Exploring financial concepts and social cohesion through folktales

SubjectEnglish YearSenior secondary Curriculum Time350

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During these learning experiences students engage with traditional tales that expose powerful messages. They build on their understanding of how stories create meaning and demonstrate their learning by creating a twist on a traditional folktale for modern readers. By critically engaging students with traditional stories that have clear lessons, these learning experiences support students to develop financial literacy and ethical understanding. During these experiences, students explore the concept of delayed gratification and the importance of social cohesion as told through traditional folktales.


  • engage in reading and interpreting literary texts, particularly folktales
  • understand how short stories are structured and analyse the messages embedded in texts
  • innovate an existing story to develop a narrative that communicates a message to its intended audience
Australian Curriculum or Syllabus

English–Unit 2

Investigate the representation of ideas, attitudes and voices in texts including:

  • analysing the ways language features, text structures and stylistic choices shape points of view and influence audiences (ACEEN024).
  • analysing how attitude and mood are created, for example, through the use of humour in satire and parody.(ACEEN027).

Create a range of texts:

  • using imaginative, interpretive and persuasive elements for different purposes, contexts and audiences (ACEEN032).
  • using strategies for planning, drafting, editing and proofreading (ACEEN036).
  • using accurate spelling, punctuation, syntax and metalanguage. (ACEEN037).

Reflect on their own and others’ texts by:

  • analysing the values and attitudes expressed in texts (ACEEN038).
  • evaluating the effectiveness of texts in representing ideas, attitudes and voices(ACEEN039).
  • explaining how and why texts position readers and viewers. (ACEEN040)

Teacher resources

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Quotes visualiser

Delayed gratification

Focus questions visualiser

Financial lessons in fables

Student learning resources

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Graphic organiser

Structure of a short story with extended metaphor


The Ant and the Grasshopper


The Goose That Laid the Golden Egg


The meeting of Robin Hood and Little John


The Meeting of Robin Hood and Little John

Assessment task

Senior secondary short story writing task

Suggested activity sequence

This sequence is intended as a framework to be modified and adapted by teachers to suit the needs of a class group. If you assign this activity to a class, your students will be assigned all student resources on their 'My learning' page. You can also hand-pick the resources students are assigned by selecting individual resources when you add a work item to a class in 'My classes'.

Part A: Exploring the concept of delayed gratification

Solo and pair thinking

  1. Display the quotes on the quotes visualiser and invite students to think about what they mean.
  2. Students share their thinking with a partner and decide on a real-life example, or an example from literature that exemplifies the meaning of each quote. Students write their example on a post-it note to display on the classroom wall.
  3. Students read the examples of other students.

Video search and discussion

  1. Pairs of students search the internet for videos that demonstrate delayed gratification. There are several videos available, such as the Marshmallow test.
  2. Pairs view the videos and discuss the feelings different participants may have been experiencing when they made a choice.
  3. Students share their thoughts with the class.
  4. Write the following definition on the board. Delay of gratification: The act of resisting an impulse to take an immediately available reward in the hope of obtaining a more-valued reward in the future. The ability to delay gratification is essential to self-regulation, or self-control.
  5. Students:
    • rewrite the definition using their own words and provide an example that relates to them
    • share their definition with the person next to them.
  6. Discuss student definitions and examples.

Part B: Exploring tools used in stories

Exploring folktales

If students have not been introduced to folktales previously, explain:

All cultures have stories that are shared. A story from one culture may be similar to the story of another culture. These stories are known as folktales which include fables.
In folktales the characters are not well developed, nor the location clearly described. What is more important to the story is that there is usually conflict between good and evil with good usually being rewarded and evil being punished. Often, the purpose of these stories is to teach a lesson or to describe characteristics of one’s culture. The stories are also entertaining.

Exploring morals

  1. Students consider the story of Little Red Riding Hood or The Three Little Pigs.
  2. Think-pair-share:
    • What is the moral of the story?
    • Is there more than one moral? If so, what other morals does this story have?
    • How do these morals have relevance for you?

Exploring the structure of stories and sustained metaphors

  1. Use the Structure of a short story – Graphic organiser to review the structure of short stories.
  2. Explain the meaning of a sustained metaphor.
    A sustained metaphor refers to a comparison between 2 unlike things that continues throughout a series of sentences in a paragraph, or lines in a poem.
  3. Provide an example of a sustained metaphor:
    ‘All the world’s a stage, and all the men and women merely players. They have their exits and their entrances; And one man in his time plays many parts.’ (As You Like It–William Shakespeare)

Part C: Exploring fables that contain a message about delayed gratification

Deconstructing fables

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into pairs.
  2. Pairs read The Ant and the Grasshopper and The Goose that laid the Golden Egg.
  3. Display the focus questions visualiser for pairs to discuss.
  4. Discuss student responses as a class.

Part D: Exploring the concept of social cohesion in folktales

Class discussion

  1. Write the following definition on the board.
    Social cohesion refers to positive social relationships–it is the bond or ‘glue’ that binds people. A socially cohesive society is one which works towards the wellbeing of all its members, fights exclusion and marginalisation, creates a sense of belonging, promotes trust and offers its members the opportunity of upward mobility.
  2. Students:
    • rewrite the definition using their own words and provide an example that relates to them
    • share their definition with the person next to them.
  3. Discuss student definitions and examples.
  4. Discuss why social cohesion is important in our modern world.
  5. Students create a metaphor for social cohesion in pairs and then share their ideas with another pair.

Deconstructing Robin Hood

  1. Students read The meeting of Robin Hood and Little John and complete the worksheet.
  2. Discuss:
    • social cohesion and its importance in the modern world
    • the ‘Robin Hood’ effect and its relationship to the Australian taxation system (that is, giving from the rich to give to the poor).

Part E: Independent writing

Brainstorming in groups

  1. Use a grouping strategy to organise students into groups of 4.
  2. Groups discuss the relevance of the messages in the folktales for teenagers today.

Writing a short story

Students complete the short story task. They should be given at least 2 lessons to write their stories and one lesson to publish their stories using information and communication technology (ICT).