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A Fish Story

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Summary

Students will closely examine and analyze an American tall tale. Students will learn the key features of a tall tale and will compose a tall tale of their own.

Coin Type(s)

  • Quarter

Coin Program(s)

  • 50 State Quarters

Objectives

  • Students will closely examine and analyze an American tall tale.
  • Students will learn the key features of a tall tale and will compose a tall tale of their own.

Major Subject Area Connections

  • Drama
  • Language Arts
  • Social Studies

Minor/supporting Subject Area Connections

  • Art

Grades

  • Fourth grade
  • Fifth grade
  • Sixth grade

Class Time

Sessions: Five
Session Length: 45-60 minutes
Total Length: 151-500 minutes

Groupings

  • Whole group
  • Small groups
  • Pairs

Background Knowledge

Students should have a basic knowledge of:

  • U.S. geography
  • The writing process
  • Fictional writing

Terms and Concepts

  • Quarter
  • Reverse (back)
  • Tall tale
  • Character
  • Setting
  • Hyperbole
  • Resolution

Materials

  • 1 overhead projector (optional)
  • “Minnesota Quarter Reverse” page
  • 1 class map of the United States
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that tells the story of any tall tale (except for Paul Bunyan) such as:
    • American Tall Tales by Mary Pope Osborne
    • Cut from the Same Cloth: Women of Myth, Legend and Tall Tale by Robert D. SanSouci
    • Here Comes McBroom: Three More Tall Tales by Sid Fleischman
  • “Tall Tale Analysis” graphic organizer
  • Overhead markers
  • “Create a Tale” sheet
  • “Tall Tale Rubric”
  • Large sheets of white construction paper
  • 1 copy of an age-appropriate text that tells the story of Paul Bunyan and the creation of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes, such as:
    • Paul Bunyan by Bill Balcziak
    • Paul Bunyan by Sandra Becker
    • Paul Bunyan by Esther Shephard
    • Paul Bunyan and his Blue Ox by Patricia A. Jensen
    • Story of Paul Bunyan by Barbara Emberley 

Preparations

  • Make copies of the following:
    • “Tall Tale Analysis” graphic organizer (1 per student).
    • “Create ATale” sheet (1 per student).
    • “Tall Tale Rubric” (1 per student).
  • Make an overhead transparency (or photocopy) of the following:
    • “Minnesota Quarter Reverse” page
    • “Tall Tale Analysis” graphic organizer
  • Locate an age-appropriate text that tells the story of Paul Bunyan and the creation of Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes (See examples under “Materials”).
  • Cut the construction paper into the shape of a large coin (2 coins per group). 

Worksheets and Files

Lesson plan, worksheet(s), and rubric (if any) at www.usmint.gov/kids/teachers/lessonPlans/pdf/325.pdf.

Session 1

  1. Ask the students if they’ve ever heard of a tall tale and, if so, what one might be. Accept all student responses. If necessary, explain that a tall tale is a story with exaggerated characteristics and accomplishments.
  2. Explain that tall tales are stories that were created as a form of entertainment long before television ever existed. Sometimes these stories changed over time as they were told from person to person, becoming more and more exaggerated. Usually the stories were told in a way that was easy for people to retell.
  3. Ask if the students can think of any tall tales that they may know. Students may remember the stories of Johnny Appleseed, or Pecos Bill.
  4. Introduce the selected text. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what might be occurring at different points in the text.
  5. Read the selected text to the class and attend to any unfamiliar vocabulary.
  6. Display an overhead transparency or photocopy of the “Tall Tale Analysis” graphic organizer and distribute a copy to each student. Explain the three sections and the appropriate thinking by reflecting on the story the students have just heard. Complete each section as a class.
    • Character: Explain that the characters in tall tales have features and traits that are extremely exaggerated. The feats that they perform are also greatly exaggerated. Characters in tall tales usually can be described as strong, courageous, honorable, etc. How would you describe the main character? What characteristics are most exaggerated about him or her?
    • Setting: What was the setting of this story? Would the story have made sense if this story took place in another location?
    • Hyperbole: Hyperbole is the exaggeration used in the tall tale in order to make the story impossible and humorous. What kind of exaggeration was used in this tall tale?
  7. Divide the students into pairs and distribute a copy of the graphic organizer to each pair. Direct the students to work together to complete this sheet.

