During this week’s inquiry, students examined how people created tall tales to celebrate their heroes. You can always dig deeper into this topic, challenging students to ask questions and make inferences. Try the extensions below!
Source: Select from the resources below to assign students to read or listen to tall tales online.
"American Legends Volume 1: Johnny Appleseed" video from Disney Educational Productions (k-5)
"Pecos Bill Read-Aloud" video from Little Cozy Nook (k-5)
Pecos Bill book by M. J. York on Epic! (k-5)
Paul Bunyan book by M. J. York on Epic! (k-5)
Johnny Appleseed book by M. J. York on Epic! (k-5)
Miss Sally Ann and the Panther book by Bobbi Miller on Epic! (k-2)
The Legend of John Henry book by Heather Lynne Banks (k-2)
Task: Ask students: Does the character in the tall tale…
Have a special trait or talent?
Do impossible things?
Seem exaggerated and larger-than-life?
Source: The story of John Henry has inspired many musicians and a well-known song. Share these resources with students so they can listen.
Sonny Terry – "The New John Henry (1938)": the master of blues harmonica evokes a moving train
Big Bill Broonzy – "John Henry (1951)": classic country blues
Merle Travis – "John Henry (1947)": the folk song is also a country and western standard
Aaron Copland – "John Henry (1940)": a tall tale, arranged for orchestra
Task: Challenge students to develop a creative response to the music.
Suggestion: Create a dance or drum a beat to the rhythm of the railroad.
Suggestion: Create a drawing to represent the sounds of the railroad and the beat of the song.
Source: Select images from the tall-tale postcard collection on the “Smithsonian American Art Museum” website.
Task: Challenge students to analyze the images to identify the impossible elements.
Note: The hunting photos show dead animals.
Task: Challenge students to make their own tall-tale postcard by drawing or collaging an unbelievable adventure.
Source: Prompt students to select work from the weekly inquiry that can benefit from peer feedback.
Task: Hold a virtual class critique of work using Google Hangouts, Zoom, or another video conferencing program.