Lesson Plan, Ancient Chinese Proverbs and Fables for Teachers Illustration

Ancient Chinese Fables and Proverbs for Teachers

Lesson Plan: What is the difference between a proverb and a fable?

A proverb is a statement that teaches a useful lesson.
A fable is a very short story that teaches a useful lesson.

Ancient Chinese Proverbs: Read the first two proverbs (1) and (2) below to the class, with an explanation of the useful lesson. Then read the third proverb and ask what this proverb is trying to teach. In other words, what is the useful lesson?   

(1) Your fingers cannot be of the same length.
Useful Lesson: That is true, and true with life. We canít expect things to be perfect. Or people, either.  

(2) Pick up a sesame seed but lose sight of a watermelon.
Useful Lesson: By worrying about the little things, you may miss the big problem or the big happiness. 

(3) Once you get on a tigerís back, it is hard to get off.
Useful Lesson:

Ancient Chinese Fables: Read two Ancient Chinese Fables. Have students guess the lesson being taught with each fable.

Break your class into groups. Have each group create a fable and a proverb that teach the same lesson, but in different ways. They will need to create a short story fable, and create a proverb statement that teach the same lesson. Give them some time. Then have each group present their fable and proverb to the rest of the class. Can the class guess their lesson? Give the class a brief opportunity to guess, and then have the group tell the class their lesson.

Alternate lesson: The 3 Teachings, Proverbs: Same set up as above, but these are ancient proverbs that match the three teachings - Buddhism, Taoism, and Confucianism. This lesson can be combined with a lesson on Buddhism, Taoism, Confucianism, and/or the three teachings. Remind the kids that the goal was not to trick; the goal was to teach.

Booklets: After school, with a quick cut and paste, make booklets that include all proverbs and matching fables from all groups, but do not include the useful lesson. Give each student a copy on the following day. This allows them to quiz their parents and friends, or to put it away to look at someday, or to toss if they wish. It's not graded. This is a challenging lesson. It sounds simple, but it is not as easy as you might think.