Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Honey I Shrunk the . . . Story

Sandra Arnolds-Patron


Talk about making a mole hill out of a mountain! In this lesson, students use critical thinking to decide which story components are important to include in a summary.


The student summarizes information in texts (including but not limited to central idea, supporting details, connections between texts).


-Red Grapes
-Drawing Paper
-Selected stories from the reading text students use in
-Lined writing paper
-A copy of [Cinderella], Atheneum Books for Young Readers, Perrault, Simon & Schuster, 1997.
-A copy of [Goldilocks and the Three Bears], Brett, Houghton Mifflin Co., 1981.


1. Gather materials – purchase grapes and raisins.
2. Have drawing paper, lined paper, pencils and crayons available.
3. Have a copy of a well-known fairy tale or story on hand:
example: [Cinderella] or [The Three Bears].
4. Have a chart and stand ready for the class-created summary.



1. Pass out to each student a grape and a raisin. Ask students if they know how these two pieces of fruit are related. Lead the students to realize that the raisin is actually a grape with certain parts left out. It has -shrunk- because the juice inside the grape has dried up (Students may sample both.)

2. Reread a well-known fairy tale or story to the class, such as [Cinderella] or [The Three Bears]. Ask students to think of the main or most important facts in the story. On a chart, write a short summary of the story.

3. For example: Using [The Three Bears], the four main parts might be (1.) The bears make porridge and decide to take a walk while it cools. (2.) Goldilocks who is walking in the woods, discovers the Three Bears' house and finding it unlocked, walks right in. (3.) Goldilocks samples the soup, sits in the chairs, and finally falls asleep in the Baby Bear's bed. (4.) The Three Bears return and find Goldilocks who wakes up with a start and dashes out of the house. So, on chart paper, make drawings of the four parts, then let students help in making the topic sentences to accompany each one.

4.Tell students that they are going to “shrink” a story. (Make certain that students understand the relationship between the raisin and the “shrunken story”.) Explain that this shortened version will be called a “summary”.

5. Ask students to think of their favorite story. Give students a sheet of drawing paper. Have them fold it so that there are four sections. Have them draw four important scenes from their favorite story in the reading text.


1. Students will use their completed drawings from DAY ONE session to retell their favorite story to a partner.

2. Guide students to develop a topic sentence for each picture. (Refer to chart from DAY ONE.) Allow time to complete. Students will then share their pictures/sentences with a partner.

3. Model building a paragraph for each topic sentence by adding detail sentences on the chart.

4. Guide students to add two or three detail sentences for each topic sentence.

5. Model writing a concluding sentence on chart.

6. Students will then add a concluding sentence at the end of their summary.

7. Monitor students as they work, helping as needed.

8. Students will share their writings with the class and turn in for evaluation.


Summary (Shrinking) Rubric - See associated file.
During each stage of this language arts project the teacher is involved in formative assessments with each student giving feedback and making certain that they have successfully completed each part before progressing to the next step. As a final evaluation, each student will turn in their completed summary. The teacher will use the attached rubric Summary (Shrinking) Rubric to evaluate it.
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