Folktales from all over the world reveal much about giving to others. They reveal a "generosity of spirit" that speaks the language of "giving" whether it be the giving of time, talent or treasure. This unit will look at various types of folktales, from various places, with various morals/lessons.
Learners will identify what constitutes a folktale, describe the different types of folktales, define philanthropy, recognize cultural influences in folktales, analyze motivations for giving and recognize models of "giving" in folktales from around the world.
The learner will:
- define and give examples of six types of folktales.
- describe the origin and purposes of folktales.
- identify characteristics and common themes of folktales.
- analyze the relationship between selflessness and the common good.
- define philanthropy and identify motivations for giving of time, talent and treasure.
- explain the link between philanthropy and folktales.
- use the geographic themes of location, place and human-environment relations to describe settings and cultures represented in folktales.
- identify aspects of various cultures revealed in stories.
- analyze how acts of philanthropy contribute to the common good in folktales.
- determine whether reluctant giving is considered an act of philanthropy.
- analyze how the author’s choice of descriptors reveals the "character" of those in the stories.
- debate the wisdom of hoarding one’s gifts.
- identify and describe symbolism in the folktale.
- analyze the importance of rewards/benefits to philanthropy.
- list examples of opportunity cost in the folktales.
- interpret the naturally generous nature of the main characters in the stories.
- analyze the limits of generosity.
- describe how everyone can be generous, not just those who are hard-working.
- explain why small gifts are just as important as large gifts, especially in community fund-raising efforts.
- rewrite the fables using modern times and situations.
- analyze whether the author’s sequence of events is crucial to a story.
- debate the possibility of a different conclusion to the story and analyze whether it would have been as effective.
- describe the "generosity of spirit" revealed in demonstrating respect for all life.
- decide if there are legitimate reasons why one can be excused from giving to others.
- analyze the conundrum of giving up something you love to get what you want.
- explain how steadfastness can be philanthropic when times are hard.
- describe how greed can blind one to life’s real treasures.
- analyze how the Buddha’s example teaches rulers to behave toward their subjects.
- describe the dangers of pride and the importance of trust in everyday relationships.
- analyze why one character’s actions led to the climactic result.
- determine whether someone acting according to his character can still produce a philanthropic act.
- describe how one person can atone for his or her act.
- analyze what would allow a person to forgive the evildoer after an act of malice.
- analyze personality traits of all characters in the folktale and determine their "generosity of spirit."
- recognize the role of punishment in the story and debate whether the character could have reformed.
- recognize an act of disrespect of a generous gift in a real world news story.
- explain how giving the gift of joy can transform people or their situations.
- describe the eight levels of tzedakah and explain how they transform the idea of generosity.
- describe how tests of patience can strengthen one’s character.
- interpret a person’s character in a role-play through non-verbal actions alone.
- explain how folktales teach.
- determine when to follow the directions of others and when to disregard them.
- describe why it is never too late to show gratitude for a kindness.
- recognize and describe character traits that are valued in Native American culture and explain how folktales help teach the culture.
- define the "Circle of Life" and give examples of it in folktales.
- describe characteristics needed by leaders.
- compare and contrast seven Native American groups and describe defining characteristics of each.
- define hospitality, describe its characteristics and determine if it has limits.
- understand and use the vocabulary of various cultures as revealed in the stories.
- give examples of compassion in the folktale.
- identify real-life situations that are modeled in the stories.
- describe challenges a person who forgives must be willing to face.
- give examples of songs or poems that speak to the idea of forgiveness and express their ideas.
- agree or disagree with points of view about forgiveness.
- define civil society and give examples of organizations related to environmental stewardship.
- point out types of environmental stewardship, name and research organizations in civil society devoted to such work and "promote" their work.
- analyze whether significant character development can occur after one event.
- describe how Anansi stories moved to the New World.
- define reciprocity and serial reciprocity and analyze whether one is more advantageous than the other.
- describe why farmers plant corn, beans and squash together.
- analyze whether an author’s technique for determining character perception in a story is effective.
- use contextual clues to determine the meaning of foreign terms.
- interpret the meaning of various quotations used in the stories.
- analyze what constitutes wealth other than money.
- describe what behavior traits are rewarded and encouraged in a society and what behavior is seen as negative.
- compare traits of generosity in characters in various stories.
- research historic personages and events in the folktales.
- compare qualities needed by ancient leaders and those of modern leaders.
- analyze whether generosity given in the spirit of competition lessens the value of the charitable giving.
- give examples of when frugality and thriftiness are not virtues.
- defend/refute the saying that "stubbornness is the strength of the weak".
- describe how society is weakened when greed and envy replace neighborliness.
- analyze folktale themes that deal with opposites, in particular, "wisdom vs. foolishness" and "age vs. youth".
- suggest other strategies the author could have used to solve problems in the story.
- devise alternative endings to a story which will fit a character’s requirements for a conclusion.
- recommend decision-making advice which would help others in difficult situations.
- calculate the role of "ego" in destroying opportunities for "cooperation" among characters and others.
- select words or phrases in a story that contain hidden lessons or morals.
- illustrate situations that lead to unsolvable/unwinnable arguments.
- reflect on the process of choosing the correct path out of trouble.
- analyze why fear will stop persons from helping others.
- debate what is the best dowry a woman can offer.
- compare the determination of two characters in different stories.
- rewrite the conclusion of a folktale to reflect a symbolic treasure.
- describe how the author’s life is reflected in his story.
