This past year since we finished our homeschool reading lessons with All About Reading*, I am able to dig further into the read alone schedule of Illuminations*, and a few weeks ago the book worked out perfect with our planned homeschool writing assignment, write a fable.
Teaching how to write a fable
I set up the writing assignment by getting out our writing curriculum and reviewing what a fable can be: explains how something happened, might have fantastical elements, might be based on historical events and made larger than life.
Then I showed them the sample fable from the curriculum about Johnny Appleseed.
Finally I gave them the assignement: write a fable that explains something or has larger than life elements to it.
The best writing assignments have further examples to look at
Our study guide this week for Illuminations was Sundiata: Lion King of Mali*, and thankfully my library had it so I snuck down there and got the book.
Sundiata is an example of a fable based on a historical figure with exaggerated elements (this particular picture book is straddling the line between fable and historical fiction).
As I read I had the kids completing the activity in the study guide (completely coloring and covering a page with crayons). Each day I read part of the story and over the course of 3 days they had 3 pages colored.
Preparing the final drafts of their fables
On Thursday the day they were to make their final drafts I told the kids the pages they colored were going to provide part of the basis for their illustrations. The Sundiata book has gorgeous collage pictures, and that was to serve for their inspiration. If they needed extra papers they could pull out of our paper stash to complete their pictures. I’m fairly sure the kids ended up mostly pulling from our construction paper*, but their illustrations turned out great.
Their stories are a bit derivative (I have two variations on Johnny Appleseed, and one variation on The Legend of Sleepy Hollow), but it’s perfectly age appropriate what they did.
Fable assignment rubric
I’m sharing with you the fable rubric I used for their writing assignment. Feel free to share this post with your homeschool group if they’re looking for a rubric, but please SHARE THE POST, not the PDF. Each week when I give them their assignment I give them a rubric which I will grade them from. It’s been interesting seeing how they use their rubrics each week to help them plan their projects and to verify they have everything I’m requiring of them for the week.
As a final step of their writing process they shared their stories with the family. This has a two-fold purpose: first sharing your writing gives you great feedback, and second they can work on improving their presentation skills which they will need as adults all the time.
Phyllis at All Things Beautiful says
This is wonderful. I have never heard of this writing program. What you are doing is really working because I can see a growth in their writing by reading their paragraphs about homeschooling. This lesson is a great idea and I think I will use it! I think Quentin may benefit from the rubric, but James is unable to use them because he cannot tell whether there needs to be corrections in those areas or not, but then I have mentioned that he has severe LD’s. When you were teaching in the public school system, did you ever have students that were unable to use them?
I don’t remember having kids unable to use the rubrics, but I did not have any kids in my classroom with severe LD’s. Maybe have a visual example with each item on the rubric?
Natalie PlanetSmartyPants says
I love how clear your rubric is! I have to share it with my 4th grader to discuss her writing. They wrote fables last year – theirs were based on myths and astronomy unit. Hers was very involved in set up and then she was clearly rushed in trying to wrap up her story. But, hey, it’s a start 😀
Sounds like what Princess ended up with, it was quite involved and had 3 layers of story.
maryanne @ mama smiles says
I remember mmorizing fables as part of my fifth grade curriculum in France. Emma hasn’t learned anything about them yet. Your assignment is great; maybe we will borrow it this summer.
I’ve always been a sucker for fables, so I was happy to see the book in our reading list, and the style it was told in just made me so happy.
Brilliant Ticia! Thank you, this will be very useful!