Writing an Original Fable

How are fables written?


Key Staff

This lesson will be taught by the language arts instructor; however, this lesson can be used in any alternative or supplemental program.

Key Skills

Creative Thinking: Communication and Collaboration
Making Art: Producing, Executing and Performing


In this lesson, students will use the steps of the writing process (brainstorming, drafting, revising, proofreading, and publishing) to write original and, in small groups, perform their fables as skits. Students will also review the elements of a fable, such as theme, in order to create original written fables of their own.

Learning Objectives

Students will:

  • Write to express personal ideas
  • Pre-write, draft, revise, and proofread as part of a strategic approach to effective writing
  • Focus on sentence form, word choice, grammar, usage, punctuation, capitalization, and spelling
  • Use the stages of the writing process: prewriting, drafting, revising, and proofreading
  • Demonstrate grade-level proficiency in writing to express personal ideas by being able to do the following: choose a literary form, use its appropriate elements to create a complete whole; follow a plan in which ideas are logically ordered; direct writing to the intended audience; and frequently choose vocabulary to clarify and enhance the form selected using language purposefully

Teaching Approach

Arts Enhanced

Teaching Methods

  • Brainstorming
  • Cooperative Learning
  • Independent Practice
  • Role Playing

Assessment Type

Informal Assessment


What You'll Need

Required Technology
  • Video Camera
  • 1 Computer per Learner
Required Plugins
Technology Notes

The lesson does not require a video camera, but students can tape skits and upload their videos to a class website, blog, etc. Instead of performing live skits, students could also present their skits via uploading them and showing them to the class.

Lesson Setup

Teacher Background

Teachers should be familiar with fables and with guiding students through the writing process.

Prior Student Knowledge

  • Elements of a Fable
  • Understanding of the writing process
  • Understanding of scripts and performance techniques

Physical Space

  • Classroom
  • Performance Space
  • Computer Lab


  • Small Group Instruction
  • Individualized Instruction


Make copies of handouts

Accessibility Notes

  • Use captions for skit/performance for hearing impaired students.
  • For hearing impaired students, clear audio of skit/performance is helpful.
  • Provide extra writing assistance for English Language Learners


Resources in Reach

Here are the resources you'll need for each activity, in order of instruction.



1. Show a live performance skit of a fable.

2. Briefly discuss how each element (characters, setting, and moral lesson) appears in the lesson.

3. If necessary, narrate a fable with animal or human characters involved in the situation in which the moral applies. Remind students that the action of the plot leads up to the lesson of the moral.

4. Tell students that they will be writing and performing their own original fables.

Build Knowledge

1. Review with students the fables they have read.

2. Next, discuss different ways in which each fable might be updated. For example, the characters might be portrayed as animal characters in a television sitcom or cartoon show.

3. Record students’ ideas on the board to help the students who may have more difficulty imagining these fables in a modern setting.

4. Before they begin writing, have students choose one of the fables and determine the point or moral. This should be done discreetly (so that the other students are not aware of the chosen moral. To ensure no moral is chosen twice, have groups pull one choice from a hat. Number each moral so that each student is aware of his/her group number).

5. Using the guidelines below, give students approximately 10-15 minutes to write an original fable.

Writing an original fable: Steps of the Writing Process

Using the stages of the writing process, have students write an original fable that teaches one of the following morals:

  • Pride leads to a fall.
  • The early bird catches the worm.
  • Haste makes waste.
  • A stitch in time saves nine.
  • Don’t count your chickens before they hatch.
  • Honesty is the best policy.
  • You can’t judge a book by its cover.
  • Look before you leap.

Prewriting: Tell students to make a plan before writing. For the pre-writing stage, encourage students to use graphic organizers (see below) to organize their ideas. Students should plan out the following:

  • Characters (for example, a cat and a dog)
  • Setting (for example, a vacant lot)
  • Events (for example, a dog encounters a cat who has a piece of meat)
  • Moral (for example, pick on animals your own size)

Drafting: Direct students to follow the order of the original fable or the order of events they listed and to begin writing a first draft.

Revising: Eliminate this step during this section. When students are in small groups, have the other group members revise and proofread the fable that they are choosing for the skit.

Proofreading: Students should check spelling, capitalization, punctuation and word usage. This can be done using a word-processing program.

Publishing: In this final stage of the writing process, students submit their writing. They have the option of extending on the lesson by publishing their creative work in a number of outlets (submitting to a newspaper or literary magazine, for example).


1. At this point, students have completed the writing process and their original fables are complete; have them split up into small groups.

2. Have students in each group elect one original fable that they will perform as a skit.

3. Ask students to take out the Performing Skits handout located within the Resource Carousel and use it to create a brief two-minute skit of the fable. The original author of each fable should serve as the narrator, with other students portraying the key characters.

4. Show a brief clip of a live performance of a fable. While showing the clip, review techniques for good performance.

5. Allow time for the students to rehearse. Have students perform their fables for the class. While each group is performing, other students will complete the Student Response Sheet located within the Resource Carousel.


1. Students must complete a Student Response Sheet for each group's fable.

2. Have each performing group lead a mini-discussion with other classmates to determine the main characters, setting, and moral lesson of each original fable.

3. Use the Six Trait Writing Rubric located within the Resource Carousel to evaluate students on their written responses to the activities and on the completion of their original fable, as well as their participation in the small-group performance.


Throughout the nation, standards of learning are being revised, published and adopted. During this time of transition, ARTSEDGE will continually add connections to the Common Core, Next Generation Science standards and other standards to our existing lessons, in addition to the previous versions of the National Standards across the subject areas.

The Arts Standards used in ARTSEDGE Lessons are the 1994 voluntary national arts standards. The Arts learning standards were revised in 2014; please visit the National Core Arts Standards (http://nationalartsstandards.org) for more. The Kennedy Center is working on developing new lessons to connect to these standards, while maintaining the existing lesson library aligned to the Common Core, other state standards, and the 1994 National Standards for Arts Education.

ArtsEdge Lessons connect to the National Standards for Arts Education, the Common Core Standards, and a range of other subject area standards.

Common Core/State Standards

Select state and grade(s) below, then click "Find" to display Common Core and state standards.

National Standards For Arts Education

Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 1: Script writing by the creation of improvisations and scripted scenes based on personal experience and heritage, imagination, literature, and history

Grade 5-8 Theater Standard 2: Acting by developing basic acting skills to portray characters who interact in improvised and scripted scenes

National Standards in Other Subjects
Language Arts

Language Arts Standard 1: Uses the general skills and strategies of the writing process

Language Arts Standard 2: Uses the stylistic and rhetorical aspects of writing

Language Arts Standard 3: Uses grammatical and mechanical conventions in written compositions



Kathy Cook
Original Writer

Tonya Abari

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Use this collection of resources and articles to devise an approach for supporting individual needs in the classroom: from English Language Learners or students with disabilities, to conflict resolution and giving feedback.



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