Help guide your students through the fantasy writing process with this fantasy writing unit of study.
So many students have a great imagination. They are excited to attempt fantasy pieces of writing. What we find they often lack is a problem and a solution. We have created this unit of study to help your students write a complete fantasy story. For this unit of study, we do not have children begin writing fantasy stories right away. We first build a good foundation.
You will find the complete, free collection of resources described within this post at the bottom. Click on the bold, green link.
As always we begin our writing unit of study with a day or two of noticings. We pull today our favorite fantasy books in the classroom. We introduce the idea of a fantasy book by reading aloud an example. One of our favorites is a book from The Magic Treehouse series. Students enjoy these and they contain many elements of a fantasy. As we read aloud, we bring up the idea of reality versus fantasy. You will find some of our favorite fantasy mentor texts at the bottom of this post.
Noticings To begin noticings, we partner up students and give them each a book or two that is a good example of a fantasy book. We hand students a few post it notes and give them a chance to search for features of a fantasy text. Remember, this is before we have created an anchor chart so some answers may be true and some may not be. This is ok…both will give you more to discuss when you pull back together as a class. As students complete their noticings, make sure you filter around to talk with the kids about what they are noticing. This activity may last 20 minutes or it may take an hour – it depends on your students. When you feel like most groups are finished, pull back together as a class.
Anchor Charts When you pull back together, create an anchor chart that includes the aspects of a fantasy story that you have found. We have created printable and colorful samples you might choose to use. We have also created a reality anchor chart if your students need a visual to help them compare.
Within the resources, you will find graphic organizers designed for you to give to students along with a fantasy and a reality book. Students look for the differences and fill out the graphic organizer in order to show their understanding.
For an easy literacy center, you will find a card sort for students to sort the events between fantasy and reality. There is also a blank page so that students can create their own events as an extension. Simply print and laminate the blank page and students can use a vis-a-vis marker.
Characters You can choose any favorite book with characters that are not real for this mini-lesson. One of our favorites is Click Clack Moo. We like it because it is a familiar text with many examples of what characters can do that are not real. After reading aloud the story, complete our Character Chart: Real or Fantasy? In our rooms, we then have students complete a chart with another book in small group or independently.
Settings Again, this lesson can be completed with any fantasy book with a good example of an imaginary world. One of our favorites is The Three Little Aliens and the Big Bad Robot (you will find the link to purchase at the bottom of the page.) After reading the book, discuss the fantasy setting. Share how you know the setting is imaginary.
Problem & Solution This is often the most difficult part for students to include in their fantasy writing. Students tend to have a problem, but forget to include a solution. Or, the story created is a list of events without a problem to solve. For this reason, this is a good topic to focus on for more than one day. We like to have students complete a story map or a simple graphic organizer like this one: Problem & Solution. We like to follow the whole group lesson up with an independent practice the following day.
Fantasy Planner Model for students who to create a fantasy planner for their books. Use our Fantasy Writing Planner and plan your own story. At this point you will need to decide if your students are ready to create their own planners or need a little more help before they begin writing. If they need more assistance, continue to the next lesson.
Create a Magical World This graphic organizer can be used at any point in this unit to get your students thinking about their setting.
Brainstorm Session The idea behind this mini-lesson is to get students thinking of all the characters, settings and problems they can write about. We create an anchor chart and tell students to begin sharing ideas. As they share, we record each idea in the correct category. You might have students brainstorm with the class and then record their favorites on their own brainstorming page.
Fantastic Words This simple chart of words might be used as a word wall or simply a tool to get your students thinking about possibilities. Includes a graphic organizer for students who want to make a list of words they will use in their writing.
Capitalizing In order to help students become better writers, we like to include a few grammar focuses in each unit. We have included an anchor chart and checklists for students to use when checking for correct capitalization. Of course, it is always best to first talk about and practice this skill in a mini-lesson and then reviewing as needed. If there are other grammar skills you find students need practice with, review in small groups or with a whole class mini-lesson if needed.
Celebration Every publishing should end with a celebration to celebrate your students’ writing growth! We have included colorful certificates and dedication bookplates for books. Have a great way to celebrate? Please share your ideas below.
***** You can download the complete, free collection here: Fantasy Unit of Study Materials *****
You will find an additional (higher level) fantasy & reality card sort activity here: Fantasy vs. Reality
Now that students have a good grasp of the components of a fantasy book, they are ready to write! As always, we encourage our students to write in books. You will find our blank books here: Blank Books & Papers
You might also like our Fairy Tale Reading Unit of Study!
Thank you to PrettyGrafik for the always cute clip art!