Writing fairytales and fractured fairytales is a wonderful activity in ANY grade! My class wrote the fractured kind and they were SO creative! I started out the unit by reading lots of funny ones that are easily recognizable. Here are some of my favorites!
Why do fractured fairytales in Workshop? Kids have fun comparing and contrasting them to their old favorites. I must admit that I laugh each time I read the Cinderella one and LOVE reading it in a "snotty, snobby" voice. I love it as much as the kids do! And the one from the wolf's point of view is GREAT to read in a gruff, sneaky voice. YEP- this may be my all time favorite writing unit of the year!!!
The first year that I taught writing the tales I made a HUGE mistake. I REALLY DID! I used these books and then thought that my kiddos could just write fractured fairytales on their own. What I didn't do was assign the reading of the original stories. I had a few of the originals in class, but not enough to go around. My kids NEEDED the original story to follow along with to write their own. So, the 2nd year I tweaked my lessons and it made the biggest difference in the world. Read on to see my tips to make this go easier in your classroom.
1. I let each child write with a buddy. They had to decide together on a tale that they would fracture and they had to discuss the changes first. THIS WAS HUGE in getting the stories to go in the right direction because talking them out let them figure out mistakes before writing them down. WOW! THE COLLABORATION WAS WONDERFUL! They were forced to build on their partner's ideas and find ways to make their stories funny...together! It was almost like they were writing a play because they had to keep their stories flowing. The best part of this was that I paired a weaker writer with a stronger one. It really freed me up to work with less groups and I had less questions because the stronger writer led! I was so surprised at how well the weaker writer shared ideas, too. They LOVED the collaboration and help! Each group ended with a product that they were proud of. I did make sure that I talked through "sharing the responsibility" before starting though. Each member was aware of pulling their weight AND allowing the partner to have ideas.
2. I got the set of Scholastic Easy Readers above. These tales were written at much the same level as my mid-writers. They were easy to follow along and the children could read a little part...talk about how to change it for their story...write it down...then read a little more...and so on. They were PERFECT! My advanced writers added so much more detail, too!
3. I got my students excited to write by creating some CUTE fairytale paper so that their published pieces looked awesome. If you show it to them beforehand they can't wait to use it. I used the one below and they turned out really cute. The picture at the top shows my example that I show them. We even made little puppets of the character that the children held while reading their tales to the class. Now, buddies each wrote their own final copy so that each child had a book and puppet. They looked great displayed all around the room and everyone had a great time reading them over and over!
What else might help a child OR fellow teacher with the fairytale unit? Post it in the comments section!
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