This blog has recently gained many new readers. Because of that, I thought it might be worth sharing a  “A Look Back” where I periodically share my favorite from the past fourteen years. You can also see all of my choices for “Best” posts here.


Merio / Pixabay

I’ve previously shared posts about specific writing units I do with ELLs (and non-ELLs) that have shared detailed instructions and student-handouts:

* On writing a story (see A Look Back: “Here’s My Entire ELL Beginners Seven-Week Unit On Writing A Story (Including Hand-outs & Links)”

* On writing about a growth mindset (see Student Written Growth Mindset Stories)

* On students writing about their immigration journeys and sharing them with non-immigrant students (see A Look Back: “What ELLs Taught Our School In A Week-Long Empathy Project”).

*On students writing bout their home cultures (see HOME CULTURE PROJECT – WITH NEW EXAMPLES & STUDENT HANDOUTS!).

Of course, I’ve also shared many other resources about writing specific types of essays and other genres. You can see them all here.


Today, I thought I’d share a very simple lesson I’ll be doing in my Long-Term ELL Support class next week (by the way, we should have preliminary data on its success or lack of success next month – assuming that we’re not out on strike).

Their Ethnic Studies class will soon be looking at folktales from the Native American communities from our area.  To support those lessons, after first discussing the definition of a folktale,  we’ll read a simple Native American folktale and they will write a one-sentence summary for each of its paragraphs.

Next, they’ll find a folktale from their own cultural tradition and do the same process (ending up with about ten sentences or so).  They can search online or go directly to A Beginning List Of The Best Folklore & Myth Sites to find one (if you scroll towards the bottom, you can find them divided by cultural tradition).

Then, they will turn those sentences into online books with Adobe Spark (they used that tool before to create videos of odes they had written).

After those are complete and shown to the class, it will be time for them to write their own!

ArtsEdge at the Kennedy Center has a nice “Writing Folktales” lesson, including several handouts.  I won’t use them all, but will introduce the handouts in this sequence (NOTE: they’ve just moved all their folktale handouts to a new site)

Types of Folktales

Qualities of Folktales

The second page of this handout, called Outline For Writing A Story.

Then, I’ll give them a couple of graphic organizers to choose from (if they want to use them to plan their folktale):

Fables and Folk Tales Graphic Organizer

Folktale Graphic Organizer

Depending on how long all this takes, students will either use Adobe Spark to turn their folktales into videos or make them into paper “books” to share physically and verbally with their classmates.

As usual, this plan will be modified based on what happens in class, and I’m very open to hearing from readers about how to make it better (this blog post is not meant to imply that I’ve put an enormous amount of thought into it!).  I’ll share the end results, including student videos (included with permission).

Addendum: Check out Video: Student Folktale.