Book I: Aesop
Progymnasma Fable • 3rd - 4th grade
|Theory||The Aesop Series of Books|
|Analysis & Imitation||What to Buy|
|Practice (Writing Projects)||Frequently Asked Questions|
Fable is the beginning step of the ancient Greek writing exercises known
as the progymnasmata. For this exercise we have chosen Aesop,
whose name has become synonymous with fables, as our mascot for the
introductory level of Classical Writing. Aesop gives beginning writers a
gentle introduction to basic grammar, sentence structure, and analysis
and imitation of short narratives. Our aim is retelling those short
narratives accurately and with good writing mechanics. The models in Aesop are
chosen from Aesop’s fables, fairy tales, well-written historical
narratives, Bible stories, and fairy tales.
Aesop is designed to be used during the first two years of writing instruction, typically third to fourth grade. The skills learned in Aesop are a necessary foundation for all that follows in Classical Writing. Even your older students need to master these skills. Usually they can do so in far less time. The Older Beginners series of workbooks guide older students quickly through Aesop and the next level, Homer.
All the grammar needed at
this level is taught in the Aesop text. Using a gentle, sequential
approach, your students will cover capitalization
and punctuation, sentence classification, and direct and indirect
quotations. They will be introduced to the parts of speech and learn the
elementary rules of correct usage.
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In Aesop, we teach a four day routine for analysis and imitation. Each day we work with the weekly model (a fable or story) practice writing.
Day 1: Reading and Comprehension
Day 2: Spelling and Vocabulary
Day 3: Grammar
Day 4: Copywork and Dictation
One of our main goals in using this
method is to help your students begin to develop copia—a
variety of ways to express the same thought.
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Each week, students will write a
retelling of the weekly model. They will learn to retell a story in
chronological order, and to amplify it by
adding dialogue and descriptive details. From the beginning, they will
learn that writing is a process, and that editing is part of
that process. Editing routines are taught step-by-step to make this
process easy. Our student workbooks include editing checklists
for each week’s writing project. These lists also help teachers
evaluate their students' progress.
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Aesop is the non-consumable teacher text for the Aesop
program. For a student starting in the 3rd grade, this book
provides two years of instruction. In order to make Aesop a "pick up and go"
non-consumable Instructor’s Guides have models, daily lesson plans, and teaching helps
included in the text, all designed to keep
you on track. The
accompanying consumable Student Workbooks include a copy of the model for the student
to mark up, space to do most of the exercises for each
week, and editing checklists for each week’s writing project.
Each level of the Student Workbooks and Instructor’s Guides is divided into eighteen weeks, for a total of 36 weeks. This provides plenty of writing instruction for 3rd and 4th graders, with ample time in the school year to apply skills learned in Classical Writing to other subjects. We include additional forms to aid in this.
Although we highly recommend that you use the Instructor's Guides and Student Workbooks, you may plan and schedule your own lessons using just he Aesop text. The optional may be a help to you in this case. It contains models (fables, fairy tales, short historical accounts, and Bible stories). You can use these to build your own lessons. Do not purchase this book if you use the Student Workbooks.
If you have older students starting in the Classical Writing series, please see Place Your Student for additional help in deciding what to buy.
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View the suggested Literature List for Aesop and Homer
Additional Teaching Help for Aesop
For those who would like a course overview and teacher training, the recorded webinar How to Teach Aesop may be helpful. This webinar was taught by Kathy Weitz in the summer of 2010.
For the first year of Aesop work:
For the second year of Aesop work:
Student Workbook B
Instructor's Guide B
Flashcards for Workbooks A and B
How do I know if my student is ready for Aesop?
A beginning Aesop student should be spelling comfortably at a 2nd grade level or higher and reading beginning chapter books independently.
What else should my student be doing along with Aesop?
You will also need:
• a spelling program - we recommend a systematic phonics approach
• a handwriting program
• a typing program - optional, but highly recommended
For 4th graders working in Aesop Student Workbook B, a basic diagramming resource like Mary Daly's First Whole Book of Diagrams is optional; there are also many good resources on the internet for teaching basic diagramming. See our Helpful Links page.
I’d love to buy Classical Writing but we are on a tight budget, and I have many students coming down the line.
Aesop and Homer and Poetry for Beginners are all two year
non-consumable books. All the Instructor’s Guides are non-consumable,
also. In fact, all the core books are non-consumable.
It may be possible to only purchase one Student Workbook and use it as a non-consumable book by having your students do their work on the computer or on separate paper instead of marking up the book.