Students learn about the genres of myths, folktales, and fairy tales through participation in a variety of online activities.
Teach This Lesson
- Appreciate diverse cultures and traditions through folklore and folktales
- Compare historic world cultures with contemporary ones
- Demonstrate understanding of the genres by responding to questions
- Follow the writing process to create writing in different genres
- Identify unique characteristics of the genre: myth, folktale, folklore, and fairy tales
- Produce written work to show evidence of knowledge of the different genres
- Read and listen to genre examples to increase knowledge of genre characteristics
- Read myths and folktales to increase knowledge of world cultures and traditions
- Respond to questions about the folktale genre to demonstrate understanding
- Tell an original folktale to class members using appropriate fluency skills
- Use Web tools to access information about different cultures
- Use Web tools to write and publish original myths, folktales, and fairy tales
- Myths, Folktales, and Fairy Tales: A Writing With Writers Activity
- Depending on time available, the grade level, and maturity level of each class, activities can be facilitated as independent work, collaborative group work, or whole class instruction. Teachers may use the guide to teach a complete unit or break the content into smaller learning components. Some suggestions are:
- Reading examples of folktales, fairy tales, and myths both printed and online as an individual activity.
- Peer editing written work in small groups.
- Creating and performing skits as a class activity.
- If a computer is available for each student, students can work on their own. Hand out the URLs or write them on the board so students will have a guide through the activity.
- If you are working in a lab, set up the computers to be on the desired Web site as students walk into class. If there are fewer computers than students, group the students by reading level. Assign each student a role: a "driver" who navigates the web, a timer who keeps the group on task, and a note taker. If there are more than three students per computer, you can add roles like a team leader, a team reporter, etc.
- If you are working in a learning station in your classroom, break out your class into different groups. Have rotating groups working on the computer(s), reading printed genre examples, holding smaller group discussions, brainstorming, writing, and peer editing their own folktales, folklore, fairy tales, and myths.
Project Introduction (1 Day)
Introduce the word myth to the class and read aloud one of the examples from the Myths Around the World in order to emphasize the oral heritage of the genre as well as give character and excitement to the reading. Ask students to offer definitions of the term "myth." Then encourage students to brainstorm myths that they know. Have volunteers write examples on the chalkboard. Discuss the myth read aloud, and encourage students to write the characteristic elements of myths such as supernatural characters, extraordinary powers or tools, natural phenomena, etc. on the board.
Explain that students will be reading myths that originated all over the world. Depending on your curriculum, you may want to pick a myth based in the country you are currently studying, or you can have students pick separate myths from different areas and then return with their findings to share with the class. As homework, direct students to read their chosen or assigned myth in Myths Around the World or hand out printed copies of the myth to be read.
Myths Around the World (2-3 Days)
Once the myth has been read, group students according to the myth they have read or the reading level to discuss the reading. Ask the to make a list that mirrors the characteristics of the myth elements on the board. Students should write which characteristic their myth had and detail that characteristic as much as possible.
Individually or in groups, students should then find out information on the country or region from which the myth originated. The last paragraph in each myth from "Myths Around the World" can start students off in finding out more about the country and culture. In general students should try to answer the following questions:
- Is there a theme to the myths from this country? If so, what are they?
- Why did this country or region create this myth? Is there anything about the geography or the history to promote myth making?
- What is the religion of the country or region? How does religion promote myth making?
- Are there more myths from this region? Find them and summarize them.
- How does the myth reflect specific cultural aspects to this country or region?
Have the students return to a class group and present their findings to the rest of the class. If the entire class has worked on the same myth in the same country, have students create a list on the board of important information about the myth and the culture from which it comes. If students have worked on different myths from separate countries, have students present their myth and their findings to the rest of the class.
Transition your focus from reading myths into writing original myths. Explain to students that they will be writing an original myth as if they were from the country or region they studied. Remind them that they should follow the same trends they saw in the myths they read, and they should keep in mind what would be important to the people of that culture.
Myth Writing With Jane Yolen (3-4 Days)
Divide students into same-level reading groups to read the four Myth writing steps online. If you have limited computer access, print out a copy of the steps for individual students to read. Tell students that they will be following Jane Yolen's steps in preparation for writing their own myths. Encourage note taking as they go through the steps and write down any ideas they have for their own myths.
Before students start writing their own myths, students may want to regroup with their original small groups in order to share their notes and their ideas.
If class time is unavailable, have students write their myths as homework, then exchange papers with a peer for revision. Partners can write their comments on the draft itself. While students revise their drafts, have them check for spelling, grammar, and punctuation mistakes.
Once they've completed their revision, have students follow directions to publish their myth online.
- Create a quiz for any activity or make modifications to any lesson by using the teacher tool kit!
- Post original stories on your class homepage for peer and parent enjoyment.
Formal Assessment Ideas
The two Writing with Writers components - myths and folktales - as well as the folklore and the folktale sections include online publishing and a formal assessment with the student writing. Make sure students either preview and print a copy before submitting their work online or use a word processing document to print a copy for teacher assessment. See the appropriate rubrics below.
Writing Rubric Narratives
Use these writing rubrics to assess your students' writing skills. These rubrics can also serve as models for a modified version that might include your state's writing standards.
This project aids students in meeting national standards in several curriculum areas.
Reading and Language Arts
- Unifying concepts and processes in Science: Systems, order, and organization.
- Understands basic features of the Earth (1).
- Knows the general structure and functions of cells in organisms (6)
International Reading Association (IRA) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE):
- Students read a wide range of print and nonprint texts (1).
- Students adjust their use of spoken, written, and visual language (e.g., conventions, style, vocabulary) to communicate effectively with a variety of audiences and for different purposes (4).
- Students enjoy a wide range of strategies as they write and use different writing-process elements appropriately to communicate with different audiences for a variety of purposes (5).
- Students apply knowledge of language structure, language conventions (e.g., spelling and punctuation), media techniques, figurative language, and genre to create, critique, and discuss print and nonprint texts (6).
- Students conduct research on issues and interests by generating ideas and questions, and by posing problems. They gather, evaluate, and synthesize data from a variety of sources (e.g., print and nonprint texts, artifacts, people) to communicate their discoveries in ways that suit their purpose and audience (7).
- Students use a variety of technological and informational resources (e.g., libraries, databases, computer networks, video) to gather and synthesize information and to create and communicate knowledge (8).
- Students develop an understanding of and respect for diversity in language use, patterns, dialects across cultures, ethnic groups, geographic regions, and social roles (9).
- Students participate as knowledgeable, reflective, creative, and critical members of a variety of literacy communities (11).
- Students use spoken, written, and visual language to accomplish their own purposes (e.g., for learning, enjoyment, persuasion, and the exchange of the information) (12).
National Council for the Social Studies (NCSS):
- People, Places, and Environments (Students study the lives of people, the places in which they live, and the environment that surrounds them.)
- Individual Development and Identity (Students study how personal identity is shaped by one's culture, by groups, and by institutional influences.)
Technology Foundation Standards for Students:
- Use technology tools to enhance learning, increase productivity, and promote creativity
- Use technology tools to collaborate, publish, and interact with peers, experts, and other audiences
- Use a variety of media and formats to communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences
- Use technology to locate, evaluate, and collect information from a variety of sources
This rich resource from Scholastic helps students learn about and write in the genres of myths, folktales, and fairy tales. Writing workshops with professional authors are sure to fire up students' imaginations.
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12
PreK–K, 1–2, 3–5, 6–8, 9–12