Fairy Tales. Fables. Myths. Legends. These types of stories
have always fascinated and entertained us. In every culture, in every corner
of the world for millennia, parents have been spinning tales and weaving
the narrative web- in Eskimo families in the Arctic Circle, in the jungles
of Africa, among Native American tribes, throughout Oceana, and at all
points of the compass in between. Storytelling is basic to every
culture, whether it flourished 100,000 years B.C., or is heading into the
21st Century A.D.
Once upon a time... You and your friends are at an amusement park
having a good time. In the far back corner you find a roller coaster
you have never seen before. It looks safe enough so you decide to
get on. You don't notice that no one else is around, except for the
little man at the controls...
The ride starts out great with several twists and turns and then
you are in a dark tunnel. When you come out on the other side, the
ride stops. You look around and realize something is not quite right.
You get off the roller coaster and notice that the amusement park is gone.
You walk a few steps and find yourself in a dense, dark forest. You
turn around and the roller coaster car is gone, as well as the tracks!
You see a gingerbread house off in the distance and begin to panic.
"Are we in one of those fairy tales we read in class last week? How
are we going to get home?"
Your group begins walking and notices that scrolls appear to be nailed
to trees. The first one your group comes to reads: "Greetings!
In order to return home, you must respond to what is written on all of
the scrolls that are in your path. To determine which path to take,
you must roll these special magical dice which will take you to your next
activity scroll. You must complete the activity scroll and then seek
out approval from the All Powerful Wizard to be allowed to roll the magical
dice again. Attached to this scroll you will find an explanation of
how the All Powerful Wizard will evaluate your effort in completing all
of the requirements on each scroll. Help is available, if you know
where to look... Find the Internet
Resources Scroll and The Resources Scroll.
Good luck, but beware! Don't leave the marked path- Danger is lurking
around every corner!"
The Activity Scrolls
1. There are four types of literature in the Oral Tradition- the
art of story telling. They are Myths, Folk Tales, Fables, and Legends.
Make a chart showing the elements of each type and the elements they have
2. Create a web for the four types of literature in
the Oral Tradition and place the titles of selections you read in the proper
categories on the web. At the end of your quest you will share your web
with the All Powerful Wizard and her Subjects.
3. Choose a selection and work with a partner to role
play a scene from the story. Read the selection carefully first to fully
understand it. Prepare a script for a dialogue that you imagine the two
characters might have.
4. Choose a character in one of the selections and
draw a picture showing what you think the character looks like. Explain
why you chose to depict them the way you did.
5. Personification is the giving of human qualities
to an animal, object or idea. Make a chart showing the personification
used in several selections and how it is used. Include the following:
Animal, Object, or Idea
Example From Story
6. Choose a story that you are familiar with. Write
down the main points of the story. As a group, you will take turns telling
a part of the story. Each storyteller will end his part with, "And then..."
to get the next person started. Use the following suggestions for effective
Focus on details that bring characters and scenes to life
Use strong descriptive words that create vivid images
Concentrate when telling the story (an audience will lose interest if
a storytellers focus begins to wander)
Slow down and speed up as appropriate
7. Choose a story to read and create a "Five W Questions"
Web. Write at least one question for each category; exchange papers with
a group member and answer them.
Who... What... Where... When... Why...
8. Choose several of Aesop's Fables to read (at least
10). Restate the morals in your own words. Create a chart as shown.
My Own Words
9. Do you think that the morals of Aesop's Fables are
universally true? Why or why not? Write your own ideas in a 2-3 paragraph
10. For what purpose do you think Aesop told the Fables?
11. Write a modern fable. Imitating Aesop's style,
draft a brief story that conveys a lesson about life. With your group members,
enact the characters you create, then perform the fable in a Reader's Theater
12. Design a travel brochure advertising a place in
one of the fairy tales. Include information about climate during different
seasons, major tourist attractions, lodging, and airlines that fly there.
Use pictures and text. Include a map of the area showing it's location.
13. Conflict is the struggle between two opposing forces.
Characters can experience internal and external conflicts. Internal conflicts
occur when the struggle is within a character. External conflicts occur
when the character struggles against some outside person or force. Conflicts
are used in stories to advance the plot and engage the reader's interest.
Choose a tale that contains conflict and complete a Conflict Chart as shown
Type of Conflict
14. Choose a tale and rewrite it with your own twist.
For example, you might choose to rewrite the ending, to set the story in
modern times, or in your own neighborhood, to include characters from other
stories or to change the actions or the gender of one or more characters.
Assign the following jobs to group members:
Writers - Work together to rewrite the whole story, or have one
writer begin the story, another develop the plot, and a third finish it.
Editors/Proofreaders - Read the story silently and then aloud.
