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Teaching Character Through Aesop's Fables

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Kara Rendon-Weisbaum

on 9 May 2014

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Transcript of Teaching Character Through Aesop's Fables

The Lion and the Mouse

Think of a time when you made a promise. Would you say keeping promises were hard?
When someone asks you to keep a promise, what are they really asking you?
Have you ever broken a promise? How did you feel? How did it make the other person feel?
Why do people do favors? Do you think that favors are done so they can be returned?
What do you think the moral of the fable is?

Create an honesty or integrity wall in the classroom. The teacher assigns one bulletin board with a visual representation of a tree without leaves. Attached to the bulletin board is a folder or pocket with paper leaves. The children can record times they caught someone demonstrating honor or integrity and write it on the leaves to put on the trees. By the end of the school year the tree will be full of leaves.
The students can make favor coupons to hand out to teachers or other staff. The favors are like little promises they promise to fulfill when others need help, like assisting a younger student in reading or making copies for teachers or helping to clean up the cafeteria.
Let students buddy up with a partner and create skits of the fable. You can record the skits and send to parents or present at the school during an assembly.
Honor and Integrity
Empathy with Others
When you have a friend over at your house, what are some things you do to make them feel comfortable? Have you ever made someone uncomfortable in your home? Explain what happened with your turn and talk buddy.
Choose a character from the fable. What would you do to make the other character feel more comfortable?
What do you think is the moral of the fable?

Students can write a new ending to the fable pointing out how the characters will not make each other bend to the other's will- two wrongs don't make a right. They can act out their version of the story with their writing buddy.
Have the students invite their families to school for an event. Have the children practice making the invited guests feel comfortable by serving snacks and drinks, providing comfortable seating and entertainment.
Culminating Project for Students
After the unit on Fables is completed and the students have a strong knowledge base on morals, character, virtues and values, you can have a Fable Festival!

The Fable Festival is a chance for the students to create a fable of their own and present it in a medium of their own choosing. They may work independently, with a buddy, or within a small group, based on the needs of the medium used. This is an opportunity for students to demonstrate their self-knowledge, including the capacity for self-criticism. It's important as a follow-up, that students can verbally explain how these positive character traits influence their lives and the lives of others.

They can send out invitations to the administration, staff, and families for the event. Encourage costumes and stage scenery to make it even more spectacular. Afterward, you can turn the class's project into a class book for enjoyment for years to come.
Respect for
Self and Others
Do you have a friend who is very different from you? How do you feel around that person? What do you like about that person?
Why do you think we all look, sound, and act differently? What do you think it would be like if we were all exactly the same?
Think of a friend that lives far away from you, possibly in another town, state, or country. How is their life different from yours? How is it the same?
What do you think is the moral of the fable?

After reading the fable the children can make Venn diagrams of the country mouse and the city mouse. Afterward, they can make one of themselves and a family member.
The children can draw pictures of their own homes and families. Then write a paragraph about what makes their families and homes so special. They can share it with the class or even other classes.
The class or school can have a culture celebration party. Invited guests can bring their family's native or favorite family dish to share with everyone. You can dress in customary clothing and play music from your home country. You can take pictures and/or video the event to put on the school website to display respect for diversity at school.
Kara Rendon-Weisbaum
EDGR 502
Developing Character Through Curriculum

Teaching Character Through
Aesop's Fables

Fable Synopsis:
This story is ideal for teaching children about keeping promises and doing favors. They can also discuss the idea of how size doesn't really matter.

Summary of Fable:
A mouse teaches a lion that keeping your word is honorable and can come from surprising places, like a little mouse.
Key Character Teaching Point:
Say what you mean and mean what you say.
Even the smallest of creatures can save the mightiest of kings.
"Integrity is measured by what one does in the dark." - Unknown
Introduction to My Design

I chose Language Arts as my medium for incorporating character in the curriculum. Fables have been teaching children positive character traits for centuries. The fables utilized in this presentation are; The Lion and the Mouse, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, The Fox and the Stork, and The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf, all from Aesop's Fables.

Each of these fables will focus on character traits I value in my classroom; honor/integrity, respect, empathy, and honesty & trustworthiness. Each story will have a synopsis, story summary, key character teaching point, quote, motivation, and lesson activities. These activities can be done with a second or third grade class.

With these lessons I hope to promote the development of strong moral conscience and character traits that exemplify the core ethics we learned throughout this course.

The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse
Fable Synopsis:
This story is ideal for teaching children about diversity in lifestyles and our different points of view. They can also reflect on the idea that our homes are our safe havens and a place we can be ourselves.

Summary of Fable:
Two mice cousins compare their different lives and realize they each prefer their own over the other.

