"I have always imagined that Paradise will be some kind of library." ~ Jorge Luis Borges

Thursday, January 10, 2013

Folktales, fairytales, where are you?

Look for the number 398.2!

This is the rhyme I've been teaching the kindergarten students to help them remember where to find the folk literature we are studying.  
Today we read, The Lion & The Mouse as retold by Jerry Pinkney.  Part of our exploration of folk literature has been the understanding that these stories have a message, that they are told to help the listener understand the world around them or learn an important lesson.  Here are some of the messages the students heard today:

The Lion & The Mouse offers a powerful learning experience.  This beautifully-illustrated wordless picture book has so many wonderful messages.  Prior to beginning the story,  I explained that they would be reading the pictures and that after reading the book we would share the story and its message. If you had been in my library, you could have heard the proverbial pin drop while I was turning the pages.  The information they shared after reading the book was phenomenal.  They had picked up on so many of the subtleties of the story.

I chose a few pages to explore further, one being when the mouse shows up to rescue the lion:
I asked the children to give me an adjective, a good word to describe how the lion is feeling.  The students shared words like: uncertain, doubtful, nervous, unsure, embarrassed.  I love that they were able to read his expression to clearly.  It speaks to Jerry Pinkney's amazing talent.

Here is Jerry Pinkney talking about The Lion & The Mouse.  I will show this to my students next week.

The lesson/moral aspect of these stories has been an interesting aspect of this unit.  Ideas around friendship were the story threads most students heard.  it was interesting though, some of the students are still so concrete, "The lesson is to watch out for traps set by hunters," while others are able to thinking more broadly and hear messages about friends coming from surprising places. Food for my own thought...

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