Folktales Around the World

In the spring our second grade students tackle a unit called Folktales Around the World. It spans six weeks and has proven to be an engaging way to end our year. The unit was developed based on the work of Arika Dickens who I highly recommend following on her blog and on Twitter!

Week 1: Australia

I introduce the unit, we discuss elements of folktales, and read Why Koala has a Stumpy Tail. We learn the seven continents song (as in this video); I point to the continents on a map as we sing. We sing this each week of the unit. If time allows we also get our atlases out to take a picture walk.

Week 2: Europe

This week we read the Celtic folktale Too Many Fairies, which provides great opportunities for students to join in by saying the repeated phrases as they come up in the book.  After singing the seven continents song we pull out our atlases and take some time to explore.  Using these slides we talk about physical maps vs. political maps and why you might use each one. If time allows, we answer some of the continent questions using whiteboards.

Week 3: North America

After reading the popular folktale Tops & Bottoms, we pull the atlases out one more time and answer the rest of our questions. If time allows, students can make up a question on the spot and ask their classmates to answer.

You can view and make a copy of the slides HERE

Atlas Work Questions

Week 4: Africa

Give Up, Gecko! serves as our African folktale. Since this shares many similarities with Why Koala has a Stumpy Tail we make a quick venn diagram on the whiteboard and talk through the stories as we fill it out. We try an African dance called Fula Fare (video) taught by some generous members of the San Francisco Ballet and use PebbleGo to do some very simple animal research. 

Week 5: Asia

This week we read The Beckoning Cat and discover the origin of all the waving cats we sometimes see in businesses. We try some Bollywood dance moves (video) and then draw a lucky cat with the folks at Art Hub for Kids (video). 

Jabuti Options

Week 6: South America

Our final folktale is Jabuti, the Tortoise. We talk about how this is our last week because Antarctica doesn't have folks living there besides scientists at research stations. We watch three different types of South American Dance - salsa, paso doble, and tango - then try some salsa ourselves (all videos)! Students then get to select how they'd like to extend their learning.