LESSON

Why Frogs and Snakes Never Play Together

In this lesson, students will read, act out, hear a reading, or watch a performance of a play that tells the story of a chance meeting in the woods of children from two families—one of frogs, the other of snakes. The frog and snake children develop a wonderful friendship. But when the siblings tell their parents about their new friends, they are told to never play together again. The play addresses the important topic of diversity and will spark a discussion about the topic of prejudice.
Grade Level

Objectives

At the end of the lesson, students will be able to:  

  • discuss a folk tale and interpret its meaning.  
  • write a different ending to a folk tale.
Essential Questions
  • How should people treat other people who may be different from them?
  • How do people develop prejudice, racism and intolerance of others?

Enduring Understandings:

  • People should be accepting of other people and their differences, and find ways to get along regardless of those differences.
  • Humans are born with a natural respect for other people, but they learn prejudice, racism and intolerance from society.
Materials

Vocabulary

  • Porquoi tale [pour kwuh tayl] (noun) a kind of a story that tells explains how or why something in nature came about (for example, how the camel got its hump or the leopard got its spots)  
  • prejudice [prej-uh-dis] (noun) an opinion, feeling, or judgment—formed without knowledge or reason—about a person or members of an ethnic, racial, or religious group  
  • racism [rey-siz-uhm] (noun) a belief that one's race is superior to others and that one has the right to dominate others; also that a particular racial group is inferior to others  
  • tolerance [tol-er-uh ns] (noun) respect, acceptance and appreciation of the rich diversity of our world's cultures, our forms of expression and ways of being human. 

Suggested Procedure

Why Frogs and Snakes Never Play Together: A Pourquoi of Prejudice is a play that promotes tolerance. Here’s how to make the most of it. 

1. Include all students. Casting should not be competitive. Actors can include understudies who take turns playing roles and also participate in the group roles of trees and flowers. Assign multiple students to the narrator role. 

2. Plan simple costumes and props. Keep costumes basic. (For example, green T-shirts for frogs, gray T-shirts for snakes, yellow for sun, blue for moon, brown for trees, bright colors for flowers, white for wind and black for the pourquoi instructor and narrator or narrators.) If there are students who are not acting or reading, assign them to design props. Use poster board to make the sun, moon, wind, flower and trees. Father Frog should hold a large newspaper with a large heading reading The Daily Fly. Parent animals can be sitting watching television, playing cards or cooking. Those activities may be pantomimed or students may create simple sets to accompany the play. 

3. Read the play aloud as a class.  

4. Write the discussion questions on an easel pad. Read them aloud, and encourage students to respond as a group or to write responses individually.  

  • What did the frogs and snakes do when they met each other in the forest? 
  • What did they learn later that night from their parents? 
  • What do the youngest frog and snake do at the very end of the story that brings us hope? Why does it bring us hope?  

5. Discuss with students that the story can have another ending—a different, happy ending that results in everyone being friends. Guide young students, as a group, in developing another closing scene for the story. Invite older students to write their own last scenes. Encourage students to share their work.   

Write these questions on an easel pad to help students come up with ideas for writing their ending:  

  • What might happen if the frogs and snakes continued to play together after they were told not to?  
  • What would the frog parents and snake parents do if they met? 
  • What would happen if the two families were to meet at a park and get to know each other? 

6. Suggested Uses of the Play  

  • Back-to-School night  
  • Parent-Teacher night  
  • As a traveling show where older classes perform for younger classes in the same school  
  • As a traveling show where a middle or high school students travel to an elementary school  
  • As a traveling show for students to perform for community groups 

Options for Early Grades:

Invite parents, guardians or students from upper grades to perform the play for preschool children or kindergartners. You may also invite students to draw the characters on poster boards, cut them out and put them on sticks and perform the play as a puppet show.

Common Core State Standards: ELA-Literacy. CCRA. R.1, R.2, R.3, R.7, W.3, Ws.7, W.9, SL.1, SL.4, L.1, L.4