- analyze whether the giver or the receiver benefits most from a kindness.
- identify a foundation that encourages random acts of kindness and distinguish how these acts are examples of pro-social behavior.
Essays with rubrics; art, music or poetic representations which incorporate the stories’ geography, cultures and lessons; character evaluation; rewriting of the folktale and its lesson with a modern focus or different endings; crosswords, graphic outlines, letters that reflect the lesson of the folktale; "promotional" creations which feature the work of organizations in civil society which promote the common good; self-reflection on past situations of difficulty and evaluating whether the correct path out of the difficulty was taken; and determining a folktale’s real-life application are used as measures of learning.
"Copy-and-Paste" Class/School Newsletter Information Insert:
"Folktales are for kids." Not really. When was the last time you heard a really good story that forced you to think about situations that are challenging and unsettling and gave hints about how to solve the problems? Folktales have been teaching lessons to young and old for centuries. They are a part of every culture and are treasured. Pair a good folktale with the idea of being generous with your time, talent or treasure, and you have something of value to fill your time. "Generosity of the Spirit" folktales will make you think and reveal a lot about yourself and the ways of the world. Coming...to a classroom near you.
Interactive Parent / Student Homework:
- Learners will share the stories with a family member. They will discuss the stories and make decisions about the appropriateness of the actions taken. They will discuss possible real-life situations where a similar decision might have to be made and determine other possible consequences of such acts.
- Learners will share the stories with a family member and discuss who in the family seems to have a "good heart" and is generous with others. They will analyze whether this was a learned trait or whether it seemed to come naturally.
- Learners will share the stories with a family member and explain that there are times when a person must make great sacrifices to gain greater rewards. Such sacrifices are often made by parents who give up many things they would rather have or do when they start and raise a family. They will ask family members about sacrifices they have made for their families.
- Families will discuss whether "hoarding" or "sharing" of a gift/treasure is wise.
- Learners will share the folktale with a member of the family and ask if they have strong feelings about pets and what they mean to their family. They will discuss what the addition of a pet means to a family and whether or not it changes family dynamics. They will decide whether a family pet can make others more generous.
- Learners will share the story with family members and look for a story in the day’s news which reflects a character in the folktale. The family may be invited to help analyze characters and stories in the news to find the one that is similar in some way to one of the story’s characters.
- At home learners will discuss with their families the idea of having a personal philosophy that governs generosity and giving. If the families already have a giving philosophy, they will explain what it is and how it was formed.
- Learners will share stories with a family member and analyze what would allow a person to forgive the evildoer after an act of malice.
- Learners will discuss with their families the idea of knowing when to follow and when not to follow the advice of others. They will investigate ideas/tips which will help a young person evaluate the advice and take the proper course of action.
- With their families, learners will share a Native American folktale, discuss the efficacy of the vision quest in the story and analyze how a young person in modern society can begin to determine his or her future.
- Learners will share the folktales with their families and discuss the question: "In real life, is it ever possible to overcome a foe by changing the foe rather than destroying him/her?"
- Using any of the folktales from the lesson as a starting point, the learners will share the story with their family and discuss how the "lesson" from the story compares with the family’s understanding and practice of hospitality. They will determine if hospitality is extended only to family or whether it has a wider dimension.
- Learners will share a quote on forgiveness with their families and ask family members whether they agree with the point of view. They will also discuss the importance of families in society and analyze why it is so important for family members to be open to forgiveness for past actions.
- Learners will share a folktale with their families and discuss whether the local government, a church or any other civic group follows a plan for acting as a caretaker of the community’s environment. The family members will discuss whether or not they support the actions of that organization and determine whether or not to provide their support to the group, either as a member or through private actions that improve the environment.
- Learners will ask their family members to share instances when they learned a hard lesson through life’s experiences and discuss whether they could have learned that lesson just as well through a story instead.
- With their family members, learners will discuss the idea of "paying back" a favor vs. "paying it forward." They will borrow from the library or rent the DVD of the movie Pay It Forward and view it together. They will discuss this option of helping others.
- Learners will share the story "Aina-Kizz and the Black-Bearded Bai" with a member of their family. They will then discuss Aina-Kizz’s quote, "But, as wise folk say, a rich family's fortune is in its herds, a poor family's in its children," deciding whether or not they agree with it.
- Learners will share one of the stories with a member of their family. They will discuss recommendations that were made in class regarding advice on reaching the right decision when there are various paths to chose. They will discuss whether or not the advice is workable and look at other possibilities that could be selected.
- Learners will discuss the idea of random acts of kindness with members of their family. If appropriate, they will describe their recently completed act of kindness which was a part of this lesson and encourage others in their family to plan a random act of kindness.
Teacher Note: Each of the twenty lessons in this unit can be taught alone. Select the lesson(s) that are most appropriate for your students and curriculum requirements. It is strongly recommended that Lesson One: Understanding Folktales and Their Philanthropic Connections be taught before any of the other folktale lessons is discussed. The initial lesson provides the background regarding folktales, philanthropy, and motivations for giving that are needed for the other lessons.
Information on the geography of all countries can be obtained from any source. One source that is updated and detailed is "The World Factbook" available on the Internet at http://www.cia.gov/cia/publications/factbook/index.html. Categories of information included are: Introduction, Geography, People, Government, Economy, Communications, Transportation, Military, and Transnational Issues.
See individual lessons for benchmark detail.
Lessons Developed By:
Learning to Give
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