When, Where and What's the Problem? You're the reporter!!

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SWBAT will be able to identify text elements in fables and determine how the story changes when one element is changed.

Big Idea

Where? When? What's the problem? Report it all to us!


** I changed up the worksheet the 3rd time I taught this lesson, because I wanted to add a 'solution' at the bottom and a line dividing the space for the student to write the original setting and problem and the new setting, leading to the new problem.

Let's Get Excited

5 minutes

Underlined words should emphasized and put on my Reading & Writing word wall for later reference. I pull off words for each lesson, helping students understand the vocabulary can be generalized across texts and topics.  The focus on acquiring and using these words is part of a shift in the Common Core Standards towards building students’ academic vocabulary.  My words are color coded ‘pink’ for literature/’blue’ for reading strategies/’orange’ for informational text/'yellow' for writing/’green’ for all other words)

Engage the students

  • "Today you get to be a reporter!" use the mic to say that....
  • "We'll be reporting on a fable that you know, but adding new developments.... its 'breaking news' that changes the whole story around."
  • (Powerpoint slide 1) "What is a fable? Do you know any of these fables?  It's a kind of literature that uses animals, has a moral and belongs to a culture."
  • "The central ideas and themes of these stories help us, as Americans, share a common history and ideas."
  • "Take a quick look at the stories and we'll review the ideas and themes of each one quickly."


Recounting fables and folktales and examining the features in these stories allows students to share the common ideas that these present. (RL.2.2) Through this extensive discussion of cultural stories, students gain literary knowledge as well as familiarity with various text structures and elements. Since the themes and ideas from these fables recur over and over again in other stories, movies and text, this rich content knowledge from the classics should be presented and shared as part of a student's education so that the ideas and concepts become part of their general knowledge.

Teachers' Turn

15 minutes

Lesson ideas

  • "Before we start, let's take a minute and think about the story elements."
    • "What are the parts of a story?"  (Take ideas...characters, setting, problem, solution, events) Refer to the headers on the board
    • "The characters and setting are introduced... pause... at the beginning of the story. Then we find out a problem and some events happen and then at the end.... is the solution."
  • "Today we are going to talk specifically about the characters, setting and the problem."
  • "When one element in the story changes, the whole story changes. The setting changes in the story and the characters change what they do. The setting changes and the problem is not the same."


As we examine the story elements that make up literature, students are discovering that stories have structure. In the beginning, characters and setting are introduced and at the end, the events are concluded. (RL.2.5). Students begin to be experts in 'content literacy', understanding how stories are structured, as well as close readers who enjoy the story, but also analyze how the elements work to form good literature.


Model the skill

  • (Powerpoint slide 2) "I drew a story chart so I could see the elements of the fable, The Three Little Pigs. The setting of the story is a 'brick house and it was a long time ago'. (write that on the teacher chart).  The problem is that the wolf is blowing the houses down." (write that)
  • "Now suppose I change the setting to an 'island and today'. Is the problem still the same?  No, because wolves don't live on an island.  I think that when the setting changes, the problem would change to 'the pigs and maybe a boar (those live on an island) would be the new characters. Since I know that boars like to chase, my new problem might be that they all chase the wolf!"
  • "Now I'll report what happened." Pick up the mic.
    • Hello, my name is ..... and I'm reporting on an unfolding story.  We have a hostage situation where 3 pigs are being held by a wicked wolf. The story is still developing, but we are hearing new details about the situation.  We originally thought that the pigs were stuck in a brick house a long time ago, but we are now hearing about a new setting. The pigs are reportedly now on an island south of the Pacific today. In this new setting, a new problem has emerged. The pigs and boars and are planning to attack from the wolf!  I'll bring you updates as they become available!"
  • "Wow, lots of changes.  A change in one story element makes us question what else will change. 
  • Here's what my chart looked like after this discussion.  

** You'll notice on the revised-setting/problem chart, I put both settings and problems on the chart. I felt it was helpful to reinforce to the kids later when they could see the original setting and original problem as well as the revised setting and problem.


Guided practice

  • (Powerpoint slide 3) "Let's try one more together.  Here's the story of King Midas. Everything that he touched turned to gold. At first he was happy because he got richer and richer. But then he discovered he was lonely and turned his daughter into gold when he tried to touch her."
  • "The original setting was a kingdom a long time ago. How could we change the setting?  The characters may change too."  Take ideas - my kids wanted to change it to a garden and make a princess the main character who turns things into flowers.  Write that on the board.
  • "Now that the setting has changed, is the problem the same?" The kids recognized a new problem.  "Yes that's right the problem is different. Several of you said that it wouldn't make sense to turn his daughter to gold. Perhaps there are too many flowers now covering everything in the garden." Write that.
  • "Let's report out the situation....  (use the mic)
    • Hello, my name is ..... and I'm reporting on an unfolding story.  We have a situation about a king.  The story is still developing, but we are hearing new details about the situation.  We originally thought that the king was turning everything in his kingdom into gold but we are now hearing about a new setting. It's actually his daughter and she is in a garden turning things into flowers! In this new setting, a new problem has emerged. Now there are TONS and TONS of flowers everywhere!  I'll bring you updates as they become available!"

Students Take A Turn

20 minutes

Explain the task

  • "Now its your turn to be a reporter." use the mic to say that....
  • "You'll be working with a group to...
    • choose a fable from the list
    • identify the original story elements-characters, setting, problem and solution
    • add a new setting and the figure out how the problem changes
    • discuss how the change in one story element leads to changes in the other element-write down the new problem
    • report on the fable the 'breaking news' that changes the whole story around - you'll get an iPad to record once I check your group's worksheet."
  • "Let's review the Group Rules and iPad Rules.
  • (powerpoint slide 4) "Here are some fables that we talked about. Work as a group to choose one."


For each lesson that we use grouping or iPads, I take the time to review these rules. As a class, we developed these rules at the beginning of the year. Although the kids know them well, it's important for them to hear them again. I want them to respect each other and learn to collaborate effectively, as well as be responsible of rthe technology that we are using.


Monitor students working

  • Pass out the worksheet
  • Ask questions of the groups as they work
    • "Does the new problem make sense?
    • "Who might be new characters and do they change during the story?"
    • "How did a change in the setting affect the problem or characters?"

This is one group's completed worksheet.


10 minutes

Discuss and reflect

  • "Now let's watch the videos and see how the setting changed.  Come up and show your video first and then call on a friend to see if they can identify how the setting changed.  Then we'll discuss how the problem changed."
  • Here's is one of my student's reports.


This is an opportunity to lead the students to see multiple examples of story structure interaction.  You can be the model to give the overview of...."I see that the setting of the story changed to this.  So, it makes sense that the problem changed because of that.  The new problem is....."

  • "That was a great job "reporting" the stories today.  You guys were really creative with your stories."
  • "Was it fun to change a part of the story?  Did it help you understand the story better to see how the parts work together?"
  • "We'll practice this skill more in the future to see that story structure is important!"


Scaffolding and Special Education-This lesson could be scaffolded up or down, depending on student ability.

I would suggest using mixed groups so that those who struggle academically could verbally express ideas instead of having to write. The models from higher students would be excellent for all of the participants in the group.