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TeachNet NYC: Lesson Plans

Transforming Fairy Tales

Project URL:

How it works:
This program gives students the opportunity to use the computer to write, draw, explore the Internet, and combine all of these elements. They learn that technology enables the creation of a project that combines genuine learning with fun. In one application, fourth graders write their own fairy tales, which can be based on familiar stories or their own ideas. The students also use computer software to create drawings of the characters for their tales, using the Internet to gather backgrounds and props. Finally, they combine all of these onto paper and produce completed and illustrated stories. You can surprise the students at the end of the unit with bound editions of their work.

Standards addressed:  
Students use prewriting strategies to plan, draft, revise, edit, and publish written work. They evaluate their own and others' writing; create narrative accounts such as poems and stories; distinguish between fable, fairy tale, and tall tale; develop positive attitudes toward technology that support lifelong learning, collaboration, personal pursuits, and productivity; and use productivity tools to collaborate in constructing technology-enhanced models, preparing publications, and producing other creative works.

Materials used: 
This program utilizes a computer lab equipped with iMacs that have Internet connection via a T-1 line. AppleWorks is on everyone's computer and is used for word processing, painting, and drawing. A printer and a digital camera are also employed. 

The students:
Transforming Fairy Tales was developed  with a fourth grade class in a school with homogeneous groupings. This large "top" class (28 students), however, had quite a large range of abilities. Some students immediately became engaged and others became enthusiastic only during certain lessons. You can save all of the students' work on the computers or school server so that, even the following school year, work can be completed.

Overall value:
Students develop their writing skills by adapting a familiar fairy tale and creating their own stories. They are introduced to painting tools early in the project, which encourages many of them to be a little more creative when it is time to start drawing their characters. They enjoy the process of transforming characters, changing the size, the position, and the colors. They love looking for backgrounds for their tales on the Internet and putting the pages of their stories together. There is something for everyone: writing, painting, researching, and organizing. It holds the students' interest for

Once you introduce the major characteristics of a fairy tale and discuss how these apply to familiar stories, your students should have little trouble getting started transforming a tale. Have students edit each other's work before you look at it. Introduce each step separately. Students can, however, work at their own pace.

About the teacher:
For the past ten years, Jill Williams has been developing a computer program in her elementary school in New York City. She tries to provide her students with meaningful projects that address the curriculum areas and challenge the students' creativity. Her goal is to teach her students to use the tools of technology and the Internet, and apply these skills in exciting and creative ways.


Subject areas: 
Language Arts

Grade levels: 




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