You can download the complete collection of resources to accompany this unit by clicking on the bold, purple title towards the bottom of this post.
Day 1: Immersion As we begin any unit of study, we like to give students a day or two to simply explore and look through books. For this unit, collect an assortment of favorite fairy tales, new and old. We like to have enough that small groups of students can have a stack of three or four to explore. On this day, the task students are given is to simply enjoy the books and explore.
Day 2: Noticings This second day is a continuation of immersion. Small groups of students will again be given a stack of books and some Post-It Notes. There task is to record what they “notice” about the fairy tales. They are specifically looking for what makes fairy tales unique, why are the books in their stack considered fairy tales instead of simply a piece of fiction? (NOTE: students who are not familiar with noticings may need more guidance throughout this lesson.) After students have had time to explore and record their noticings, come together to create an anchor chart with the information they have gathered. We have provided three versions. The first has information about fairy tales already added with a purple and green background, the second is similar with fairy tale characters instead of the background. The final version is for teachers who want to create their own anchor chart using just the information your students have gathered. Print and add their observations during your discussion.
Day 3: Fairy Tale Search This fairy tale search is a great way to allow your students to practice what you have taught during your reading workshop mini-lessons! We envision this two-sided search being used in small groups during the immersion process or being placed at a literacy center with a basket of fairy tales. Students search the fairy tales to find the text features they have learned about. Once they find a matching title, they record the title and author. We will leave it up to you to decide if students can use the same book more than once!
Day 4: Sequencing After reading aloud a fairy tale of your choice, divide students into 4 or 5 groups. Give each group an event from the book to illustrate. After the students have illustrated their scene, 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. Another option is for each group of students to have their own fairy tale. Each student will draw a scene and create a display for their book.
Day 5: Sequencing (Independent Activity) Read aloud a different fairy tale. (Students or whole classrooms working at a higher level can choose their own fairy tale to read independently.) Students can complete the “Fairy Tale Sequencing Notes” to organize their thinking. This slip is not designed to be written in complete sentences but to be a small reminder to students of the story as they work. Students can then illustrate the five events or use words to describe them on the graphic organizer.
Day 5: Story Mapping We have included a story map and a retelling hand graphic organizer for students to complete. As always, it is best to model the completion of the organizer you choose with the class so students know your expectations. The story map or retelling hand can then be a task for students to complete during their independent reading time (just make sure your students have a just right fairy tale in their bag of books!)
Day 6: Character Traits Students can have difficulty differentiating between character and physical traits. Help your students develop a deeper understanding with our Character Traits Anchor Chart. This anchor chart lists possible character traits characters can display. We suggest accompanying this chart with a discussion of physical traits characters might have. Read a book and have students practice identifying and supporting character traits the character displays. We have included a graphic organizer you can use for this lesson. As a follow-up, students can complete a graphic organizer independently during independent reading.
Day 7: Character Traits Continued Characters Inside and Out This is another opportunity for students to practice identifying character traits.
Day 8: Focus on the Villain To focus on the villain in fairy tales, we have created a WANTED poster for students to complete. Students will choose a fairy tale and complete the WANTED poster template. There are two templates available, one asks for students to share character traits – it does not list the number required so you may choose as the teacher.
Day 9: Read All About It! Have students complete a book recommendation for their favorite fairy tale. Students should include why they are recommending the book and a picture to catch the attention of others.
Days 10 & 11: Book Talks Students talking about their reading does not happen without practice, use the conversation starter cards we have created to help guide book talks. Copy and laminate the strips. This is another activity where whole class modeling might be a good place to start. Model on the first day and then allow students to practice their own book talks in small groups the following day. We have included a blank page for you to add your own questions.
Day 12: How Characters Respond This activity asks children to think about how characters respond to an important event in the story. This is another activity that should be modeled with students during small group instruction.
Day 13: 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 for additional practice.
Exit Slips There is a collection of exit slips provided at the end of the post that can be used as desired for independent reading tasks.
Additional Graphic Organizers: Fairy Tale Elements Recording Chart, Cause & Effect, Fairy Tale Highlights, Lesson Learned, I CAN Read Fairy Tales
Fairy Tale Celebration: As part of a fairy tale study in my own classroom, I included a focus on fluency with the use of fairy tale reader’s theater scripts I found on Amazon. This was a very high interest activity. The reader’s theater could be a small production where students practice and share with their classmates. Another option is to turn this into a larger project where students create costumes, backdrops and invitations to include families or other classrooms.
***You can download the complete, free fairy tale unit of study here: Fairy Tales: Unit of Study***
Other resources we offer that can be used as a part of your unit can be found below:
Our previous post included a link to our summary writing activities. If you are looking for these, you will find them here: Summary Writing Scaffolding.
Here are a few books you might want to add to your collection (affiliate links included.)