A pair of students have an assignment to create and tell a fairy tale to the class and are in serious dispute as to the direction the plot will take. The girl wants it traditional; the boy wants it cool.
Kevin O’Malley, Walker and Co, 2005, ISBN 10: 0-8027-8947-1
The Cliff Hanger Game
Divide the class into teams of 4 or 6. Each team starts with a “cliff-hanger”―Once upon a time there was a boy named John who was very happy until the day he stepped off…―The next student takes over and keeps the plot going for a few sentences ending in another “cliff hanger”.
Encourage students to jot a few notes about good plot turns so that they can take the best parts and individually write a story.
Once Upon A…
Another book with the same premise of a boy and a girl wanting different turns in the plot is Once Upon a Golden Apple.
Read both of them to the students and ask students to create their own scenario for a “conflicting collaboration” on a story. They could be making up an excuse for why they came home late from school, explaining how it was that the teacher happened to give them a detention, throwing a birthday party, washing a car, or even creating a different fairy tale, etc.
For 5 creative writing ideas, click Once Upon a Cool Motorcycle Dude to download.
A classic Chinese folktale, of a man who owned a horse and at each turn of fate believed that things were neither as good, nor as bad, as they might seem.
Ed Young, Voyager Books, Harcourt, ©2004, ISBN 0-15-201061-5
Oral Language: The Unfortunately Game
Ask students to stand in a large circle. Start with a line such as “James went to the library.” Continue from there with the next student saying, “Fortunately…”. Students alternate a fortunate, unfortunate circumstance as they go around the circle. This requires students to be a little inventive, and warms them up to the idea of writing their own book. Once students understand the system, playing in smaller groups creates more participation for each individual.
Write Your Own “Perhaps It Might Not Be A Good Thing” Story…
Create a scenario and then write a story in which a character repeats your catch phrase—each time saying “It might not be so great” or “It might not be so bad”. This can involve something simple like forgetting your homework, lunch, library book, etc. It could even be set somewhere such as the middle east, with the issue involving a camel.
The Lost Horse is written in only 207 words in total, and 17 sentences, so it is not a huge challenge.
Create Your Own Wisdom
What do you think the “moral” of the story is? Discuss with the students.
Talk about using the idea of “what I learned from this was…” when they write their own personal writing anecdotes. We take away a lesson from a lot of the things we do in life…that’s how we avoid making the same mistakes over and over again.
For 8 creative writing ideas, click The Lost Horse to download.
Alfred Nobel invented dynamite and became very wealthy. Saddened by its us in war he left his entire fortune to a yearly prize for those “who have rendered the greatest services to mankind.”
Kathy-Jo Wargin, Sleeping Bear Press, ©2009, ISBN 978-1-58536-281-3
Famous Winners of the Nobel Prize
Divide the class into 4 giving you approximately 8 groups. Further divide them until there are 8 groups of 4. Give each group 4 names from the Prize Winners Page to search at NobelPrize.org. As they click each name, they will find a picture of the winner and the biography will give them a description of what the person did that made them a worthy winner of the prize.
Each chooses one of their 4 names and writes from 50-100 words describing their winner. These can be turned into oral presentations if you wish. Have students with the same winner work together.
Nobel Prize Games
NobelPrize.org has more than 10 great games you can play to learn more about the Nobel Prize winners, about science and medicine, as well as a nice “doves game” which would fit in well with the theme of this book. Games include: Laser Challenge, blood typing, Pavlov’s dog, double helix, electrocardiogram, peace doves, split brain, and the immune system. They are really fun to play, and demanding. Click here to visit the Nobel Prize Games.
Origami: The Crane
Because the crane is a symbol of peace in Japan, this can also be a time to introduce the book Sadako and the Thousand Cranes by Eleanor Coerr. This is the story of the little survivor of Hiroshima who succumbs to leukemia—“the atom bomb disease”—and makes a thousand origami cranes in order to wish for peace.
There are several YouTube sites with more information on Sadako—as well as this being a good time to teach students how to make the origami crane.
For 8 creative writing ideas, click Alfred Nobel: The Man Behind the Peace Prize to download.
Little Wolf never likes what is made for dinner: Lamburgers, Sloppy Does, Chocolate Moose—nothing pleases him. All he can think about is “boy”—boy chops, baked boy-tatoes and boys -n-berry pie. On the way home to three pig salad, Little Wolf has the idea of pretending to see a boy. After this trick results in him getting junk food for several nights, his father overhears him bragging to a friend. They refuse to listen to him…even though he has seen an entire troop of boy scouts in the woods, and one even enters the cave. Lesson learned, and the boys, at least, live happily ever after.
Bob Hartman, GP Putnam, 2002, ISBN 0-399-23578-7.
Students should be able to draw the comparisons between this story and the original Boy Who Cried Wolf. If you read them the original story and then this one, they should be able to construct a VENN diagram to compare and contrast the two stories (see the blackline master).
Then you could ask them to brainstorm other stories into which a wolf variation could be included: Chicken Wolf (from Chicken Little), Little Red Wolf (from the Little Red Hen), Wolf and the Beanstalk (from Jack and the Beanstalk – although it will be hard for a wolf to climb), etc. They could then try to write a new a clever version of the story with the wolf as a main character.
Fairy Tales and Fables With Wolves
Many fairy tales, particularly “northern” tales feature wolves…possibly because they were a real danger in the time of the stories. Many of Aesop’s fables also feature wolves, which makes one think that perhaps this is one of the dangers in Greece at the time of Aesop as well.
A list of tales you may wish your students to read and discuss includes:
- Little Red Riding Hood (Grimm fairy tale)
- The Three Little Pigs (Grimm fairy tale)
- The Wolf and the Seven Young Kids (Grimm fairy tale)
- The Dog and the Wolf (Aesop)
- The Wolf and the Lamb (Aesop)
- The Wolf and the Crane (Aesop)
For 5 creative writing ideas, click The Wolf Who Cried Boy to download.