A Bundle of Sticks- Classbuilding

So my year is off and running and my class did our first close reading activity with Aesop’s fable “A Bundle of Sticks.”  I thought it was a great little story to introduce fables (2.RL.2) and also to bring in a little character education at the beginning of the year.

The story tells of an old man with several sons who quarrel. To teach them a lesson, he has each son bring him a stick. He bundles the sticks together and has each son try to break the bundle.  ALAS! They cannot break the sticks.  The moral is that if the sons work together and help one another, they will be stronger.

I used this as an opportunity for a bit of team building.  I explained that in OUR class, we must work together to remain strong and accomplish our goals.  We NEED one another to our share ideas and our strengths.  To make it concrete, I demonstrated with popcicle sticks. I called up a few kiddos and gave them each a stick. Easily, they were able to break the sticks.  Next, I called up another group and bundled their sticks (just with my hands) and gave each of them an opportunity to break them. They couldn’t! It was pretty powerful.  I passed the bundle around and let each kiddo give it a try.  It was a pretty neat way to demonstrate cooperation and teamwork in our classroom.

We also talked about how the characters changed from the beginning of the story to the end.  In second grade, that is 2.RL.3. We made a little anchor chart as we went along:

What kind of things do you do to encourage teamwork in your class?

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