Five Days to Teach How to Write a Fable

In reading and writing this week in 2nd grade, we were ALL about fables! They are kind of a big deal considering an entire Common Core Standard is dedicated to them.

CCSS.ELA-Literacy.RL.2 Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson or moral.

Well, actually, I started last week when I was being observed.  My lesson required students to identify a major event in the story where a character learned an important lesson.  I taught this in small reading groups and the kids loved it so much, it spilled into this week.  Here’s a breakdown of what we did each day.

Introducing Fables

Day 1: I hadn’t thought ahead too much (I do that sometimes) so I didn’t have any fable books…yet. So I went with my go-to plan B and looked up fables on or Discovery Education–whichever you prefer.  Does your school have a subscription? Not sure what I would do without it.

Discovery Ed. has a whole bunch of Magic School Bus Episodes which is kinda our thing on most Friday afternoons.  My kids have a tendency to assume we are watching Magic School Bus anytime I start typing the website into my browser.  But no sir, it was not Magic School Bus today! Today I was going to do the teaching–step aside Miss Frizzle!

Back to our fable lesson.  We talked about the elements of a fable.  I used a poster from Lessons in Literacy Fable Writing pack.

Fable Writing {RL.2.2}

Then we watched 2 short fable videos and identified the elements focusing mostly on the lesson.  And even though the stories came out and told us the lesson, we still needed to interpret into kid terms.

Next, we took a look at the fable writing planning page also from Lessons in Literacy. We chose some animal characters and identified which one would be the ‘hero’ and which one the ‘villian’.  Although, I like to just say “the one who makes good choices and the one who makes not-so-good choices” because I am not a huge fan of strong labels.

After we chose the characters and setting, I sent them off to work in partners on the fables.  I decided to let them develop their own lesson or moral and the next day we would share them and try to guess what it is.

Identifying the Lesson

Day 2: Honestly, this day wasn’t too magical because I had a meeting to go to during our reading/writing block.  So the kids just finished up their fables and shared them with the class. I hope they tried to guess the morals but I really have no idea since my substitute was gone when I came back. (Don’t worry, another 2nd grade teacher had my class.) When I returned to the room, half the fables were missing and the kids were all over the place so I kind of just gave up on reading those. #teachertruth

Fable Planning

Day 3: This day we were back in action.  I even went to the library before school to pick out some fable books. However, I have a reputation of not looking through books before I read them (I know, it is a horrible habit) and one of the books I picked out had a swear word in it–GASP! Like the word for donkey.  I just skipped over those fables.

We referred to our anchor chart everyday to identify the elements of a fable.  I read some fables and we discussed all the parts. A few were repeats from ones we had read in reading groups but they were slightly different so it was fun to discuss how they were the same and how they were not.

Finally, after we got a lot of ideas from reading fables,  I sent them off to plan for writing their OWN fable this time.  And I let them pick their characters from the character cards which, you guessed it, are found in Lessons in Literacy’s Fable Writing pack (I am not getting paid for this, I just really liked this pack).  Here’s what they looked like:

Choosing their characters from the picture cards (in color!!) was just so much more special than drawing their own picture.  It’s the little things!

Fable Writing

Day 4: Students wrote their fables using their planning page.  As much as I tried to encourage them to write SHORT stories, I still had a few asking for more paper.  You hate to discourage writing at this age so I just let it go.  Even though we talked everyday about fables being short. #ohwell
Despite our mini-lesson on how fable titles usually just list the main characters, my darling below used that space for her name. #ohwellx2

Fable Wrap Up

Day 5: Whew! Here we are at day 5.  I am exhausted just recapping the week despite sleeping 12 hours last night. But this was my favorite day. And not just because it was Friday.  I decided to let my kids use our classroom laptops to listen to fables and record the fable elements on this graphic organizer which is free in my TpT store. (Fun fact: this was my first ever freeie on TpT)
At first, we used the website  I found it that morning and quickly signed up for a free 30 day trial.  I was super excited about using the website since it looked kid-friendly. We listened to a fable and filled out the graphic organizer together first.  Then I proudly sent them off in partners to finish the rest on their own using
Oh, it was SO perfect.  Collaboration and technology.  I thought to myself “Why couldn’t I be getting observed RIGHT NOW?!” Then all of a sudden, kids started yelling out my name.  Many with a frantic tone in their voice. “The website isn’t working, Mrs. Stahl!”
Little did I know, there is a limit to how many students can be logged onto  And we quickly hit that limit within 5 minutes.  I threw my hands up in the air and said “Forget this!”
No, no, I didn’t do that. Instead, I modeled what a good problem solver does.  With the speed of lightening, I hopped on my computer and found some fables on  But, of course, I don’t want my kids to see the ads and all that jazz on YouTube so I had to put them into and add them to our website we use called (You can read how I use that here).
Crises diverted.
Moral of the story: Look before you leap into using a new website.
Happy Teaching!
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