African Legends and Folktales - told for a purpose

Author: Susie Maughan

Grade Level: Early Elementary

Background Knowledge

Objective: Students will demonstrate their understanding of an African folktale and the African oral storytelling tradition, by orally sharing an example of a place they like to be alone and a place where they like to be together with others.

Materials Needed: The Village of Round and Square Houses by Ann Grifalconi


1. Ask students how many of them like to hear stories told to them from their parents or grandparents? Why? Tell students that today they get to hear an African story told by a gran'ma to her granddaughter.

2. Begin by explaining to students about stories. Most stories pass down explanations for certain events and ways of life. Ask students if they can think of some examples of stories that they know that have been passed down from generation to generation. Some might include: Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, etc. Explain to students that these stories are called folktales. Folktales are recognized as fiction.

3. Explain that you are going to read them a book that is an African folktale. Before reading the book explain that Africans have a rich oral storytelling tradition. Most of their stories were told orally. African ancestors created their myths and told their stories for a human purpose. Ask students to listen in the story and see if they can tell for what purpose this story was told from a gran'ma to her granddaughter.

4. Read the book.

5. Ask students what they feel the purpose of this story is? After listening to their suggestions, explain that one of Gran'ma's purposes for telling this story to her granddaughter is to explain to her why they are able to live in peace. Reread the second to the last page. "So you see, Osa, we live together peacefully here-Because each one has a place to be apart, and a time to be together."

6. Have students think-pair-share with a partner of a place they have in their own lives where they like to go and be alone, and also a place where they like to be together with others.

7. After both students have had a chance to share, invite willing students to share with the larger group. They will share their information in the African storytelling tradition (orally).

Evaluation: Listen to students during think-pair-share and in large group sharing.

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