Sessions 2 through 4

  1. As a class, revisit the “Tall Tale Analysis” chart from the previous session and discuss.
  2. Describe the 50 State Quarters® Program for background information, if necessary, using the example of your own state, if available. Then display the transparency or photocopy of the Minnesota quarter reverse. Locate Minnesota on a classroom map. Note its position in relation to your school’s location.
  3. With the students, examine the coin design. Have the students point out the elements of this design, including the outline of the state of Minnesota, the pine trees, the water, the bird (loon), and the individuals fishing, as well as the words “Land of 10,000 Lakes.”
  4. As a class, discuss what the students can infer about the state of Minnesota by looking at this coin. They should be able to note that the state has many lakes and that people there participate in outdoor activities, including fishing.
  5. Explain that, in groups of three, the students will write tall tales of their own. For each tall tale, they will need to develop a central character that is somehow responsible for creating Minnesota’s 10,000 lakes.
  6. Distribute a “Create a Tale” sheet to each student. As a class, review the assignment as described on this sheet.
  7. Distribute a “Tall Tale Rubric” to each student and review this rubric with the entire class.
  8. Allow enough time for the groups to draft, edit, and write their tall tales.
  9. Distribute two pieces of large white construction paper cut in the shape of a large coin to each group. Each group will use these coins to draw the hero of its tall tale. On the back of this coin, the students will write the questions from their “Create a Tale” sheets, including all the answers.
  10. Finally, each group will use the classroom resources to create costumes and props in order to make a dramatic presentation of its tall tale. The groups should practice their productions before presenting them to the class.

Session 5

  1. Direct the groups to take turns presenting their characters and then their tall tales to the class.
  2. Hang the students’ illustrations in the classroom so that students can see both sides.
  3. Introduce the selected text about Paul Bunyan. As a group, preview the text and illustrations to generate observations about what might be occurring at different points in the book.
  4. Read the selected text aloud. 

Differentiated Learning Options

Videotape the skits for students to use in completing the “Tall Tale Analysis” sheet. 

Enrichments/Extensions

  • Have students read additional examples of tall tales and direct them to analyze the features of the story using a new “Tall Tale Analysis” sheet.
  • Have students compare characters using a Venn diagram. 

Use the worksheets and class participation to assess whether the lesson objectives have been met.

There are no related resources for this lesson plan.

Discipline: Algebra (High School)
Domain: HSA-APR Arithmetic with Polynomials and Rational Expressions
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Perform arithmetic operations on polynomials
Standards:

  • HSA-APR.1. Understand that polynomials form a system analogous to the integers, namely, they are closed under the operations of addition, subtraction, and multiplication; add, subtract, and multiply polynomials. 

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.4 Language
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.4.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Use relative pronouns (who, whose, whom, which, that) and relative adverbs (where, when, why).
    • Form and use the progressive (e.g., I was walking; I am walking; I will be walking) verb tenses.
    • Use modal auxiliaries (e.g., can, may, must) to convey various conditions.
    • Order adjectives within sentences according to conventional patterns (e.g., a small red bag rather than a red small bag).
    • Form and use prepositional phrases.
    • Produce complete sentences, recognizing and correcting inappropriate fragments and run-ons.
    • Correctly use frequently confused words (e.g., to, too, two; there, their).
  • L.4.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use correct capitalization.
    • Use commas and quotation marks to mark direct speech and quotations from a text.
    • Use a comma before a coordinating conjunction in a compound sentence.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.5 Language
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.5.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Explain the function of conjunctions, prepositions, and interjections in general and their function in particular sentences.
    • Form and use the perfect (e.g., I had walked; I have walked; I will have walked) verb tenses.
    • Use verb tense to convey various times, sequences, states, and conditions.
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in verb tense.
    • Use correlative conjunctions (e.g., either/or, neither/nor).
  • L.5.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation to separate items in a series.
    • Use a comma to separate an introductory element from the rest of the sentence.
    • Use a comma to set off the words yes and no (e.g., Yes, thank you), to set off a tag question from the rest of the sentence (e.g., It’s true, isn’t it?), and to indicate direct address (e.g., Is that you, Steve?).
    • Use underlining, quotation marks, or italics to indicate titles of works.
    • Spell grade-appropriate words correctly, consulting references as needed.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: L.6 Language
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Conventions of Standard English
Standards:

  • L.6.1. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English grammar and usage when writing or speaking.
    • Ensure that pronouns are in the proper case (subjective, objective, possessive).
    • Use intensive pronouns (e.g., myself, ourselves).
    • Recognize and correct inappropriate shifts in pronoun number and person.
    • Recognize and correct vague pronouns (i.e., ones with unclear or ambiguous antecedents).
    • Recognize variations from standard English in their own and others' writing and speaking, and identify and use strategies to improve expression in conventional language.
  • L.6.2. Demonstrate command of the conventions of standard English capitalization, punctuation, and spelling when writing.
    • Use punctuation (commas, parentheses, dashes) to set off nonrestrictive/parenthetical elements.
    • Spell correctly.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.4 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.4.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which related ideas are grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • Provide reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • Link opinion and reasons using words and phrases (e.g., for instance, in order to, in addition).
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.4.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic clearly and group related information in paragraphs and sections; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within categories of information using words and phrases (e.g., another, for example, also, because).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.4.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use dialogue and description to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • Use a variety of transitional words and phrases to manage the sequence of events.
    • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: W.5 Writing
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Text Types and Purposes
Standards:

