Telling Tales

Podcast #17 – Telling Tales

How much “truth” do we tell kids?
Are “myths, fables, and other good story constructs important?    Horodotus vs. Thucydides  Just the facts or don’t let the facts get in the way of a good story?

How do we teach kids to be good critical thinkers whilst still keeping up good stories?

With the advent of YouTube, and other web pages, how do we teach kids to think critically and still keep alive “fables”?
– The use of allagory in teaching? General Guidelines for Teaching with Folk Tales:  

Advantages of using Allegory (Folk Tale) in Education Pitfalls of using Allegory (Folk Tale) in Education  

  1. Length
  2. Fun!
  3. They are memorable.
  4. Many variations make them easy to compare.
  5. Universal themes
  6. Because they use universal themes, they have many interpretations and are meaningful.
  7. Links to the oral and written literatures of the world.
  8. Links to popular culture and many academic subjects and skills.
  9. Enhance transitions from childhood to adult life.  
  10. Builds connections between children and adults.  

  1. Break the habit of referring to the “writer” as an original source or the “real ” or “correct” version.
  2. Students may react negatively to other cultural norms and will need them explained before going too far into the folk tale.
  3. Beware that the folk tale doesn’t establish a stereotype by generalizing the culture of a region or a people.
  4. Some have a hard time analyzing stories they love from their youth.
  5. Not all folk tale lore is intended for entertaining children.  Some contain adult themes.
  6. Because there are many different versions, details from one can “transfer” to another version of the same tale and potentially confuse students.
  7. Students will need additional instruction in documenting oral, audio, visual, and unpublished sources.

Authority- how does this fit in to the picture?

– J.R.R. Tolkein & The Lord Of The Rings series

– C.S. Lewis & The Chronicles of Narnia series

– Aesop and “Fables”

– Bill Bennett and his series on American Tales

– Davy Crocket Folk Tale
– Dr. Jan Brunvand:  Urban Legends

Media Literacy:


We mentioned Yahoo’s upcoming social network for teachers in

September – and we’ve been checking back from time to time to see

what progress, if any, might have been made. We were intrigued,

frankly, by the idea of a professionally supported social network by

and for teachers. Yahoo has now posted its “beta” version (meaning

“we haven’t worked out all the kinks but would love for you to try it

out”). So try it! One cool feature – any posted lesson plans or

teaching ideas can be rated by users and you can see the items with

the highest ratings (and the most downloads) easily. There’s no cost.

To get into the beta edition, you’ll need this info: username –

yhallpass / password – g0bbler (that’s a zero, not the letter “oh).

Check out all the features and tell them what you think. – Source:  John Norton MiddleWeb  email newsletter.

Note:  This is a beta project.  Many areas are under development and navigating is still a little clunky.  There are a lack of people on the site yet and so the social networking side of things hasn’t quite taken off yet, it appears.