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Barbara Meiers
Lesson: Fractured Fairy Tales


Purpose: Write a retelling of a fairy tale changing one or more story elements.

Students learn to organize a story with a beginning, middle, and end by imitating the form as modeled by a well-known tale.
(This lesson is one part of a larger fairy tale unit)

Lesson Format:
1. Opener: (5 min.) Ask, what is a fairy tale? Discuss the elements of a fairy tale, then share “Literary Genre: Folklore” (OH 1). {download pdf version}

2. Have participants brainstorm a list of familiar fairy tales. Share a list of well-known fairy tales (OH 2). Allow time for adding to their list. Explain that they will be working with one of the fairy tales from their list.

3. Introduce fairy tale organizer (OH 3). Working together, fill in the organizer using the Three Little Pigs as a model (7-10 min.). {download pdf version}

4. Read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas (10-12 min.).

5. Go back to the organizer and identify story elements that were changed in the fractured fairy tale
(5-7 min.). Allow time for discussion of personal reactions to the story and techniques employed by author.

6. Share two 3rd grade student organizers (OH 4-5). Participants fill out their own organizers using the fairy tale they have selected to fracture. Encourage writers to work with a partner who has selected the same fairy tale. (5-7min.).

7. Ask participants to circle elements that they will change to fracture their tale, at this point they no longer work with a partner. Share 3rd grade student samples and explain using 2nd organizer (OH 6-7). Filling out this organizer is optional for OWP participants. In a class with less experienced writers, they would fill out a new organizer showing a plan for their fractured tale.

8. Participants write their own version of a fractured tale, following the original plot line is encouraged (8-10 min.). Share two samples of student stories (ESL, high).

9. Count off into groups of three to share stories. Allow opportunity to share with the whole group, suggest one story form each threesome.

10. Share the fairy tale magazine and other possible extensions to this lesson.

The True Story of the Three Little Pigs, Jon Scieszka, Point of View
The Very Smart Pea and the Princess-To-Be, Mini Grey, Point of View
The Frog Prince Continued, Jon Scieszka, New Ending
The Paper Bag Princess, Robert Munch, Stereotypes – Making Choices

Discuss the lesson and how it might be adapted for other grade levels.

* If there is time, share two easy ways for students to make books using paper, folding and cutting techniques.

Extra Tools:

Fairy Tale Chart

Folklore Handout


Fairy Tales to use:

The Three Little Pigs
Cinderella
Chicken Little
The Gingerbread Man
The Princess and the Pea
Puss and Boots
Rapunzel
Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs
Thumbelina
The Frog Prince
The Emperor’s New Clothes
Jack and the Bean stock
Rumplestiltskin
Goldilocks and the Three Bears
Little Red Riding Hood
Rose Red and Snow White