877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #: AELP-STT0200

Source: School Library Media Activities Monthly, (7:1, September 1990)

Grade Levels: 4, 5


  • Language Arts/Story telling
  • Social Studies/Folklore

Library Media Skills Objectives:
The student will make a transparency to use in telling a story about Paul Bunyan.
The student will use story and folklore collections to find an appropriate story to tell about Paul Bunyan.
The student will tell a story about Paul Bunyan. Curriculum (subject area) Objectives:
The storytelling unit may be incorporated into a reading/language arts unit on tall tales or folklore.

Resources :

Anderson, J. I. I Can Read about Paul Bunyan . Troll, 1977.
Blassinggame, Wyatt. John Henry and Paul Bunyan Play Baseball . Garrard, 1971.
DeLeeuw, Adele. Paul Bunyan and His Blue Ox . Garrard, 1968.
Deleeuw, Adele. Paul Bunyan Finds a Wife . Garrard, 1969.
Dramatized Folk Tales of the World. Plays, 1971. pp. 514-525.
Gleiter, Jan and Kathleen Thompson. Paul Bunyan and Babe the Blue Ox. Raintree , 1985. (cassette also available)
Hoffman, Daniel G. Paul Bunyan: Last of the Frontier Demigods . University of Nebraska Press, 1983. (Professional)
Kellogg, Steven. Paul Bunyan: A Tall Tale . Morrow, 1984.
Malcolmson, Anne. Yankee Doodle’s Cousins . Houghton Mifflin, 1941. pp. 229-260.
McCormick, Dell J. Tall Timber Tales . Caxton, 1939.
McCormick, Dell J. Paul Bunyan Swings His Axe . Caxton, 1962.
Rounds, Glen. Ol’ Paul, the Mighty Logger. Holiday House, 1976.
Sabin, Louis. Paul Bunyan. Troll, 1985 . (cassette also available)
Shapiro, Irwin. Paul Bunyan Tricks a Dragon . Garrard, 1975.
Shepard, Esther. Paul Bunyan . Harcourt, 1985.

World Book
Collier’s Encyclopedia
Encyclopedia Americana

Bourinot, A. S. Paul Bunyan. in Helen Ferris’ Favorite Poems Old and New . Doubleday, 1957.
Coffin, R. Bunyan’s Lake. and Paul’s Lullaby. in Robert Peter Tristam Coffin’s Primer for America. Macmillan , 1943.
Hoffman, D. G. How We Logged Katahdin Stream in Louis
Untermeyer’s Magic Circle: Stories and People in Poetry . Harcourt, 1952.
Sandburg, C. The People, Yes . (Various publications)

Adventures of Paul Bunyan: An American Folktale . Guidance Associates, 1970 1 sound filmstrip.
American Fables. Paul Bunyan. Random House, 1969. 1 sound filmstrip in kit of 6.
American Tall Tales: Johnny Appleseed and Paul Bunyan. Child Book and Music , 1985. RD 680
American Tall Tales: Paul Bunyan. Caedmon. SBC 110 1 cassette in kit of 4.
The Legend of Paul Bunyan: An American Folktale. Pyramid , 1973.14 min. 1 film.
Paul Bunyan. BFA, 1970. 11 min. 1 film.
Paul Bunyan. Walt Disney, 1971. 17 min. 1 film.
Paul Bunyan and the Blue Ox. Coronet, 1952. 6 min. 1 film.
Paul Bunyan in Story and Song. Caedmon. TC 1275 1 record
Paul Bunyan: Lumber Camp Tales . Coronet, 1962. 11 min. 1 film.
The Song of Paul Bunyan and Tony Beaver. Spoken Arts , 1967. EM4411 record.

Instructional Roles:
The classroom teacher and library media specialist may share equally in this activity. If storytelling talents prevail, both may tell their versions.

Activity and Procedures for Completion:
The classroom teacher may open the activity with an announcement that the students will help in a grand transparency storytelling festival that focuses on a giant of a man, Paul Bunyan. Some may not be familiar with the figure, so the teacher may select a story to read aloud or may show a film featuring some of Paul Bunyan’s exploits. Following the film or story introduction, the students may be shown a large blank map of the United States. They may be told that Paul Bunyan is credited with a number of exploits across the United States. Students will be divided into small groups to begin to read about Bunyan and to select a part of the United States about which they would like to tell a story.

At this point, the students may be given a bibliography of materials about Bunyan. A sign-up sheet may be shown to the students and they may begin examining the books on the bibliography. Each group must decide on a story or area of the country they would like to feature when they tell their story about Paul Bunyan’s exploits. They must decide on the area and sign-up on the sheet. In order to help the students, the classroom teacher may list some possibilities such as:

Washington-Puget sound
North Dakota
South Dakota
Grand Canyon
Iron mines in Minnesota
Great Lakes
St. Lawrence Seaway
Appalachian mountains
Mojave Desert
Mississippi River
Niagara Falls
Red River Valley

Students will go to the library media center to begin their reading. The library media specialist may help them get started with a short overview of the books available. Some hints about the stories they might find in each book might be shared. Audiovisual materials should be set out so that students may preview and become familiar with some of their options in selecting a story. Some of the stories might be told to the students during a sharing time.

The library media specialist may set up a production center area where students may draw key scenes from the stories that they choose. These scenes will be used to make transparencies for the story telling. The center may focus on both hand drawn and thermal transparencies. Pens and marking pencils may be provided. The library media specialist may introduce the materials to the students and show them how to use the materials and the thermal equipment. A sample Paul Bunyan may be used for thermal copying. A large picture of Paul Bunyan may be drawn based on an illustration in one of the books about the hero. The groups may prepare their transparencies, divide up their stories so that all get a part in the telling, and practice telling the story using their transparencies.

On the day of the storytelling festival, the students may be introduced as the stories unfold. The classroom teacher may explain that the stories show a progression as Paul moved across the United States. Each group may place a copy of the figure of Paul and Babe on the blank map of the United States. After they place their figure on the map, they may tell their story.

Following the festival, the students may complete an assignment using encyclopedias to find out the origin of the tall tales using encyclopedias. The students may be asked a number of questions about the origin of the stories about Paul Bunyan. Students may search for the first book about the figure and the guesses that many have about the reason for the legends. The students may find out about Bunyan’s statue in Bemidji, Minnesota. Following this research, the students may discuss their findings with the classroom teacher.

Evaluation :
The student will read a story about Paul Bunyan, make transparencies of scenes in the story, and retell the story during a storytelling festival.

The student may:


  • Prepare a storytelling festival based on another tall tale figure such as John Henry, Pecos Bill, or others.

These integrated lesson plans and suggestions for teaching library and information skills in connection with various classroom subject areas are provided by LMS Associates and were originally published in School Library Media Activities Monthly. Lessons may be used for the non-commercial purpose of education. All materials are held in copyright by LMS Associates for the magazine, School Library Media Activities Monthly. For more information, contact, LMS Associates; 17 E. Henrietta Street; Baltimore, MD 21230 410-685-8621.