Check for inconsistencies with the story and for parts that are unclear
or that need more details. Then consult with the writers to make changes
that will improve the tale. Proofread the completed story carefully correcting
any spelling, grammar, or punctuation errors. Finally, make a clean final
draft copy of your tale.
Illustrators - Draw pictures to illustrate the changes that have
been made to the original tale. Share your new story and illustrations
with the All Powerful Wizard and her Subjects.
15. Choose a character from one of the tales and write
a letter to him or her explaining why you admire or disapprove of his or
16. Create a Venn Diagram to compare and contrast your
own personality traits, values, and experiences with a character in one
of the tales.
17. Design a board game based on one of the tales you've
read. It must be in color, in a box, and include instructions and rules
18. Create a picture-book version of one of the stories
you've read to share with a group of young children.
Illustrations - Select characters and settings that retell the
story. Then use simple drawings, photographs, or pictures from magazines,
and present events in chronological order. "Clip Art" from the computer
may also be used.
Pop -Up - Choose a character or event and create a pop-up feature.
Book Jacket - Design a colorful cover for your book that will
make younger readers want to open it.
19. Create a diorama of a scene from one of the tales
you have read.
20. Create a mural that represents the events in one
of the tales you have read. Plan your mural before you begin. Use a chronological
approach so that a viewer may see events unfolding as he or she looks from
left to right or top to bottom.
21. Write a dialogue between two characters. Have them
react to a setting without saying where they are. Can you describe the
scene through dialogue only?
22. Create a dust jacket for a book. Choose one of
the stories, or several selections to make an anthology, and create a dust
jacket for it.
Cover - Design and illustrate the front of the jacket
Back - Select a short excerpt from the story that can go on the
back of the jacket. Choose an excerpt that makes the reader want to find
out more about the story.
Back Inside Flap - Interview some classmates and write down their
critical reactions to the story. Select three or four favorable quotations
to put on the back inside flap.
Front Inside Flap - Write a few paragraphs that give an idea
of what the story is about but not give the whole story away. The purpose
of this text is to generate reader interest, so make it as engaging and
exciting as possible.
23. Make a Character Report Card. Select a character
from one of the selections you have read. Prepare a "report card" to evaluate
the character's personality, using the following guidelines.
The Character's Qualities - Begin by deciding on the qualities
you wish to evaluate: Courage, kindness, greed, ingenuity, and so on.
The Grading Scale - Then decide on the grades you will use to
assess the character. You could use letters, numbers, or even symbols.
Group Debate and Class Report - Within your group, discuss and
debate each quality of the character. Assign a grade when your entire group
is in agreement. Report your decision back to the All Powerful Wizard.
24. Folk Tales often provide a humorous explanation
for natural phenomena. Create your own tale to explain why animals are
a certain way such as why monkeys live in trees or why chickens don't have
25. Draw or paint the setting of one of the legends
you have read. Describe your art work to the All Powerful Wizard and her
The Internet Resources
of Wonder - The stories in this collection represent a small sampling
of the rich storytelling art that is the common heritage of humanity. Stories
from many parts of the world are included here.
The Language of Literature, Grade 6. McDougal Littell, 1997.
The Language of Literature, Grade 7. McDougal Littell, 1997.
The Language of Literature, Grade 8. McDougal Littell, 1997.
A Trip Around the World. Open Court Publishing Company, 1976.
A Trip Through Wonderland. Open Court Publishing Company, 1976.
Illustrated Tales From The Brothers Grimm. Aventinum Publishing House,
Great Illustrated Fairy Tales. Baronet Books, 1994.
Treasury of Bedtime Stories. Publications International, Ltd., 1995.
You will be on the computer on a rotating basis, so use your time
wisely! Only look for what you really need and work on one project at a
time. Don't forget you can also find information in the textbooks listed
You will be evaluated on each activity that you complete. Final
draft quality is expected on every written assignment and word processed
document. A 6 point rubric will be used to score written work.
Multimedia presentations will be evaluated according to the multimedia
presentation rubric. All activities will be evaluated for completeness,
neatness, and literary content and accuracy.
The All Powerful Wizard has one more task for you to complete.
The selections in this unit focused on storytelling as the passing on of
oral histories and traditions as a means of preserving cultural heritage.
As a concluding project, your group will examine several folk tales and
determine some of the traits they have in common. You will use this
as a starting point for writing a set of guidelines about how folk tales
should be told. You will compare your list with that of other groups
who have come through this forest and develop one comprehensive list of
common traits. Each group will then write a guide to storytelling
based on the list of common characteristics developed by the All Powerful
Extension Activity Scroll
Now that you are back home, work with a family member to tape record
or video tape a family member telling a personal story from their family's