Grade: Middle

#4713. Make Your Own Tall Tale

Reading/Writing, level: Middle
Posted 04/24/2013 by Courtney Thatcher (Courtney Thatcher).
Parkview School, Creve Coeur, IL, US
Materials Required: A copy of Pecos Bill, Word Choice Rubric, highlighters, pencils, SMART board
Activity Time: Five Class Periods
Concepts Taught: Writing a Tall Tale, Word Choice

Lesson 1
Students will read an individual copy of "Pecos Bill" for reading comprehension. Teacher will facilitate a discussion about the story to make sure all students understand the exaggerations throughout the story. Then, students will go through the text with a highlighter and highlight any strong verbs, similes, metaphors, uses of imagery, and hyperboles. Students will notice that tall tales are filled with extreme exaggerations and funny situations conveyed by figurative language. Students and teacher will discuss what makes a tall tale different from a folk tale. Students will have already read a variety of fables, folk tales, myths, and fairy tales and know what makes stories fall into the literary genres.

Lesson 2
Teacher and students will review the definition of a tall tale. Students will complete a brainstorming and prewriting activity on tall tale worksheet. This emphasizes adding exaggerations and funny events into the graphic organizer. This will help make students aware of the aspects of a tall tale. Students will create a main character, setting, and plot. Teacher will model this on the SMART Board with her/his own tall tale. The teacher will then conference with small groups to go over their ideas for individual stories.

Lesson 3
Students and teacher will discuss the Word Choice rubric. They will discuss each piece of the rubric and talk about ways to achieve high points on this writing. Students will write the tall tale rough draft with remaining class time and complete for homework. Teacher will be modeling writing the rough draft on the SMART board when kids are writing at their desks. Students may have individual questions and come to board to have them answered. Teacher needs to make sure to model using and finding strong verbs and using figurative language appropriately while working in front of the class. As students to help when the teacher gets stuck!

Lesson 4
Students will share and trade their tall tales with a partner. The partners will read the student's work out loud to the partner. They may need to pause to informally revise the piece. Students will then highlight any strong verbs, similes, metaphors, uses of imagery, and hyperboles in their partners writing. Students will be reminded of the "Pecos Bill" activity. Give the student's ample amount of discussion and highlighting time. If students realize that their tall tale is missing some larger than life events, have them look in the dictionary or thesaurus. When they appear to be finished have the partner "score" the paper using the student rubric guide. This will give the students an opportunity so see what needs to be improved before the final draft has been written.

Lesson 5
Students will work on their final draft in class. Encourage the students to use strong verbs and vivid details in their stories. Students will share examples from their partner's piece. Students can also look over the student version of the rubric to make sure they stay focused on the word choice. Students will be given class time and the night to polish and finish the final draft. When the final draft is complete, have students staple the rubric on the back. Have students self-evaluate their writing using the student word choice rubric.

Students will read their Tall Tales to current fifth graders. Students will be paired up and given time to read allowed to another student. Students will be formally evaluated using the Teacher Writing Guide for Word Choice.