In third quarter, one of our focus' in language arts is folklore. Specifically, differentiating between fairy tales, fables, tall tales, myths, and legends. This is such a FUN unit! I actually didn't know that all those fell under the "folklore" category until I taught third-grade. Did you learn this in school? Perhaps I just have the worst memory ever. However, learning about the differences between tall tales, myths, legends, fairy tales, and fables is a blast. No wonder the kids love it!

I created my own unit on this since I never could find many resources through my county or on the Internet. It is so stinking cute, I can't even handle it. I love all the little people and characters I used. My students always make comments on the clip art and how much they love it. Great minds think alike :-)

There are a few things that I love doing for this unit.
1. Reading a book of each genre and whole-group creating a chart of characteristics
2. Checking out a stack of folklore and making the categorization of each into a center activity
3. The kids write a folktale of their choice, using the characteristics of the genre that they choose.

Firstly, I put together a booklet for each of the kids. When I say "put together," I mean that I print off the pages and send them through the copy machine to get stapled and double-sided. If I had a big Staples "Easy" button, I could totally push it. EASY EASY EASY.

Each day I devote to learning a new type of folklore and reading the kids a story. We fill out these sheets as well so that the kids understand the characteristics, setting, characters, and setting. For example, I read a Paul Bunyan picture book for the tall tales day. We discussed the book, then went over key characteristics. Here is my chart that I created. Don't I have the best handwriting ever? (HA. My students even write better than me :-( ). If I ever have 5-10 minutes left over at the end of the day, I log onto YouTube and type in "tall tale" or "folktale." There are TONS of read alouds online that are super quick and perfect for letting the day end peacefully while educating my fantastic kiddos.

You'll see on my chart that I put down traditional... not exactly a real category. But I use it to introduce the other ones! It encompasses some of each.
Here's what I read for each category:
Fairy tale: Rapunzel by Paul Zelinsky (a beautiful Caldecott winner)
Legend: King Arthur (I can't remember which one.... but it is a short picture book in our library)
Fable: Fables by Arnold Lobel (Caldecott)
Myths: Book of myths (usually read Pandora's box, Arachne)
Tall tale: Paul Bunyon

I love these posters, so cute. They are also helpful when the kids need to quickly glance to figure out where their book is categorized into!

After we learn about all the types of folklore, I make this a center activity for a week. I get a stack of books from the school library. Students read a book, then categorize it into the proper folklore category on their chart. What I love is that they are reading a variety of fiction and are working on systematically comparing and contrasting literary details.

Finally, the kids get to pick out a type of folktale to write a story on. I LOVE this assignment! The kids are so creative and get really into it. It's so funny to hear their dilemmas about which to write.... a myth or legend?? Tall tale? And then halfway through I often hear "OH wait I am writing a tall tale, not a myth!". I love seeing their minds at work :-)

If you're interested in the package, take a peek here!

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