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

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Teacher's Guide:

Voicing an Original Fairy Tale Narrator

creating a unique fairy tale based on three little voices and one big bad voice

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

The intended "mentor text" to be used when teaching this on-line lesson is the picture book The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka. 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 The True Story of the Three Little Pigs from Amazon.com, and you will 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 :

Step one (sharing the published model):  The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka is a humorous story of those three little pigs, but it is told from the point of view of that big and bad wolf. Scieszka’s originality clearly depends on his voice, as we--the readers-- are asked to re-evaluate the story from the antagonist's point-of-view.  This story and writing assignment will give students an opportunity to experiment with writing from another point of view.

Practice this story before you read it out loud, with the passion and feeling it deserves.   But before reading...recall the plot of the story of the Three Little Pigs with your students.  Play the "Twenty-Five-Word Summary Game, where you see if any student (or small group) can write the entire plot down in 25 words or less. 

After enjoying the story, point out the obvious: this story is different because it is told from the wolf’s point of view, which--by itself--isn't a characteristic of voice...but when you talk about how Scieszka made us understand the wolf so well by sharing his perspective...well then, you have voice, my friend.  Point-of-view is easy...adding authentic-sounding perspective is when P.O.V. has an influence on the writing trait of VOICE.  Teachers might also choose to discuss the tone, mood and humor of the story as well after reading Scieszka's fractured fairy tale.

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 should certainly talk about the voice, since that's the focus of this lesson, but you might prompt your students to talk about each model's idea development 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): Students are to select three original little animals and one big bad animal to become characters in an original fairy tale. The interactive button game on the student instruction page has lots of fun possibilities, but students can certainly come up with ideas on their own. If you're interested in writing across the curriculum, you might get creative here when assigning this writing; if science is being studied, for example, you could assign the story of the three little bacteria and the big bad virus.

Student writers are to be inspired by the original story of The Three Little Pigs, but they are to try and tell an original story with their original characters. Have them talk in small groups about plots that might unfold in their original fairy tales. Have them inspire each other with original ideas.

Next, they need to choose one of their four characters to serve as their original tale's narrator. Should it be one of the little animals? Or should it be the big bad animal? Before they leave their small groups, have them discuss the possibilities.

Then...they write...trying to capture their chosen narrator's point-of-view. Remind them that a narrator--like the one in The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs!--has the ability to make his/her audience sympathetic with his/her side. Challenge them to do the same.

As students compose, you might ask them to use this two-page drafting sheet, which requires them to check their own use of voice when their rough drafts are finished.

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 is 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 their 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 free-to-use Writing Lesson of the Month ning.

Check out our lesson on Jon Scieszka's book Science Verse here!

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