Thursday, May 9, 2013

Fairy Tales: comparing and summarizing

Last year I combined all of the activities that I've used over the years and made a little fairy tale unit. That is one of my favorite units! I thought that this year I would just pick and choose from that unit and my planning/prep would be all done. Sounds like a plan, right? Well clearly I have a problem! I just had to add to it and give myself more work. I can't help myself. You know how it is: every class inspires you in different ways. Every year I read the same fairy tales, but new ideas always pop into my head. Sometimes it has to do with a question from a student or something that a few of them need to work on. Not sure why it happens, but it does. Inspiration is all around us, so of course it makes sense that you would add to a unit  the next year. Well that's what I've done here! I LOVE all the additions. I'm having so much fun so far and there is so much more to do. Of course I can't fit it all   in, but then that leaves some new stuff for next year or the year after. No getting bored here!

So here's where we started:
My girls really wanted to read Cinderella and spend some more time with it. One thing that this class is working on is summarizing stories. So I wanted to give them some more opportunities to practice this skill. They can always tell me what is happening when I ask leading questions. First, we filled  out the graphic organizer. Then they filled out this summary page. 


For morning work, they completed this Read, Think, Match with the main characters. 

Here are a few other activities that you could do with Cinderella to shake it up from year to year.
~Comparing feelings at different points in the story with different characters.
~character analysis: stepmom 
~Alternate ending for Cinderella

~Opinion writing: favorite version of Cinderella with graphic organizer
~T chart for comparing versions

Next, we read The Three Little Pigs. 

I read this version first: 
This is one of the older versions. (I read this one because it is different than than the others that I will discuss later.)

For this book, students completed two different summaries: one focusing on the wolf and the other focusing on the pigs


They also filled out this Read and Sequence page. (They cut out the events and glued them in order)

Next, we read The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig.  As we read, I had students raise their hands if they noticed a similarity or a difference. I wrote these on stickies and placed them under the correct column. I was modeling this process of comparing because I was planning on having them do it during guided reading. 

After reading, they completed this simple T chart comparing the two stories. 

During reading groups, they got  the opportunity to practice finding those comparisons. They were instructed to compare their story to the first book we read (the yellow and orange one below). We  flipped through the book to review the story. Then they were given another version. Below are the two I used. One is from (highly recommend buying a subscription) and the smaller one is from scholastic. (I actually own the whole set of easy reader fairy tales but you can download extra copies on their website). actually has three different levels of The Three Little Pigs so you can find one for all of your readers!

Students were given sticky notes and this student sheet. 

As they read their book, they wrote down similarities and differences. This was a great activity to do during guided reading. Some kids were able to fly with this, while others needed some extra guidance. 


My next step will be to use those stickies to write about those comparisons using one of these pages (three choices to provide different levels of support). 

This was a simple little comparison chart that we did that just compares the beginning, middle and end of each story. 

Our last version was of course the fabulous True Story of the Three Little Pigs.

This is something I created last year:

In the speech bubbles, they write what those characters would say (their perspective). At the bottom, they wrote about who they believed. 

And of course, a Venn diagram:

For a writing activity, they wrote about their favorite version. The planning sheet was done by me and we brainstormed ideas together. Most students had this page:

and some had some more support using this one:

Since three of the five versions have the same title (The Three Little Pigs), they wrote the author.

And  there are a few more Three Little Pigs Activities for another year:
~cause and effect
~Beginning, middle, and end
~Story map

These are just some of the additions to this unit. I'll be posting more later. To see the original unit and some more action shots with student work, click here. 

To buy this unit, you can get it at one of my stores. 


  1. Sarah,
    This is exactly what I am doing next week!
    I save it for last because I love it so!
    On the second to last day of school, we have a fairly tale reader' s theater and invite the parents to come in!
    I have always used big anchor charts to make the graphic organizers, but after seeing how cute your unit is, I am hopping over and adding it to my cart!
    I love all the pics! Great work samples!

  2. Sarah,
    As always...amazing work, friend!!!
    This looks fabulous and what a wonderful way to start the year wrap up!
    Love all the pix in your post!!!
    Hugs - Lisa