Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Just Plan It!

Donna Woods


This lesson teaches the importance of prewriting activities and how stories are written from a -planning sheet-.


The student understands explicit and implicit ideas and information in fourth-grade or higher texts (for example, knowing main idea or essential message, connecting important ideas with corresponding details, making inferences about information, distinguishing between significant and minor details, knowing chronological order of events).

The student reads and organizes information (for example, in outlines, timelines, graphic organizers) throughout a single source for a variety of purposes (for example, discovering models for own writing, making a report, conducting interviews, taking a test, performing a task).

The student uses a variety of strategies to prepare for writing (for example, brainstorming, making lists, mapping ideas, grouping related ideas, keeping a notebook of ideas, observing surroundings, answering questions posed by others).


-One copy of two well-known fairy tales or familiar picture books.
-Overhead transparency of the planning sheet. (see attached file)
-Two blank planning sheets per student. (see attached file)
-Overhead projector and pen.


1. Find one copy of two well-known fairy tales or familiar picture books.
2. Make an overhead transparency of the blank planning sheet. (see attached file)
3. Make two copies of the blank planning sheet for each student.
4. Read the two selected fairy tales or picture books and make a sample planning sheet to be used as a guide for assessment of student answers.


1. Orally read to the class a well-known fairy tale such as -Goldilocks and the Three Bears- or a familiar picture book.

2. On the overhead, display the blank planning sheet and pass out a blank planning sheet to each student. (see attached file)

3. Together fill out the planning sheet as the author would have done before he/she wrote the story that you read orally in step 1. Allow the students to fill out each event on the sheet while you record the responses on the overhead. Help them distinguish between supporting details and main events and record main events only.

5. After the planning sheet is filled out, read orally the events. It should sound like a summary of the story with no details. (see attached file for a sample of a planning sheet taken from the story -Goldilocks and the Three Bears-)

6. Read orally another well-known fairy tale or familiar picture book.

7. Have students fill out a blank planning sheet on their own based on the story that was just read.


Assess informally and do not give a letter grade. Informal assessment is made on the planning sheet the students did individually on the second story/fairy tale. If an event is out of order or if a detail is listed instead of a major event, circle the mistake, return the paper to the student and have the student make corrections. Some answers may vary, but all must be events, not details. If a letter grade is desired, you can assign each item on the planning sheet a point value.


Students may work in pairs to complete the second planning sheet.

This is a good activity to use before your students are asked to plan a narrative story on their own.
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