Wednesday, August 27, 2014

Fables #2


Today I taught my second progymnasmata-inspired lesson. Last week, my students added dialogue to "The Goose that Laid Golden Eggs." Today, I read the same fable to my students in a variety of ways, and asked them to identify how I had changed, or amplified, the story.

I listed everything on lined posterboard, writing "Add dialogue" as number one...

Amplify a Fable
1)Add dialogue.

Then I read the story like this:
One day a woman going to the nest of her goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering. When she took it up it was as heavy as lead...
And I asked the students to tell me how I had changed the story.

2)Change the characters' gender.

Then I read the story like this:
One day a man going to the nest of his chicken found there an egg all yellow and glittering...

3)Change the type of character.

This could also be demonstrated by changing the man to a robot, or the man to an animal, etc.

Then I read the story like this:
One day in Los Angeles a man going to his apartment's patio, to the nest of his Goose - which he wasn't supposed to have because his lease said no pets - found there an egg all yellow and glittering...
4)Change the setting (place).

Then I read the story like this:
One day in the future a colonist on Mars going to the nest of his Goose found there an egg all yellow and glittering...

5)Change the setting (time).

Then I read the story like this:
One day a man will be going to the nest of his goose and will find there an egg all yellow and glittering... 

And also like this:
One day a man goes to the nest of his goose and finds there an egg all yellow and glittering.When he takes it up it's as heavy as lead and he's going to throw it away, because he thinks a trick has been played upon him. But he takes it home...

6)Change the verb tense. 

Then I read the story like this:
MAN: What's this?!
GOOSE: Honk, honk.
MAN: It's so heavy!
GOOSE: Honk, honk.
MAN: I'm going to throw it away. Someone's playing a trick on me...

And also like this:
A hungry man
holding a pan
went for an egg
from his goose named Peg... 

7)Change the genre.

I got to teach my students the vocabulary word "genre."


This is as far as we got in our half hour lesson. But I'm very excited about future additions to this list! (Ooh, fun! I get to teach in media res!) I'm also excited about teaching my class about the effects that changing one story element has on the rest of the story, including the story's meaning. 

One reason I like this activity is because many students have a hard time getting started writing. They don't know what to write about. This takes away that excuse. If a student still has difficulty starting, give them more limitations. Ask, "What if the man were a woman?" or "What if the story took place in L.A.?"

What if? 

For my first progymnasmata-inspired lesson, click here.

(Image by Milo Winter in public domain.)





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