K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education

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  • Learning literary elements through African and African American folktales: In this eighth grade lesson, students will apply their knowledge of literary elements (plot structure and archetypal characters) to the analysis and creation of African and African American folktales. Students will work in groups to read several picture book versions of African and African American folktales. Each group then creates a plot map for a story and highlights other literary elements identified within the text. Students then compare the folktales with fairy tales from other cultures and explain what they learned about African and African American culture from reading the folktales. Finally, students work independently to write their own modern-day folktale.

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Learning outcomes

  • The learner will answer factual questions after reading “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
  • During group discussion, the learners will recall the five major events in “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
  • The learner will illustrate the major events of the story.
  • The learner will independently write in correct sequential order the five major events of the story.

Teacher planning

Time required for lesson

2 Hours


  • Jack and the Beanstalk story book
  • chart paper
  • 12×18 white construction paper
  • crayons


Fold 12″ by 18″ in half lengthwise, measure 3 1/2″ blocks to make five sequence blocks and cut to fold. Make one for each student in the class.


  1. Read aloud “Jack and the Beanstalk.”
  2. After a group discussion of the story to ensure comprehension, the students will brainstorm 5 major events of “Jack and the Beanstalk.” The teacher will write the 5 events on chart paper, not necessarily in sequential order.Next, the teacher will cut the 5 sentences out and together the students will arrange the sentences in correct order. The students will draw pictures to illustrate the five events using the flipbook idea.
  3. Teacher removes the five sentences that the group has written together.
  4. The students will use their pictures to write their own story in correct sequential order. Depending on the ability of the student, the student can write 1 to 3 sentences for each sequenced event telling the story.


The students ability to answer comprehension questions during class discussion will be monitored. The correct sequence of events in their flipbooks will be assessed. Each student must have 1-3 logical sentences on each page of their flip book.

Supplemental information


This lesson was completed with students in third grade who needed remedial help in the areas of reading comprehension and reading sequencing skills.

  • Common Core State Standards
    • English Language Arts (2010)
      • Reading: Literature

        • Grade 1
          • 1.RL.1 Ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
          • 1.RL.2 Retell stories, including key details, and demonstrate understanding of their central message or lesson.
        • Kindergarten
          • K.RL.1 With prompting and support, ask and answer questions about key details in a text.
          • K.RL.2 With prompting and support, retell familiar stories, including key details.

North Carolina curriculum alignment

English Language Arts (2004)

Grade 1

  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.02: Use words that name characters and settings (who, where) and words that tell action and events (what happened, what did ___ do) in simple texts.
    • Objective 4.05: Write and/or participate in writing by using an author's model of language and extending the model (e.g., writing different ending for a story, composing an innovation of a poem).


  • Goal 2: The learner will develop and apply strategies and skills to comprehend text that is read, heard, and viewed.
    • Objective 2.01: Demonstrate sense of story (e.g., beginning, middle, end, characters, details).
  • Goal 4: The learner will apply strategies and skills to create oral, written, and visual texts.
    • Objective 4.06: Write and/or participate in writing behaviors by using authors' models of language.