Aesop’s Fables, the Fur Trade & more!

Happy Thursday!

We learned about Aesop’s fables today, exploring some of the history of this storyteller in Ancient Greece. Aesop was said to have been a slave who earned his freedom sharing his skills telling morality tales staring animals.

Students listened to and discussed the messages of some famous fables, including “The Tortoise and the Hare”, “The Fox and the Grapes” and “The Boy Who Cried Wolf”. Then they took turns practicing their storytelling skills by retelling them in their own words.

We also reviewed our division skills today, and then students had the option to join our math enrichment lesson on BEDMAS (order of operations).

After lunch, we dove deeper into our learning about the fur trade. I brought in my “teaching toolbox” of related props and shared some more of the history from the first contact between the Indigenous peoples and the French and English explorers which drove demand for beaver pelts. We watched several videos, including the following:

We then focused on how trade developed in the region that would eventually become British Columbia, learning about how fish and the sea otter were focal points of trade between Europeans and First Nations.

We were lucky that some grade 4/5 students from another class had already completed a unit on the fur trade last term, and so we took a stroll down the hall to see the great information display they created…

Also, we discussed how history may be understood and retold differently, with different details emphasized/included/omitted, depending on perspective. How would a settler from France describe the events of the first trade era as compared to an English settler, or as compared to a member of one First Nations community or another from a neighbouring region? (And, if animals could talk—as they do in Aesop’s fables—how would a beaver or sea otter retell the history of the fur trade?)

Wrapping up the day, I sang for students a little song I wrote for them to teach students about the history of the fur trade and the ecological impact of extirpating heroic keystone species, like beaver and sea otters. It was a fun time!

HOMEWORK: Keep practicing division as needed. Also, I invited students to go home and retell to a family “The Tortoise and the Hare” or another of Aesop’s fables. A student may also want to retell the fur trade history he/she has learned so far.

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