The fossa, is the lemurs’ main predator. They look like a mix between a mountain lion and a weasel. Most kids have never heard of the fossa and they find it fascinating.
In order to help solidify the campers knew knowledge of the fossa, I thought they’d like writing a fairy tale titled, “The Three Little Lemurs and the Big Bad Fossa”.
Before I outline the lesson, you may want to read the quick Lemurs Introduction to learn the background of the lemur lessons and how they can perhaps work well with your local region.
Also, to get a full understanding on how I conduct each writing lesson you may want to read the Writing Prompts Introduction post. The lesson outlined below (and all other prompts posted) will make more sense and be easier to follow and use. Here’s the lined paper I use for Grades K-2 and Grades 2-7
Now for the lesson!
- We discussed a series of facts about lemurs and I wrote a list on the board:
They live in Madagascar
Some lemurs live low to the ground, some live half way up the forest, others live in the top canopy of the forest.
Most are diurnal (awake during the day), some are nocturnal (awake at night).
They stay in groups called ‘troops’.
They love to eat fruit.
They forage for food. Forage means to look for food.
They have an opposable thumb. Their hands work like a mitten.
They are great climbers.
Their long tail gives them balance.
They can’t hang from their tail but can hang from their hands and feet.
They communicate through smell, their smells give other lemurs information.
- I encouraged the students to incorporate at least 3 facts into their fairy tale.
- We discussed materials available to the lemurs in the forest.
Leaves of all sizes, fruit, sticks, bamboo etc.
- We discussed the elements of a story, characters, time, place, problem and solution.
- OPTIONAL: We sang the short, quick, LEMURS song (sung to the tune of BINGO) that I made up to help the students remember how to spell it. Even though I have it written on the board, countless times I’ve read “lemers, leamurs, etc.) Here are the lyrics for you to print out and use. As silly as it is, it drastically improves the spelling of LEMUR!
Now to write!
I guided the students through the following steps. They were free to use their own words. I also reminded them that ANYTHING could happen in their story as long as they followed the steps to keep their story organized. I’ve written examples in italics just for your own guidance.
- Begin by naming the time, location and characters.
Once upon a time, in the land of Madagascar, there lived three baby lemurs with their mama.
- Write what their mama said to them. Name the problem.
One day, their mama gathered them together and said, “Now little ones. You have grown. It’s time for you to forage by yourself and build a safe home to protect you from the fossa.”
- Write what the three lemurs did next.
The three lemurs left their mama together.
- Write what the first lemur built (name the forest location and material)
- Write about the fossa coming to the first lemur.
- Write what the second lemur built (name the forest location and the material)
- Write about the fossa coming to the second lemur.
- Write what the third lemur built. (name the forest location and the material)
- Write the ending of the story.
My campers wrote their stories in the book that they authored and illustrated about lemurs. So, the art accent was their actual drawing. For this lesson, students can simply finish their story by writing the title in marker. (The title is bit long to use ABC stickers.)
GAMES that we played
Spelling/Vocabulary-4-11 Words (Use the words lemur and fossa) –Both of these words hard for the students to spell!
*All background knowledge and information needed for this prompt came from the staff and tours at the Duke Lemur Center.*