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Tall Tales

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This is a collection of resources to use when teaching tall tales.
Tall Tales
Posted by:ConnieWI #737

Before beginning your study of tall tales, visit your school and public library. Collect all kinds of books about tall tale heroes including Paul Bunyan, Davy Crockett, Johnny Appleseed, Pecos Bill, Slue-Foot Sue, Robin Hood, John Henry, etc. Also, look for a good anthology that your students might not be able to read, but that you can share as a read-aloud. My favorite anthology is Classic American Folk Tales by Steven Zorn.

There are so many tall tales, but here is a list of books I recommend:
I Can Read About Paul Bunyan by J. I. Anderson
I Can Read About Johnny Appleseed by J. I. Anderson
I Can Read About Pecos Bill by J. I. Anderson
The Story of Paul Bunyan by Barbara Emberley
The Story of Johnny Appleseed by Aliki
Pecos Bill by Brian Gleeson
Paul Bunyan by Brian Gleeson
John Henry by...

Download: Characteristics of a Tall Tale.doc (27.136 KB)



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Johnny Appleseed
Posted by:Mrs. G #110069

Johnny Appleseed is one of my favorite Tall Tales. When this was part of our curriculum we would read several versions of the story and have the students do Venn diagrams to compare and contrast the stories. This activity will work with any of the tall tales. We also wrote our own tall tales, then published them by having the students take a long sheet of construction paper and accordion fold it. They would write the story on the accordion folds and it was used as the body of the main character in their story. Then they added a head and feet to the top and bottom of the paper. These were really cute displayed on our bulletin board. :p

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tall tales
Posted by:Rebecca #48894

Here are some tall tales that I have used....Johnny Appleseed(Steven Kellogg's is the best, I think), Pecos Bill, Slue Foot Sue, John Henry, Paul Bunyan.

After discussions on tall tales, the students got into groups (of 3 or 4) and each took a tall tale. They discussed within their groups (I had question cards). They did skits, made a poster, etc. to present to the class.

They made a list of their individual qualities/characteristics. Then they made up a tall tale about themselves and shared. They had fun with it! Don't forget to have them draw pictures.

I have also had them compare books (different authors) of the same tall tale.

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Tall tales
Posted by:Julie #36497

Scholastic has a wonderful book with Tall Tale plays for students to perform and act out. We also have a boasting match. Students use their name and create a tall tale character. Then they use their talents and write exaggerations of them. We then have a boasting match and students boast back and forth using their exaggerations. It's really quite humorous. Of course, depending on your grade level, you'll have to emphasize that boasting is not the most pleasant character trait of a person! As a final project, we create Tall Tales and publish them using the software "Storybook Weaver". Have fun!

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tall tales
Posted by:Linda #64108

I introduced tall tales to a low 5th by giving each one a piece of white butcher paper (every one larger than the other until reached a very large sheet). I then told them they had the entire sheet to draw a fish on. They were given no other directions except to color it. The next day we arranged them in order from smallest to largest. We then talked about how people exaggerate about catching the big fish. They each had to then stand up and tell how they caught their fish. After a couple, the idea caught on and each one tried to top the one before. Hope this may help.

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Whale of a Tale
Posted by:Shelley #88954

Title your door "whale of a tale." Cover it in paper and use watered down paint and sponges to make the paper look aquatic. Have your kids write their favorite fish story/book/tall tale, etc on a whale cut out. You can carry the idea over to tie in a bulletin board as well if your kids then write their own tall tales or "fish stories."



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tall tales video
Posted by:martha #28178

Once you are throught with your unit there is a great video called Tall Tale: The Legend of Pecos Bill starring Patrick Swayze. It is rated PG but it is a great story that I just love and the classes I have shown it to loved it too. It is a very powerful story and has Pecos Bill, Paul Bunyan, and John Henry in it. You can buy it online at Amazon.com.

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tall tale suggestions
Posted by:Christy #50048

I also posted the same thing a few weeks ago but didn't get much response. One cute thing we did was write tall tales about ourselves, or you have them write about two tall tale characters meeting. I got some of that adding machine tape and had them write their stories. The skinny paper made the stories really long and tall. I also had them trace a person on butcher paper and make it look like a tall tale character. The had to draw the setting behind the character and everything. Let me know if you need any more ideas.

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