A Picture Book Writing Lesson from WritingFix
Focus Trait: IDEA DEVELOPMENT Support Trait: ORGANIZATION

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Teacher's Guide:

Fairy Tales in New Settings

fracturing fairy tales by moving their times and places

This lesson was built for WritingFix after being proposed by Nevada teacher Kathleen Marshall at an SBC-sponsored inservice class.

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book Bubba, the Cowboy Prince by Helen Ketteman. Before writing, students should listen to and discuss the writing style of this book's author.

To our loyal WritingFix users: Please use this link if purchasing Bubba, The Cowboy Prince from Amazon.com, and help keep WritingFix free and on-line. We thank you!

A note for teachers: These lessons are posted so that you may borrow ideas from them, but our intention in providing this resource is not to give teachers a word-for-word script to follow. Please, use this lesson's big ideas but adapt everything else. And adapt it recklessly; that's how you become an authentic writing teacher.

Teacher Instructions & Lesson Resources :

Pre-step (before sharing the published model):  Most kids are familiar with fairy tales. Take some time to discuss the ones they know and write them on the board. Ask any students from different cultures about the stories they grew up with. Discuss how these stories are known all over the world and are the basis of a wide variety of art, music and literature. Talk about the many stories that have been made into movies or longer novels. Discuss and give some examples.


Step one (sharing the published model):  Tell your students you will be reading a story based on the story of Cinderella. See if anyone can tell the story quickly. Be sure they differentiate between the story and the popular animated movie. Ask students to give the names of the characters and write them on the board. Also write the major events. Have this list up when you read the story, telling them to watch for these characters and events as you read Bubba the Cowboy Prince.

Read the story Bubba the Cowboy Prince. This is a story with a great opportunity to read with expression and fun voices. After reading, have the students correlate the characters and events they identified in the original version of Cinderella with the ones in Bubba the Cowboy Prince.


Step two (introducing models of writing):    In small groups, have your students read and respond to any or all of the student models that come with this lesson.  The groups will certainly talk about the idea development, because of the discussion tool that has been included with each model.  You might prompt your students to talk about each model's organization as well.

WritingFix Safely Publishes Students from Around the World! In 2008, we first began accepting students samples from teachers anywhere who use this lesson. Hundreds of new published students now go up at our site annually!

We're currently looking for student samples for other grade levels for this lesson!  Help us obtain some from your students, and we'll send you a free resource for your classroom!  Visit this lesson's student samples page for details.


Step three (thinking and pre-writing): Tell your students it is now their turn to write original stories based on a fairy tale of their choice.  Have them play with the interactive buttons, or just brainstorm, to come up with fairy tales they like and different settings where they might tell the stories. If your writers have chosen a story from which a popular movie has been made, be sure to check to see that they are using the original version of the story to adapt and not the movie. Explain that the movie is already an adaptation. Have students read an original, non-illustrated version of their chosen story from a book or an online source. A good source for fairy and folk tales online is: http://www.rickwalton.com/folktale/folktale.htm 

Once students have decided on a story and a setting, hand out the organizer. Have the students list the main characters from the original story and the main events on one side of the organizer. On the other side, have them list the characters and events from their new version, noting how they will change. Have them tell their stories in a small group setting and get feedback from other students about their ideas. Then have them write the story, using lots of details to show how original their new version is.

Share Original Graphic Organizers (for Pre-Writing)
from Your Teaching Toolbox.

We share graphic organizers with our peers, we find them in books, and we think we should also be able to find tried-and-true ones online at WritingFix. This year, if you create an original graphic organizer (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original graphic organizers for specific lessons, like this one, can be submitted as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step four (revising with specific trait language):  Two tools for revision are provided below.  You can use one or both, depending on how much time you have to spend on this assignment.

To promote response and revision to rough draft writing, attach WritingFix's Revision and Response Post-it® Note-sized templates to your students' drafts.  Make sure the students rank their use of the trait-specific skills on the Post-it® Note-sized templates, which means they'll only have one "1" and one "5."   Have them commit to ideas for revision based on their Post-It rankings.  For more ideas on WritingFix's Revision & Response Post-it® Note-sized templates, click here.

Share Original Revision Techniques or
Adaptations from Your Toolbox.

Inspired by Barry Lane's Reviser's Toolbox, the WritingFix website encourages its teacher users to adapt our lessons, especially the tools of revision we have posted here. If you create an original revision tool (or adapt one of ours) when you teach this page's lesson, and post it, we might just end up publishing it directly here at WritingFix, and we will post it here, giving you full credit.

  • Original revision ideas from teacher users of WritingFix can be submitted through copy/paste or as an attachment at this link. Look for the "Reply to this Box" beneath the post. To be able to post, you will need to be a member of our free Writing Lesson of the Month Network.

Step five (editing for conventions):  After students apply their revision ideas to their drafts and re-write neatly, require them to find an editor.   If you've established a "Community of Editors" among your students, have each student exchange his/her paper with multiple peers.  With yellow high-lighters in hand, each peer reads for and highlights suspected errors for just one item from the Editing Post-it.  The "Community of Editors" idea is just one of dozens and dozens of inspiring ideas that is talked about in detail in the Northern Nevada Writing Project's Going Deep with 6 Trait Language Workbook for Teachers.


Step six (publishing for the portfolio): The goal of most lessons posted at WritingFix is that students end up with a piece of writing they like, and that their writing was taken through all steps of the writing process. After revising, invite your students to come back to this piece once more during an upcoming writer's workshop block.  The writing started with this lesson might become even more polished for final placement in the portfolio, or the big ideas being written about here might transform into a completely different piece of writing. Most likely, your students will enjoy creating an illustration for this writing as they ready to place final drafts in their portfolios.

Interested in publishing student work on-line? You might earn a free classroom resource from the NNWP! We invite teachers to teach this lesson completely, then share up to three of their students' best revised and edited samples at our ning's Publish Student Writers group.

To submit student samples for this page's lesson, click here. You won't be able to post unless you are a verified member of this site's Writing Lesson of the Month ning.


Learn more about author Helen Ketteman by clicking here.


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