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Fairy Tale Autobiographies
|Grades||5 – 9|
|Lesson Plan Type||Standard Lesson|
|Estimated Time||Eight 50-minute sessions|
Yankton, South Dakota
Students work together in small groups to read, discuss, and analyze fairy tales. After compiling a list of common elements, students collaborate on their own original fairy tales—based on events from their own lives or the lives of someone they know. Each student decides what kind of experience to write about, composes and revises a fairy tale, and then presents their story to the rest of the class. The lesson follows a process method that includes peer review and encourages using picture books from a variety of cultural backgrounds as models. Students share their stories with the class, and the project concludes with individual reflection on the group project and fairy tales.
Fairy Tale Picture Books for Class Exploration: This printable booklist features dozens of fairy tale books that can be used in a variety of lessons.
Literary Elements Map: This online tool can be used by students to create a character map, conflict map, resolution map, or setting map, for stories they are reading or writing.
Plot Diagram: Students can use this open-ended online tool to graph the plot of any story.
Picture books are key to the success of this lesson plan, serving as the models and inspiration for students' own compositions. Katie Wood Ray explains why picture books can be effective in the classroom: "Picture books are short, and so considering a structure at work in a shorter text is much easier than in a longer text" (140). As students explore the fairy tale genre in this lesson plan, first by reading fairy tales and then by writing their own fairy tale stories, picture books are the foundation for their work. Ray suggests why picture books work in situations where students use the texts as models for their own writing: "Once writers get an initial understanding of a certain crafted text structure, they will recognize the structure in many other texts" (141). While students could explore fairy tales in many text formats, picture books are especially suited to this activity, as they provide both the basis for genre exploration and text models for student composition.
Ray, Katie Wood. 1999. Wondrous Words: Writers and Writing in the Elementary Classroom. Urbana, IL: NCTE.