Beacon Lesson Plan Library

Was the Wolf Really Guilty?

Patti Cogburn
Santa Rosa District Schools


After reading any play, short story, or novel which revolves around a trial, for example, [Witness for the Prosecution], the students write an essay explaining or defending the assigned role in a mock fairy tale trial.


The student selects and uses appropriate pre-writing strategies, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and outlines.

The student produces final documents that have been edited for: correct spelling; correct punctuation, including commas, colons, and common use of semicolons; correct capitalization; correct sentence formation; correct instances of possessives, subject/verb agreement, instances of noun/pronoun agreement, and the intentional use of fragments for effect; and correct formatting that appeals to readers, including appropriate use of a variety of graphics, tables, charts, and illustrations in both standard and innovative forms.


-Copy of the Florida Writes scoring rubric for each student (If the teacher does not have one, contact the English Department Chairperson of your school for a copy. Every school in Florida should have this.)
-Student needs his or her own paper
-Student needs his or her own writing utensil
-Individual writing assignment (fairy tale role) given to each student by the teacher


1. Choose 3-4 fairy tales (based on 9-11 per group and 4-5 characters per fairy tale) ahead of time. (See examples in BACKGROUND of Procedures.)
2. Decide which fairy tale character in each story is to be on trial and for what.
3. Divide the class into groups by fairy tale and assign each student a role. The students may discuss their fairy tales within their groups and work on their pre-writing together. Also, the groups are to be used for peer editing purposes.


1.This assignment is to follow a class reading assignment that included a trial, for example, [Witness for the Prosecution] or [To Kill a Mockingbird].

2. The Florida Writes scoring rubric should already be familiar to the students; however, a review of the scores could be reviewed.

3. The teacher needs to define and make sure each student understands the role of the defense attorney, prosecuting attorney, defendant, judge, bailiff, and witnesses in a trial. ( This should have been covered before or during the background reading assignment.)

1. Divide the class into groups with approximately 9-11 per group.

2. Assign each group a specific fairy tale ( one that has 4-5 characters is best), such as [Goldilocks and the Three Bears] [Little Red Riding Hood], [The Three Little Pigs], and [Hansel and Gretel]. Also, at this time, the teacher tells each group which character in their fairy tale is on trial and for what.

3. Assign each group member a character in the fairy tale or a member of the court, for example, a judge, a defense attorney, a prosecuting attorney, a bailiff, and witnesses.

4. Give each student a copy of the Florida Writes scoring rubric.

5. Tell each group which fairy tale character is on trial and why he or she is on trial in the fairy tale assigned to them.

6. Tell the students that they will write an essay in first person as their fairy tale character, explaining and defending his or her position in their groupís trial. It will be graded by the Florida Writes scoring rubric. The pre-writing and the final draft will be turned in to the teacher for assessment at the end of the period. If anyone is not finished, they may finish it for homework, if necessary. Although, if the students are used to writing essays, they should have enough time in an eighty-five minute class period. The pre-writing and the final draft will be turned in to the teacher for assessment.

STUDENTS: (all work is to be done in class)
1. Students are to use some type of pre-writing strategy, such as brainstorming, graphic organizers, and/or outlines. This will be turned in to the teacher for assessment. (This may be done within each group enabling the students to discuss thier roles with each other in the group.)

2. After completing the pre-writing activity, the students write the first draft of their essays.

3. After completing the first draft, the students share their essays with five other students in their group for peer checking. Students checking other papers need to critique each essay by the Florida Writes rubric and write specific helps, changes, and corrections for the author.

4. Students revise their essays and write final drafts for teacher assessment.

5. Students turn in their pre-writing and final drafts to the teacher.


Using the Florida Writes scoring rubric assess students' final copies of writing by assigning a score of 0-6.

Assess the prewriting strategies and rough drafts as well. Students should show evidence of brainstorming and self and peer corrections and revisions.
Return to the Beacon Lesson Plan Library.