Character Education with Fables

As I’ve been blogging, we are in the middle of our final Common Core Unit on Fables.  In the past, we’ve taught this unit from Thanksgiving to Christmas.  This year, our district moved this unit to the end of the year.

I loved it around the holidays because we could focus our “life lessons” on giving back to others and service projects.

I love it at the end of the year because my firsties are more independent and we have time to do more with the stories…and I’ve even been able to focus on more “springy” fables this time of year too, since we are way past the holidays!

Somehow, no matter when I teach fables, I just fall in love with it!  Fables are classics and I love reading and discussing stories that I treasure from my childhood.

But fables are also my opportunity to share Jesus with my first graders.

As a Christian teacher in a public school, my hands are legally tied.  I cannot freely share my religious beliefs, teach my Bible units, or even start conversations about God…although I will never ever shut a kid down who wants to willingly talk about our Savior during class discussions.

And as a Christian teacher, I see public schools as my mission field.  My calling.  So, when fables just so happen to bring out spiritual truths, I jump all over it.

Common Core calls them, “life lessons.”  My faith calls them, “doctrines,” “spiritual truths,” or even “fruits of the Spirit.”

The education world calls them, “fables.”  My Bible calls them, “parables.”  And many of these fables mirror bible characters’ experiences.

My Christian teacher lens allows me to see the spiritual truths behind the life lessons and weave those thoughts and scriptures into the hearts and minds of my sweeties.

Here is our almost finished Life Lessons anchor chart…

And here are the legal, Biblical conversations these fables have allowed me to have in my room.

The moral says, Treat others the way you want to be treated.
The Bible says, So in everything, do to others what you would have them do to you.  Matthew 7:12.
The Bible says, Be kind one to another, tenderhearted, forgiving one another, even as God, for Christ’s sake forgave you. Ephesians 4:32

The moral says, Slow and steady wins the race.
The Bible says, I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful. 2 Timothy 4:7
The Bible says, Don’t you realize that in a race everyone runs, but only one person gets the prize? So run to win!  All athletes are disciplined in their training.  They do it to win a prize that will fade away, but we do it for an eternal prize.  So I run with purpose in every step.  I am not just shadowboxing.  I discipline my body like an athlete, training it to do what it should. 1 Corinthians 9:24-26

The moral says, Hard work pays off.
The Bible says, So whether you eat or drink or whatever you do, do it all for the glory of God. 1 Corinthians 10:31.
The Bible says, Lazy hands make for poverty, but diligent hands bring wealth. Proverbs 10:4
The Bible says, For whatever a man sows, that will he also reap. Galatians 6:7

The moral says, Always tell the truth.
The Bible says, Truthful lips endure forever, but a lying tongue is but for a moment.  Proverbs 12:19.
The Bible says, You shall not bear false witness.  Exodus 20:16.

The moral says, Be happy with what you have.
The Bible says, For I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances. Philippians 4:11.

We have had some powerful and very spiritual conversations the past several weeks.  As silly as it may sound to you, I know God was directing those discussions…helping me plant a seed…however tiny it might be.

So, even though May is upon us and the end of the year crazies are about to begin, I’ll continue to focus on teaching fables because I may be the only spiritual voice these kiddos have in their lives.  And that is not something I take lightly.  That is a calling that will push the end of the year crazies back just a couple more weeks for this Christian teacher teaching in a public school.  Thank you, Common Core, for giving me a unit to express my religious beliefs in a legal way…And thank you to my Savior, Who has guided these discussions in a way that is most meaningful to my firsties.  Because people need Jesus.  Including my first graders.  And I want to choose to be Jesus to them every opportunity I get!

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