What's the Difference? A Unit on Comparing Fractured and Regular Fairy Tales

By teacher8605

Now that your students understand fractured fairy tales, it is time to break them down and look at them carefully! Comparing and Contrasting fractured fairy tales is like a treasure hunt for students to find the similarities and differences between a classic fairy tale and its crazy alter ego.

In the lesson, Fairy Tales Gone Wrong, which was part one of this fractured fairy tale unit (see the series below), we showed how to introduce the concept of fractured fairy tales and their characteristics.

This section of the unit will focus on the differences between fractured and regular fairy tales and how to compare and contrast them. It should take approximately three days to complete.

Materials Needed for the Unit

  • The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Pat Reynolds
  • Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe by Cathrene Vale Youngquist
  • Three Little Pigs by Patricia Siebert
  • The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka and Lane Smith
  • The Three Pigs by David Wiesner
  • Cinderella by Charles Perrault, Loek Koopmans, and Anthea Bell
  • Cinder-Elly by Frances Minters
  • Cinderella Penguin, or The Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman
  • Dry erase board
  • Dry erase markers
  • Worksheet of blank 3-part Venn Diagram

Directions for Day One

Begin this unit lesson by asking the students, what is a fractured fairy tale? Review the definition of a fractured fairy tales and the characteristics that were discussed in Introducing a Fractured Fairy Tale Unit (see below). Tell the students you will be reading more fractured fairy tales and discussing similarities and differences between the stories.

First, read The Three Billy Goats Gruff by Pat Reynolds. Quickly discuss the main characters and story events of the first story. Next, read Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe by Cathrene Vale Youngquist. Once again, quickly discuss the story. Ask the students to tell you some similarities they found between the two stories.

Next, draw a T-chart on the board. Label one side The Three Billy Goats Gruff and the other side Three Billygoats Gruff and Mean Calypso Joe. Now, ask the students to list differences they heard in the story, filling them in on the chart as you go. Once your list is complete, ask the students if comparing means looking for things that are the same or things that are different. What does contrasting mean? Tell the students you will discuss comparing and contrasting again the next day.

Directions for Day Two

Begin the lesson by reviewing comparing and contrasting. Explain that today they will not be comparing and contrasting two stories, but three! Tell them they will be using a special Venn Diagram that compares and contrasts three items at a time.

Introduce this new way of organizing their comparisons and contrasts by drawing a large 3-part Venn Diagram on the board. This is three large interlocking circles. The large unlocked section of the circles will each be labeled with a different story. These sections will be where the fairy tales'' diferences will be written. The parts where just two circles interlock will hold things that are similar in those two stories but not the third. Finally, the very middle section where all three circles interlock will hold similarities between all three stories.

You will briefly explain the way the Venn Diagram works to the students. Then, read Cinderella by Charles Perrault, Loek Koopmans, and Anthea Bell. Quickly review the important story elements and label one of the circles with the book title. Next, repeat the process with Cinder-Elly by Frances Minters and Cinderella Penguin, or The Little Glass Flipper by Janet Perlman.

Start in the middle by asking the students what was the same in all three versions. Explain to the students as you write in the answers, that they only need to write phrases, not full sentences. When the students have listed all the similarities, work on the other sections of the diagram. A suggested order for addressing these sections is:

  • Similarities of all fairy tales
  • Similarities between fairy tales 1 and 2
  • Similarities between fairy tales 2 and 3
  • Similarities between fairy tales 1 and 3
  • Differences between each fairy tale

The students should also note that anything similar about two of these should mean they have a difference for the third.

This will conclude your lesson plan for this day. Tomorrow the students will complete a Venn Diagram on their own.

Directions for Day Three

Today is the day that you will assess your students' ability to compare and contrast. Begin by drawing a 3-part Venn Diagram on the board and review the parts with your students. Make sure that all students are aware of the parts and purpose of the Venn Diagram. It may be a good idea to label each section with what belongs there.

Explain that you will read three new stories or fairy tales that they will use to fill out their own Venn Diagram. Give each student a piece of paper to write down some things they notice as you read. They will be able to use this later to help them fill out their diagram.

Begin by reading Three Little Pigs by Patricia Siebert. Give the students a few moments at the end to record any information from the story they may want to remember for later. Next, read The Three Pigs by David Wiesner. Once again, allow the students to record any information they see fit. Lastly, read The True Story of The Three Little Pigs. (If either of these fractured fairy tales are unavailable, it is also possible to use The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig by Eugene Trivizas and Helen Oxenbury.)

Provide one of the books you just read for independent work on the diagram. Remind the students to use their notes. It is up to you whether to go over these diagrams together or to grade them. You may also want to set a minimum number of items that must be written on the diagram.

Comparing and contrasting may seem like an easy skill, but it is one that needs constant practice. By incorporating the fun of these fractured fairy tales, students will enjoy identifying and discussing the differences between them and regular fairy tales. This unit proves that reading can be fun!