Grade Appropriate units:
This complete unit plan can be taught in 45 weeks, or lesson
components can be taught individually within 15 days as
The focus for students in this age group is to begin learning
the art of story telling through a look at fairy tales and folktales.
Students will practice telling stories out loud as well as writing
them online. Depending on time and curriculum needs, you may want
to pick a specific activity or genre to focus on.
Fairy Tales Project Introduction (1 Day)
Ask students to name fairy tales that they know. Write the responses
on the chalkboard. Then have them talk about why they like fairy
tales. Share a book version of the story of "Cinderella"
or other popular fairy tale. Ask students to point out illustrations
or plot features that make this story a fairy tale. Ask them to
give reasons for their responses.
Read through Discovering
Fairy Tales alone before you assign this page to students.
Read it with the whole class if your students are proficient listeners
and readers. You may wish to paraphrase the page's details or
skip it entirely if your students are mostly novice readers.
Fractured Fairy Tales (34 Days)
As a transition activity, remind students of the previous day's
discussion. Have them recall fairy tale titles. Have students
tell why each story is a fairy tale. Then introduce fractured
fairy tales by defining them as funny versions of fairy tales.
Ask students to make up titles of funny fairy tales.
Fractured Fairy Tales Classroom Activities
Read aloud "The
True Story of the Three Little Pigs" and then lead students
through the activity in "Before Reading the Book" section,
which includes reading aloud The True Story of the Three Little
Pigs! by Jon Scieszka. Have small groups do the compare and
contrast activity. Call on volunteers to tell about two or three
of the group's findings.
Choose one or two of the "Classroom Activities" depending
on available time.
Modify activities as per the following:
Point of View As an alternative to writing, have the class
take a secret ballot vote on A. Wolf's innocence. Ask volunteers
to explain why they voted the way they did. Then have students
draw a picture of a favorite scene in the story of A. Wolf with
a caption explaining why he is innocent or guilty.
A Letter to A. Wolf Write the letter as a whole-group
activity. Allow every volunteer to add a question to the letter
to A. Wolf.
Read All About It Suggest this activity to students showing
proficiency with the project.
Act It Out! Schedule time for each group to have a chance
More Fairy Tale Fun As an alternative to writing funny
versions of tales, have students record the versions on tape or
Create a Fractured Fairy Tale and Post Online (34 Days)
Have students complete a fractured fairy tale version of an original
story. You may wish to take part in story building ideas with
beginner groups. When students are done with their fairy tales.
Read all entries on paper, before allowing students to submit
Checklist for Fractured Fairy Tales
Did the student:
- use fairy tale elements, such as magic, characters with unusual
powers, a story moral?
- include a fractured interpretation?
- use creative language?
- write an original story?
Project Wrap-up (23 Days) Give students time to
finish outstanding activities. If students finish their projects
early, suggest that they take part in another of the suggested
activities with a partner.
Folktales Project Introduction (1 Day)
For students in grades 13, you can continue your genre studies
by studying Folktales and folklore.
Ask students to discuss what they think folktales means. Point
out that folktales are stories passed on from one person to the
next by word of mouth or by oral tradition. Share a folktale from
Nina Jaffe's book Tales for the Seventh Day: A Collection of
Sabbath Stories, or other folktale you are familiar with.
Discuss defining elements of folktale (for example: takes place
anytime, takes place anywhere, animals can talk, etc.) and write
them on the board and have students point out genre characteristics
of the folktale being read aloud.
Folktale Writing With Alma Flor Ada and Rafe Martin (10 Days)
Tell students that now that they have gathered information about
folktales, they are ready to explore writing one. Have students
begin the Folktale
Writing with Alma Flor Ada and Rafe Martin.
1: Folktales: Have groups of three students take turns
reading "Half-Chicken" or "The Shark God."
Ask them to use storytelling voices, and practice fluency through
2: Brainstorming: Read the Brainstorming tips with the
whole class. Use "Half-Chicken" or "The Shark
God" as a model to illustrate tip ideas as you read them.
For example, when reading that the folktale genre entails imagining
the world that acts as the setting, remind students that rivers
and fires can speak in Half-Chicken's world.
3: Write Your Folktale: Suggest that small groups discuss
the Alma's and Rafe's challenges on this page. Remind students
also to refer to the Brainstorming tips as they draft their
- Step 4: Publish
Online: Once they've completed their revision, have
students follow directions to publish their folktale online.
Encourage students to use the Preview option to proofread their
stories one more time before submitting. They should also print
the preview page to hand in for teacher assessment.
Folklore (34 Days)
Have students read "What Is Folklore?" and "Finding
Folklore" and the samples of folklore provided in each. Invite
volunteers to offer an example of each of the following kinds
of lore: "children," "community," "family,"
"behavioral," and "oral." You may wish to
rotate small groups of students to do the online reading or print
out the appropriate pages for students to read offline.
- Tell students they will research folklore with their family
and then publish their findings online.
- Ask students to read "Your Folklore." Print out
a copy of the Research tips.
- Practice interviewing techniques in the classroom before
assigning students to interview parents and family members.
- Have students share their interviews with the class.
- Make a copy of the submission requirements. Post it in the
classroom or distribute copies to students.
- Schedule online publishing slots for each student.
Remind students that folktales were originally told and not written.
Tell students they are going to create an oral version of a folktale.
- About Storytelling Print the page before hand or have
small groups read the page together online, writing down four
main points about folktales. Invite groups to share information
with the class.
- Listen & Watch Download Flash ahead of class time
if you don't already have it. Then invite small groups to view
"How Monkey Stole the Drum" and record the story's
folktale features. Revisit the Folktale Writing Workshop and
listen again to Rafe Martin and Alma Flor Ada reading their
folktales as well.
- Becoming a Storyteller Invite students to choose an
established folktale upon which they will base their oral tale.
Suggest that students plot the following parts when constructing
their outlines: Story Beginning, Story Problem, Story Middle,
Solution, Story Ending. Have students fill these in using the
established folktale. Then suggest that students use the outline
as a framework for constructing an original tale.
- Imagination Exercises Suggest that groups read both
activities and choose the one they want to do to practice their
oral and spatial storytelling skills.
- Telling Tales Together Have students test out their
folktale knowledge by trying this interactive activity.
- It's Your Turn Allow students time to rehearse telling
Project Wrap-up (23 Days)
Give students time to finish up any outstanding activities. Use
this time to schedule a storytelling performance day. Assess students'
proficiency with the storytelling activity by consulting the activity
rubric (see assessment and evaluation). If students complete the
project ahead of time, have them respond in their journals to
the following questions:
How is telling a story different from
reading a story?
What is special about listening to a story
told by a storyteller?
What can you learn from knowing about
What is special about a folktale?