Ms. Leonard taught her Title I fourth graders at Anna Julia Cooper about pourquoi tales- a type of fairy tale that explains why something is the way it is.

First, the students read an excerpt from “Uncle Toad Saves the World,” and Ms. Leonard explained why the story was a pourquoi tale.

Then, students watched a Power Point on characteristics of the Fairy Tale genre and filled in notes.

types of folktales


Next, Ms. Leonard introduced the play “How Animals Got Their Beautiful Coats” and assigned parts.



Below is the first page of the script and includes the list of characters:

characters in Pourquoi Tales


Terms and Vocabulary from the Pourquoi Tales


We discussed terms like script, stage directions, fluency, and expression.

Students worked in pairs to define the following vocabulary words:

  • dangle,
  • suspend,
  • stoke,
  • intention,
  • obstinate,obstinate
  • exquisite.


The fourth graders did several close readings (searching for certain words, conjunctions, etc) of the play prior to reading it out loud.


We discussed attributes of the main characters (Tortoise and Hyena) and the students completed a compare and contrast graphic organizer:

Next, they each wrote a comparison and contrast paragraph.

compare and contrast Porquio Tales characters


compare and contrast Porquio Tales characters


We read the script out loud during group time, and then all twelve students had the pleasure of practicing all together. Finally, they performed it as a whole in front of their 4th grade class. It was a huge success! Ms. Leonard so proud of the students!