877-542-5504 877-542-5504

Want to Help Fellow Teachers?

Please help us grow this free resource by submitting your favorite lesson plans.

Lesson Plan #:AELP-WCP002
Author: Debra Toennis, Park School, Weiser, Idaho Date: May 1994

Grade Level(s): 4, 5, 6


  • Language Arts/Writing (composition)

OVERVIEW: We are all familiar with Story Starters, which initiate an idea from which an exposition flows. This variation requires students to think in reverse; to reconstruct the missing elements of a story so that they make sense, or fit into what has been provided. Students themselves will judge the results, identifying which tales are more complete, interesting, imaginative, and do the best to incorporate the known facts.

PURPOSE: This writing activity uses the fairy tale structure to demonstrate all of the elements of a short story.

OBJECTIVE(s): The students will be able to:

  • Write an introduction and conclusion to a fairy tale.
  • Identify the components necessary for a complete story.
  • Use context clues to determine what came before, and after.
  • Expand a character based on limited information.
  • Develop their imaginations and ideas.

    • fairy tale (For best results, use a lesser known fairy tale.)
    • paper
    • pencil
    • art supplies


  • Review basic outline of a fairy tale: Intro (Setting and Characters), Plot Development, Complication, Climax, Resolution.
  • Read some middle paragraphs of a fairy tale. Instruct the students to write what happened before and after these paragraphs.
  • Encourage the students to illustrate their tales.
  • Read the students’ tales out loud to class.
  • Read original fairy tale, completely, from beginning to end.
  • TYING IT ALL TOGETHER An excellent way to teach story structure is to make a flow chart of a story, listing the elements in order. It’s fun to watch The Little Mermaid and then identify the elements of the story.

    It is possible to expand this activity by using different genres (Science Fiction, Mystery, Humorous, etc…).

    May 1994 These lesson plans are the result of the work of the teachers who have attended the Columbia Education Center’s Summer Workshop. CEC is a consortium of teacher from 14 western states dedicated to improving the quality of education in the rural, western, United States, and particularly the quality of math and science Education. CEC uses Big Sky Telegraph as the hub of their telecommunications network that allows the participating teachers to stay in contact with their trainers and peers that they have met at the Workshops.