There is a newer, better version of this unit of study available here: Fairy Tale Unit of Study. It is available in one download and includes many new resources not shared below.
This unit is designed to help you teach retelling and summary writing through the exploration of fairy tales and fables.
Day 1 Immersion On this first day, we brought in stacks of different fairy tales and allowed students to explore. At the end of the time, pull students together to share observations. (You can find some of our favorite fairy tales at the bottom of this post.)
Day 2 Creating an Anchor Chart On the second day we put together an anchor chart by reviewing what we found the day before. Here is a sample of the chart we created: (You can download this chart here: Fairy Tale Anchor Chart) You might also like our Fairy Tale Search to give students practice finding the text features in a literacy center.
Day 3 Sequencing Events After reading aloud a story, divide students into 4 or 5 groups. Give each group an event from the book to illustrate. After the students have illustrated their scence, gather together. Have students put the events in order. Use a bold marker to add the words first, second, next, then and last to each drawing. For this activity we used the book
For our sequencing activity, we chose a bilingual version of Little Red Riding Hood. We liked that it would give extra support to our ESL students and have seen that books written in their native language often give our ESL students an opportunity to teach their classmates new Spanish words.
Day 4 Independently Sequencing Events We repeated the focus of day 3. Students read a fairy tale (you can do this in small groups or independently) and then completed our Fairy Tale Sequencing Chart. You can also find this chart with spots for words here: Fairy Tale Sequencing for Words.
Day 5 Character Traits We read aloud one version of The Three Little Pigs (we chose The Three Little Pigs by Mary-Louise Gay.) After reading, we talked about character traits. We discussed how character traits are different than what a character looks like. We completed this chart as a class to help students understand that the outside is different from the inside: Characters Inside and Out You might also find it helpful to brainstorm a list of character traits with your class (we have some examples here: http://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/2012/06/01/characters-2/)
Day 6 How Characters Respond After reading aloud a fairy tale, talk about the character. Complete our Character Map. We completed this first as a whole group activity. Students then completed their own with a fairy tale they chose.
Day 7 Comparing and Contrasting Different Versions Read aloud two versions of the same fairy tale. (We picked two different versions of The Three Little Pigs.) Work together to complete our Compare and Contrast Venn Diagram. This is an activity that could first be done as a whole class and then repeated independently or in small groups.
If your students need more practice with characters, look here: http://www.thecurriculumcorner.com/2012/06/01/characters-2/
Days 8, 9 and 10 Writing a Summary We used our Summary Writing Scaffolding packet to work on this skill. You will find it here: Summary Writing Scaffolding Link
Fluency Practice Through Readers’ Theater Our favorite part of this unit was when we had our kids work on fluency through skits and plays. You can choose to have kids write their own skits or purchase already written plays. We chose to use the already written plays because we wanted our kids focusing on fluency, not on writing during this time. We found many great options through Amazon, here are a few of our favorites:
Day 11 Introduction to Fluency Practice On this day we introduced the idea of working on the plays. We met as a class and talked about what a play is. We also created an anchor chart that listed things actors and actresses might do to become better actors and actresses. Our anchor chart included ideas such as practice, work to memorize the lines, use actions and use expression.
Day 12 Assigning Plays Before we began on this day, we chose which plays we thought would work best for the students and assigned roles. You might also choose to allow students to audition. Again, we wanted the time to focus on fluency so we did not think this was a good use of our time in order to help us meet our goals. On this day we put students in their groups without telling them their roles. We wanted to make sure students comprehended what was happening in each play so we did not tell students which part they would be. We gave students the time to read through the play and begin to understand the format of plays.
Days 13 and 14 Assigning Roles and Practicing The students couldn’t wait any longer to find out who they would be so on this day, we assigned roles. Once the kids knew who they would be, we had the kids highlight their lines and read through their parts on their own. During this time, teachers in the room helped students who were unfamiliar with new words. Day 13 was reserved for independent practice and then we moved into practice with their groups on day 14. We created this Act it Out form for students to complete about their character.
Day 15 Creating Props and Adding Action We began this day on a mini-lesson of what helps an actor or actress tell their story. We discussed props, scenery and adding action or movement. We gave the students an opportunity to create their own backdrops and props on this day. We created this Setting form for students to complete about where their story takes place.
Day 16 Dress Rehearsal Students practice their entire play with props.
Day 17 The Show On this day we invited families in and had the students present their plays. The kids were very proud of their work and they could see that their repeated practice paid off!
Day 18 Fairy Tale Elements Chart It was hard to get back into the swing of things after so much excitement over the play. For this reason, we made day 17 a whole class activity with many opportunities for discussion and participation. Using the books we had studies, the plays and other books from our classroom stack of fairy tales, we completed a Fairy Tale Elements Chart. We were able to do this on the smartboard as a class but you also might choose to have the students each complete their own.
Our students have loved studying fairy tales! We are thinking we will follow up with a Gingerbread Man unit in December. Check back for this soon!
You might also be interested in our Cinderella activities. You will find them here: Cinderella Stories Activities