The tall tale is a unique kind of folk story--an exaggerated account of a
real or fictional person. When the pioneers began moving westward, they
faced a huge and unknown wilderness. The task of taming such a land probably
seemed overwhelming, so these early settlers originated humorous stories that
boasted about far-fetched ways of overcoming real hardships. Tall tales were
a way for people to brag about the personal qualities necessary to meet--and
beat--the challenges of frontier life.
Part I Becoming a Tall Tale Expert
Step 1: In class, watch a tall tale video of your teacher's choice.
Step 2: As a whole class we will complete a story map on the chalkboard about
the tall tale we just watched. The story map will include the setting, the
characters - noting their realistic and exaggerated
qualities, and the events - both realistic and exaggerated.
Step 3: On your own, read - Paul Bunyan
Step 4: With your group, complete a story map like the one we did together in
class for Paul Bunyan and turn it into your teacher.
Step 5: Tall tales get much of their humor from exaggeration and hyperbole.
An exaggeration is possible (i.e. I am so hungry I could eat the whole
pizza. While hyperbole is an exaggeration that is impossible (i.e. I am so
hungry I could eat a horse). On your own, write five sentences using
exaggeration or hyperbole. Turn in this completed assignment.
Step 6: As a group, compare and contrast the two tall tale characters we've
studied. Turn in this completed activity.
Step 7: On your own, look over the following list of heroes' characteristics.
Choose the five that you feel are the most important and write a paragraph
explaining why you chose the characteristics you did. Turn in this completed
larger than life tough self-sacrificing courageous strong
persevering clever problem-solving creative powerful
compassionate thrifty star performer eccentric inventive
independent energetic highly skilled resourceful virtuous
hard-working storyteller self-sufficient unselfconscious
Part II: Becoming An Expert On The Florida Everglades
This part is broken down into three roles. You must choose a role and
complete the activities listed for that role by clicking on your expert's
link above or on the home page.
Florida Everglades Locale Expert
Florida Everglades Weather Expert
Florida Everglades Animal Expert
Proceed to Part III only after each of you have completed the activities for
Part III: Writng An Original Tall Tale
A. Come together to share what you've learned about the Florida Everglades.
B. As you complete the following steps, fill in a detailed story web like the
ones we completed in Part I.
1. Using the Locale Expert's poster, work together to decide on the setting
for your tall tale (i.e. A Mangrove Forest).
2. Using the Weather Expert's graph, work together to determine the month in
which your story will take place. (Hint: Think about how a lot of rain, or
very little rain and the temperature could play a role in your tall tale.)
3. Using the Animal Expert's list, work together to agree upon an animal to
use in your tall tale.
4. As a group, brainstorm some things that this animal could realistically do
and also think of some exaggerations that you could use. (Hint: You may want
to refer back to the animal expert's links to learn more about the animal you
5. Now it's time to think about your tall tale character. To help you
organize your thoughts, on a separate sheet of paper, work through the tall
tale character outline found on the home page. Remember to use exaggeration
and hyperbole when developing your character.
6. Now you need to brainstorm together some of the events that will take
place in your story. What types of adventures will your hero encounter?
Again, I'm looking for humor through the use of exaggeration and hyperbole.
7. Your group should now turn in their complete detailed story map for a
final review before proceeding.
8. After your story map has been approved, it's now time to write your tall
tale! Combine your knowledge about the Florida Everglades with what you
learned in Part I about exaggeration and hyperbole to be as outrageous,
funny, and far-fetched as you can be. Think about the tall tales we read and
the elements of a tall tale and tall tale hero.
9. Refer to the tall tale rubric found on the home page to proofread your
tall tale together and make any necessary changes.
10. Now it's time to write your final draft and "mail" it to Whoppers-Are-Us
magazine for consideration in their contest. Good Luck!!