Using Fairy Tales to Debate Ethics
Arts & Humanities
Three fairy tales challenge students to think about honesty, right and wrong, and other questions of ethics.
fairy tale, ethics, honesty, self-esteem, Jack and the Beanstalk, Puss in Boots, folk tale, debate
In this lesson, students consider the ethics of characters in three fairy tales.
Create a two-column graphic organizer for the first two fairy tales above. Print one of the ethical questions raised by the tale at the top of the graphic organizer. Print "Yes" at the top of the first column and "No" at the top of the other. As students share their responses to the questions, write the responses in the appropriate columns.
For a printable comparison chart, see Comparison Chart.
Provide students with a copy of a two-column graphic organizer such as the Comparison Chart. After reading the story "From the Elephant Pit," pose the question Was the hunter better off because he rescued the man from the pit? Let students consider both sides of the question by writing statements in support of a "Yes" and "No" answer in the appropriate columns on their charts. Then give students an opportunity to take a stand; they use the information on their graphic organizers to support that stand.
The lesson ideas above and more are posed in an Education World article by Elaine Lindy, an expert on storytelling for character education and CEO of Whootie Owl Productions. Lindy created the popular children's storytelling Web site, Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By. To find more ideas for using fairy tales in classroom debates, as well as tips for managing a classroom debate on ethics, see the complete Education World article Using Fairy Tales to Debate Ethics.
Students write a brief response to any one of the questions posed in the lesson; in addition, they might draw an illustration to accompany their writing.
Lesson Plan Source
Education World (with resources from Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By
Elaine L. Lindy