read and fill out their form pull the class back together. Allow each group to share with the class their Tall Tale, by having them tell what is on their form, and why they wrote it.
Take up the forms and post them in the room.
Tall Tale Report Form
Larger Than Life
Element 3 Main Character has a problem
Story has Lots of Action
Funny and impossible actions
Solution to Character’s problem
8 ½ x 11 sheet of white copy paper, pencil, writing paper, dictionary
Make a four corner graphic organizer by folding the copy paper in the style of a greeting card. To do this fold the paper in half width wise and then fold it once more. When the paper is opened you will have four boxes. In the center of the paper, where the boxes come together, draw a circle. Next trace the fold lines until you reach the circle.
In the circle write the name of your tall tale character. In the top left box, describe your character’s capabilities. In the top right box, describe the problem that your character will face. In the bottom left box, write action details about your character. In the bottom right box, write the solution to the character’s problem.
Remind students that a tall tale is full of rich language and details. Explain that many tall tales were real stories that people told over and over again, and each time they told the story the story was exaggerated upon a little more.
Writing: Rough Draft
Instruct the students to use the graphic organizer they made to begin writing their tall tales. At the end of the class period pick up the graphic organizers and the tall tales and gym clip them together for the next day
Days 3 and 4
Graphic organizer with stories clipped to them, pencil, paper, dictionary
Finish the rough draft version of the tall tale.
As students finish their writings, you will want to conference with them. Before you have the students come for a conference, allow them to read it to another student, to see if the paper sounds right, or if there are any obvious errors. Call the students one by one to proof the paper together in conference. Have the students revise their writings making the needed corrections.
Proofed papers, white construction paper, long colored construction paper (any color of your choice), crayons or color pencils, staples and stapler. If you have access to computers you may want to use them.
Write the final draft of the paper. If you have access to computers, you may allow the students to type out their story. When the students finish with the final draft, have them illustrate the story on the white construction paper. Staple the finished story and the illustration to the long construction paper and post in the hall for all to enjoy.