  • W.5.1. Write opinion pieces on topics or texts, supporting a point of view with reasons and information.
    • Introduce a topic or text clearly, state an opinion, and create an organizational structure in which ideas are logically grouped to support the writer’s purpose.
    • Provide logically ordered reasons that are supported by facts and details.
    • Link opinion and reasons using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., consequently, specifically).
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the opinion presented.
  • W.5.2. Write informative/explanatory texts to examine a topic and convey ideas and information clearly.
    • Introduce a topic clearly, provide a general observation and focus, and group related information logically; include formatting (e.g., headings), illustrations, and multimedia when useful to aiding comprehension.
    • Develop the topic with facts, definitions, concrete details, quotations, or other information and examples related to the topic.
    • Link ideas within and across categories of information using words, phrases, and clauses (e.g., in contrast, especially).
    • Use precise language and domain-specific vocabulary to inform about or explain the topic.
    • Provide a concluding statement or section related to the information or explanation presented.
  • W.5.3. Write narratives to develop real or imagined experiences or events using effective technique, descriptive details, and clear event sequences.
    • Orient the reader by establishing a situation and introducing a narrator and/or characters; organize an event sequence that unfolds naturally.
    • Use narrative techniques, such as dialogue, description, and pacing, to develop experiences and events or show the responses of characters to situations.
    • Use a variety of transitional words, phrases, and clauses to manage the sequence of events.
    • Use concrete words and phrases and sensory details to convey experiences and events precisely.
    • Provide a conclusion that follows from the narrated experiences or events.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.4.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including those that allude to significant characters found in mythology (e.g., Herculean).
  • RL.4.5. Explain major differences between poems, drama, and prose, and refer to the structural elements of poems (e.g., verse, rhythm, meter) and drama (e.g., casts of characters, settings, descriptions, dialogue, stage directions) when writing or speaking about a text.
  • RL.4.6. Compare and contrast the point of view from which different stories are narrated, including the difference between first- and third-person narrations.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.4.7. Make connections between the text of a story or drama and a visual or oral presentation of the text, identifying where each version reflects specific descriptions and directions in the text.
  • RL.4.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.4.9. Compare and contrast the treatment of similar themes and topics (e.g., opposition of good and evil) and patterns of events (e.g., the quest) in stories, myths, and traditional literature from different cultures.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.4 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Key Ideas and Details
Standards:

  • RL.4.1. Refer to details and examples in a text when explaining what the text says explicitly and when drawing inferences from the text.
  • RL.4.2. Determine a theme of a story, drama, or poem from details in the text; summarize the text.
  • RL.4.3. Describe in depth a character, setting, or event in a story or drama, drawing on specific details in the text (e.g., a character’s thoughts, words, or actions).

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.5.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative language such as metaphors and similes.
  • RL.5.5. Explain how a series of chapters, scenes, or stanzas fits together to provide the overall structure of a particular story, drama, or poem.
  • RL.5.6. Describe how a narrator’s or speaker’s point of view influences how events are described.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.5 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.5.7. Analyze how visual and multimedia elements contribute to the meaning, tone, or beauty of a text (e.g., graphic novel, multimedia presentation of fiction, folktale, myth, poem).
  • RL.5.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.5.9. Compare and contrast stories in the same genre (e.g., mysteries and adventure stories) on their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Craft and Structure
Standards:

  • RL.6.4. Determine the meaning of words and phrases as they are used in a text, including figurative and connotative meanings; analyze the impact of a specific word choice on meaning and tone.
  • RL.6.5. Analyze how a particular sentence, chapter, scene, or stanza fits into the overall structure of a text and contributes to the development of the theme, setting, or plot.
  • RL.6.6. Explain how an author develops the point of view of the narrator or speaker in a text.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: RL.6 Reading: Literature
Grade(s): Grades 9– 12
Cluster: Integration of Knowledge and Ideas
Standards:

  • RL.6.7. Compare and contrast the experience of reading a story, drama, or poem to listening to or viewing an audio, video, or live version of the text, including contrasting what they “see” and “hear” when reading the text to what they perceive when they listen or watch.
  • RL.6.8. not applicable to literature.
  • RL.6.9. Compare and contrast texts in different forms or genres (e.g., stories and poems; historical novels and fantasy stories) in terms of their approaches to similar themes and topics.

Discipline: Language Arts
Domain: All Language Arts Standards
Cluster: Literature
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students read a wide range of literature from many periods in many genres to build an understanding of the many dimensions (e.g., philosophical, ethical, aesthetic) of human experience. 

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: K-4 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students understand and use similarities and differences between characteristics of the visual arts and other arts disciplines
  • Students identify connections between the visual arts and other disciplines in the curriculum

Discipline: Visual Arts and Music
Domain: 5-8 Visual Arts
Cluster: Standard 6: Making connections between visual arts and other disciplines
Grade(s): Grades K–12
Standards:

  • Students compare multiple purposes for creating works of art
  • Students analyze contemporary and historic meanings in specific artworks through cultural and aesthetic inquiry
  • Students describe and compare a variety of individual responses to their own artworks and to artworks from various eras and cultures