Children's stories in the high school classroom? Are you crazy? Yes... and yes.

in #steemiteducation2 years ago (edited)

One of the choices for this week's @steemiteducation homework assignment called for community members to write a children's story that could be used in the classroom.

A thousand monkeys working at a thousand typewriters
would definitely write a better novel than I could.

Considering that when I try to write a simple post venting about a pop song, I end up spewing 2100 words onto my screen, I figured it was best not to try and write my own entire book. I'm sure I would end up with an epic novel that could rival War and Peace (in length only) about a Spartan boy who goes off to study at warrior school and discovers he is the chosen one who must defeat an evil warlord who is attempting to return from the dead.


That is the plot of Harry Potter.

See I suck at this.

Knowing my limitations (and not wanting to dedicate half of the school year to my unoriginal 1200 page tome) I decided to share a lesson based on existing children's stories and characters.

Boy do I enjoy stock photos of teaching. It makes it look so easy! Look at those kids hanging on every word. And those aren't even uniforms. The kids just all spontaneously decided to dress in perfectly matching and appropriate clothing. Coincidentally, the class is perfectly split into exactly 4 boys and 4 girls representing a broad range of cultures. Its amazing! It's so perfect that one might think it is fake.

I teach world history to high school students with learning disabilities. Although many of my students have dyslexia and a reading level below third grade, they do not think like third graders. I can't exactly bring in the Magic Treehouse book Hour of the Olympics without insulting them. (Although that FANTASTIC series is the direct cause of my son's passion for reading).

However, I do use four parables, one very famous cartoon character, and a scene from my favorite movie series when I teach about Hinduism and Taoism*.

As with all of my lessons, a huge challenge is to convince the students that they want to learn the material. It would be wonderful if I could simply say, "There are many different religions in the world. You have access to thousands of resources. Go and explore the facts about these religions and then report back." Although these internally motivated and skilled students clearly exist, the overwhelming majority of the fifteen years olds I teach need a bit more motivation and guidance. This is why I am constantly trying to find materials and create activities that will grab their attention and inspire them to want to learn. Although they are only a very small part of the overall lesson, the use of these parables, the cartoon character and the movie clip, are intended to help meet the previously mentioned goals.

That is not poop he is holding... I hope.

The Four Parables

Several years ago, I discovered an amazing collection of Hindu parables titled The Monkeys and the Mango Tree. This book contains 25 parables that teach moral lessons based on Hinduism... and many other religions and philosophies. As a small part of the overall lesson on Hinduism, I chose four stories to read with my class. Although the stories contain Hindu characters, settings, and beliefs, my students can relate to them.

How can American students from a predominantly Christian community relate to these stories? The stories are quite familiar. For example, one of the stories titled, Dahpli Baba is the Hindu take on the Solomon the Wise story of discovering the identity of a baby's mother based on her reaction to the idea of splitting the baby in two. Shankar and His Disciples teaches the lesson that one should "Do as I say, not as I do" (a lesson they have heard from they parents many times). Transformation teaches that people should treat people the way they want to be treated... or the way they would treat their god. Finally, The Lesson illustrates the importance of controlling one's anger.*

Mind blown! Until I realized it is also 1 letter away from "manger". There is nothing really scary about an old school crib. But still... control it.

As we read the stories, I ask text based questions in order to help students understand what they are reading. Most of these questions do not require deep thought. These questions are designed to ensure that students are all "on the same page" when it comes to the details of the story. The deeper thought takes place during our classroom discussion about the meaning of the stories and how they relate to the beliefs of Hinduism. The vast majority of my students do far better with verbal discussions of these deep topics. When I do have a student who performs better when writing, I allow them to display their understanding via an essay. When I have students who struggle with speaking and writing, I may ask them to draw pictures to illustrate their understanding. Basically, I look at each individual student's individual needs and abilities and I find a way for all students to participate and to show what he/she knows.

Here are those questions:

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No matter what method the students use to express themselves, the kids always blow me away with their ability to make connections to Hindu beliefs. Each group is able to connect these stories to the Hindu beliefs about reincarnation, Karma, the Atman, and Moksha. Most seem very excited and engaged as they do it. Many look at this activity like trying to solve a puzzle. It is always fun to watch kids try to stretch themselves to connect a character or event to something I never even thought of. I have found that by analyzing these simple stories, students are able to apply what they have learned and demonstrate that they recognize and understand some of the basic teachings of Hinduism.

When we were done with the lesson, my students and I spontaneously performed a celebratory dance routine...

We didn't even practice this.

No we didn't.

It was closer to this...

But at least they waited until the lesson was finished. Apparently one of those devices is a time machine capable of bringing people back to a time when a BlackBerry was a thing.

In the interest of not creating a War and Peace length post, I will share the famous cartoon character and scene from my favorite movie series in the next installment.

*Note: I teach about several world religions. I preach about none. Part of our required world history curriculum includes teaching the basic facts of several world religions. I would never try to sway students about their own beliefs. The goal is to educate students about what people around the world believe (and how these beliefs shaped history), not to tell them what they should believe.

Images 1, 2, 3, 4, 5

If you would like to earn rewards for this week's @steemiteducation homework assignment, please check out the post here.