The Fox and the Stork
Fable Synopsis:
This story is ideal for teaching children about being sensitive to other people.. They can also discuss the reason two wrongs do not make a right.

Summary of Fable:
A fox and a stork have very different needs for eating soup; the fox can lap from a shallow bowl but the stork can slurp her soup from a jar with a long neck. Unfortunately, they do not see eye to eye.

Honesty and Trustworthiness
Have you ever told a lie you wished you hadn't? What happened because of your lie?
Do you think the boy was right to trick the townspeople? What should he have done instead? How do you think the townspeople felt being lied to?
What do you think is the moral of the fable?

Create flashcards with scenarios of events in which children are prone to lie about. i.e.: incomplete homework or breaking something. Have the students read them and think of ways to fix the situation. Have them share their ideas within a small group.
Have the children write a letter to the shepherd boy telling him how they would have handled the situation.
Have the students create a puppet show based on the fable that can be performed in other classrooms demonstrating what they learned about honesty and trustworthiness.
The Shepherd Boy and the Wolf
Fable Synopsis:
This story is ideal for teaching children about honesty and trustworthiness. They can have discussions on the consequences of dishonesty.

Summary of Fable:
A boy who tends sheep plays tricks on his neighbor claiming a wolf is there to eat the sheep. When it really happens, no one believes him.
Aesop's Fables
My Final Project Summary Statement
Personal Core Values
I believe that all students deserve an exceptional education where they learn that they are valued, cared for, they matter to the world, and they can be whatever they wish to be. I believe it's my duty to model good moral behavior for my students. I became a teacher to make a difference and in turn I want my students to do the same. Honor, Respect, Empathy, and Honesty are just a few moral codes we adhere to in my classroom.
Personal Strengths as a Moral Model
My strengths as a moral model are;
I respect the worth and value of all people.
I have a strong sense of self, a clear conscience, positive self-esteem.
I am empathetic.

I hold these values in high regard when working with administrators, staff, parents, and students. I am mindful of other and their needs. I put my students first and I am always there for them when they need me.
Who am I as a Future Educational Leader?
I want to be someone who can look in the mirror and be proud of myself. I want to know that I've done everything in my power to make my students better human beings. I want to model to my students and their families, my peers and supervisors the right character traits and live by them. Being a leader means living an exemplary life that others would want to emulate. I plan to be that kind of leader.
Future Moral Leadership
As a future moral leader, I want to do more than just talk about character education in the classroom. More often than not, I've worked at schools that tell us they want character education in the classroom and then it gets pulled to make room for state tests. I know the tests are important but I want my students to grow into adults that know life is more than just a test score. You are more than a score.

I want to bring a level of respect back to the job of teaching. When I was a child, teachers were revered and honored by everyone. That respect has left us for the most part. When I receive my graduate degree next year, I plan to be the best Curriculum Specialist ever. I will respect the teachers I work with, praise them for their efforts and demonstrate positive attitudes toward my chosen career path. I will promote community and family outreach so the students can truly be raised by a village. We will all work together as a united front to raise children with a solid moral character.
"A fable is a very short story with a moral. They're fun to tell and help teach good behavior as well."

"Aesop was a storyteller. He lived around 2,500 years ago in ancient Greece. Aesop's favorite story to tell was a fable, because they were short and they were fun. His audience would stay interested in the stories he told."

"There is no record that Aesop ever wrote anything down. He probably just remembered the stories he told. But after his death, people who could write did not want to lose the stories he told. They wrote them down. It's a good thing they did, too, or these delightful fables might have been lost forever. Instead, we still enjoy them today."
( Lin Donn, www.mrdonn.org).
Key Character Teaching Point:
Be mindful of other people's needs.
It is better to live comfortably in safety than go above your means in danger.
“Respect is a two-way street, if you want to get it, you’ve got to give it.” – R.G. Risch"
Key Character Teaching Point:
Do unto others as you would have done unto you.
One bad turn deserves another.
"I think we all have empathy. We may not have enough courage to display it."
Maya Angelou
Key Character Teaching Point:
"Crying wolf" can be more trouble than its worth.
A liar will not be believed, even when telling the truth.
"Honesty is the best policy."-
Benjamin Franklin

"Character so conceived has three interrelated parts: moral knowing, moral feeling, and moral behavior.
Good character consists of knowing the good, desiring the good, and doing the good
-habits of the mind, habits of the heart, and habits of action. All three are necessary for leading a moral life; all three make up moral maturity. When we think about the kind of character we want for our children, it's clear that we want them to be able to judge what is right, care deeply about what is right, and then do what they believe to be right-even in the face of pressure from without and temptation from within." (Lickona, p.51).
Kara Rendon-Weisbaum
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