Grade 2: Animal Fables Block

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This block was delightfully fun – especially because lots of stuffed animals kept showing up for school. I kept the energy high and the fables short. For Jude, making a main lesson book is his favorite part of school, so we typically keep to the tell a story/draw a picture/write a summary sentence routine. Usually this repetition serves him, but somewhere toward the end of the block, school was becoming difficult. One particular day, I came into the schoolroom to find Jude laying on the floor, telling me I was giving him SO MUCH work. I rolled my eyes and bit my tongue to keep from saying one of my favorite lines, “Cry me a river!” and thought about how to shake things up. (Any other mothers of phlegmatic children laughing right now??!!) We somehow made it through that lesson and the next day, we did school at the kitchen table by making a huge mural to illustrate the fable “Foolish Words”. This is a Jataka tale that has hundreds of animals running through the jungle shouting “Earthquake!” because one nervous rabbit heard a coconut fall out of a tree. Instead of drawing all the different kinds of animals, we deconstructed this little coloring book. After coloring the animals, we cut them out in silhouette and glued them to the simple background Jude had drawn. This was lots of fun, finished out the week and got us back on track.

We had one resounding success with retelling the story, which for the most part is a non-starter with my little guy. Usually I am met with “I don’t know.” “I don’t remember.” or my favorite “What story?” I have pretty much given up on this area for now, because I am trusting that the stories are in there, working their magic on his little soul. After hearing “The Tortoise and The Hare”, I summarized the story in 8 sentences. I printed these out, cut them into strips and mixed them up in a hat. Jude picked them out of the hat, arranged them in the correct order and read them back to me. These sentences then became our prompts for the reader we are making for this fable. I will detail that project in another post sometime soon.

Resources:

  • Animal Fables, Donna Simmons – I basically followed the order of the fables and took a lot of ideas for our projects directly from this guide.
  • Teaching Fables, Live Education – This had some great insight into the 8 year old and why they need to hear lots and lots of fables.

Projects:

  • Modeled mice out of beeswax “The Town Mouse and The Country Mouse”

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  • Created a reader based on “The Tortoise and the Hare” – We are continuing to work on this project which will include eight drawings and eight summary sentences that tell the whole story of the race between the tortoise and the hare. Jude’s MLB for this is HUGE, measuring 18 x 24. His figures are small, but he does fill the entire double-page spread with color. His writing is nice and large and legible.
  • Modeled lions out of beeswax “The Lion and The Mouse” (We reused our beeswax mice from earlier in the block.) This is the first time we used two different colored beeswax to add details. And even though Vincent said mine looked like “a house cat in a bonnet,” I think they turned out great!

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  • Created a main lesson book with drawings and story titles

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  • Made a mural “Foolish Words”

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  • Colored and cut out a bunny mask “Rabbit’s Money Crop”
  • Made stick puppets “The Wise Goat” (wolves and goat)
  • Knitted a lamb “The Wolf and The Lamb”

Extras we didn’t get to:

I hope to do these sometime throughout the year.

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