Aesops Fables

by Camilla Hodgson

Title: Aesops Fables


Author: Camilla Hodgson


Objective: Students will explore physical acting and fables and practice math addition through performing collective versions of Aesops fables.


Grade Level: 2nd Grade


Time: 45 min.



Utah Drama Core

Standard 2.T.CR.5: Create character through physical movement, gesture, sound and/or speech and facial expression based on stories or through improvisation.

2nd Grade Utah Core

Reading: Literature standard 2: Recount stories, including fables and folktales from diverse cultures, and determine their central message, lesson, or moral.


Standard 2.OA.2: Fluently add and subtract within 20.


Materials Needed: Drum. Slips of paper with the fables written on them (from Dramatizing Aesop’s Fables), math problems on PowerPoint slides or on papers.

Fable math Fable scripts



Learning Plan

Hook: Growing to the beat. Have the students come out onto the floor. Start out in a lump, and then grow into the shapes they are instructed as the drum is hit. When the drum stops, the class needs to freeze where they are. When the drum is hit again, the class slowly shrinks back into their lump. Create the shapes of different animals that appear in the fables. Donkey, bee, fox, grasshopper, a tree, crow. Have the students return to their seats.


Instruction: Discuss: What is a fable? (Definition: a short story, typically with animals as characters, conveying a moral.) What is a moral? (A lesson that can be learned from something.)


Call and response: Introduce the call and response pattern: When I say Aesop, you say fables. Then they need to listen for the next part of the fable.


Modelling/Coaching: Model the process of putting up the math problem for “The Boy Who Cried Wolf,” and guiding the students through choosing parts. Put up the math problem that equals five. Have five  volunteers come up in order to coach them through the acting out of the fable. Give them 3 seconds to pick their parts. Instruct the class to watch closely to how this group acts out the fable, because soon they will all be expected to act out fables in a similar way. Coach them as to their physicality in becoming the characters, and also the movement in the story.


Group Performances: The class will collectively perform several fables. They will be in different groups for each fable, since the number of characters vary fable by fable. To get students into groups before performing each fable, put up a math problem on the board, or project on the overhead. The answer to this question is the number of people who need to be in their group for their fable performance.


Beat the drum as they move, and by the time the drum stops, they should be in their groups.

Instructions for choosing roles within groups: “Don’t choose your parts until I say go.” Name the roles in the story. “You from a countdown of three. Go.” “Three, two, one.”” Don’t argue about it. If you got your way last time, this time let someone else get what they want.”


Read and have the groups act out the fables in chunks. Have the groups listen while you read, and then not start their acting until you say “go.”  After each chunk the story is acted out, call the group back to attention using the “aesop’s fables” call and response.


Discussion: After each fable is performed, ask the class what the moral of this fable might be. Take a couple answers. Do not tell the class exactly what you think the answer is. Let them form their own ideas.


Transition: Go through as many of the fables as you have time for. When there are a couple minutes remaining, have the students return to their seats.


Closure: Did you have a favorite fable and why? What did you like that you saw one of your classmates do in a fable performance?