The word "DANGER" is also one letter away from the word "GRENADE."
Once you jumble the letters around a little bit.
🤔 😀

What kinds of tests do they give witches?

they give them spell tests

I teach a type of life skills class to little kids. Teaching is nothing like they make it seem on TV and the main diversity in the class isn't the children's backgrounds but their learning and cognitive abilities. In fact, "abilities" isn't really the right word for this. It's not that one child is more able than another. They're just different. If I had a chance to teach them about a book or a story I wouldn't even know how to start due to comprehension. At first I used to get them to all fill out their little booklets with me but now I, because of their uniqueness, I give them a choice whether they want to fill out, just listen, doodle, play with their fidget spinner, or whatever else they'd like. If they had to read a full story ... I'd probably read it to them with frequent stops to let it digest.

Do you know about @steemiteducation? Please check out the feed. We need quality educational content. I think you could really contribute to the project.

Very interesting. I think we'd have to chat about it, maybe over LinkedIn messaging or the Steemit Chat website.

you sound like a very good teacher. We need more human beings like you ^__^

Lol. I only write about the good days. I have plenty that I wouldn't "put in the time capsule". ;)

Maybe you should. They would probably be much, much more interesting 😁😁😂😂

It's a wonderful experience for students to have teachers so in tune with their interests and learning. I wish I had had the benefit of such teachers.

Interesting text, you can learn a lot, rethink some issues and draw the right conclusions.

The school system should be updated because it teaches us nothing about how to manage, invest with your money.

Someone obviously does not want people to gain the right knowledge and get rich.

Wow. This is exactly the approach and the content that is needed in every school curriculum. I wish I had a teacher like this when I was back at school.

I tried creating number 2 homework last night.. I wanted to make a story, but I also thought it would be pretty long so I decided to make a twist on it.. It's really important for students to learn something from stories.. Not just the technical aspects, but also the moral lessons.. Teaching is holistic after all.. ^^

I agree 100%. I hope you post whatever you wrote!

I did... you may check here... I'd love to know your opinion... ^^

For what it's worth, I think the idea of a Spartan youth going to warrior school is a great setup for a book.

Actually now that you mention it...

LOL. All the original ideas or already taken. So why not?

I wish I had a teacher like you when I was in school.

LOL. I only write about my good days. ;)

Reading is one of my hobbies, I love to read and answer questions when i was in high school,presently i love reading novels because it helps my vocabulary and i learn new things when i read a novel,John Grisham is my fav writer.

nice writing :)

nice writing..Thanks for this terrific post. I have loved and used Margaret Wild’s Fox for several years now, but there are some titles you’ve shared that I’m not familiar with- I’m excited to find and read those books!

Hahahaa.... Great write up i must say.

This post was very informative thank you for sharing
you have my upvote plus a resteem
@mannyfig1956 mrazi..friend

Great post! Thanks for sharing! Looking forward for more!

I love that quote: "control your anger.. bcoz its only one letter away from Danger"...
wow.. hats been a revelation :)

Congratulations @hanshotfirst, this post is the second most rewarded post (based on pending payouts) in the last 12 hours written by a Superhero or Legend account holder (accounts hold greater than 100 Mega Vests). The total number of posts by Superhero and Legend account holders during this period was 24 and the total pending payments to posts in these categories was $1229.23. To see the full list of highest paid posts across all accounts categories, click here.

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Very nice teacher of you @hanshotfirst ,the monkey and the mango tree. Sounds very interesting specially talking about religions and philosophies!

Upvoted and Resteem!

I like your post. @hanshotfirst I have followed you

Great write up, can you please visit my blog?

Hello @hanshotfirst

The below quoted contest really helped become a better person intellectually today:

As we read the stories, I ask text based questions in order to help students understand what they are reading. Most of these questions do not require deep thought. These questions are designed to ensure that students are all "on the same page" when it comes to the details of the story.

I owe everything I have been able to learn in life to the above method to above method of teaching.

I teach about several world religions. I preach about none.

If the world can embrace the above quote, then the world would have peace

Keep mentoring us

. @eurogee

Wish my teacher was like you

hehe that was really interesting indeed !!

we dont have these kind of stories in Nigeria

Congratulations @hanshotfirst!
Your post was mentioned in the hit parade in the following category:

  • Pending payout - Ranked 9 with $ 180,22

The best teacher always thinks from the perspective of their children and teaches them accordingly.

very nice post.. love it.. you spend a lot of time.. I hope you would check out my profile and maybe consider to vote for me as witness in the future.

If only i could have a teacher like you when i was a student :)

amazing stories its worth it to read thanks for sharing :)

Very outstanding publication
The content is great to the extreme
Thank you for your great efforts

Very good content
A rude surgeon deserves more appreciation from all members
Greetings to you

This post can happen in a good school because boys need a little bit of fun and fun next to the education of the boys. Thank you.

it is a very noble job you have done. useless human life if not able to give something useful for others. and in fact, it will get a decent reply. thank you @hanshotfirs. i like you .. i will follow you. by @boyasyie

The Panchtantra is a complete storybook - it is a storybook compiled by a Hindu Guru to teach princes' who had learning disabilities. The stories center around animals, folk characters and each story has a definite lesson. Free copies may be available online.
You are a very dedicated teacher. Stay blessed

I remember when I was in high school we were made to write an essay and we were only given a subject to write about. It was then I had an idea to think deeper so I can write about it and expound when I get comfortable into what I was writing about.
Kids should be trained to read because it is the way to discover things as great minds are wide readers and often are far better than most learned or professionals as they say. @hanshotfirst

I'm glad I found your posts! I've been interested lately in writing stories for children and have been trudging steemit looking for folks who might let slip some sort of timeless wisdom about how to go about the task. I hope you don't mind that I read along with you and possibly contribute, if ever I find myself able. Thanks for this post and, I am sure, the others I'll find here.

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