Tuesday, June 25, 2013

Who's afraid of the Big Bad Wolf?

First of all, I would like to apologize for being MIA for the past month or so.  I posted one post about my Graduate Research project, but otherwise... nada.  I have been SO BUSY with that project (and the paper, which took me several days to write!) and my Practicum binder and project, plus the end of the school year, that I have barely had time to do anything else.  Seriously.  I think my grass is up to my knees right now.  (I'm sure that has something to do with the rain we've been getting, and I'm just going to blame it on that!)

So anyway, now that I am on my summer break, I'd like to fill you in on some of the fun activities we did in my classroom in the last month and a half.  I have a post about some writing we did, our Derby activities, and some other end-of-year fun stuff.  If I really have some time, I might fill you in on some stuff we did throughout the year that I never got to write about.  Whew!  Plus, I have some other great stuff planned to do this summer!

The first thing I want to tell you about is a fun, week long reading activity we did with our shared reading.

If your school uses the Rigby Literacy Program (and Literacy By Design, I believe), then you might be familiar with this book:

In this story, the Wolf tells side of the story and tries to prove his innocence.  However, his "witnesses" are such shady characters as the Evil Queen from Snow White, Pinocchio, and the Troll who keeps the Billy Goats from crossing the bridge.  So last year, I thought it would be fun to read this story and have the kids decide if the wolf was guilty or not.  Of course, there was a slight problem with this:  the students were unfamiliar with some of the stories!  You'd think they would know Snow White or Pinocchio, but they didn't!  They really had a hard time thinking about those characters and making a decision on whether or not the wolf was guilty or innocent.  So this year, I came up with a plan to get the students to think about the other characters and decide if the wolf was as innocent as he said he was.

Enter:  The Evidence Files.

In order to get the students to really think about these unsavory characters, I created a packet that each student could use to write down their observations about each character and make judgments about that character based on their actions.  We wrote down 3 actions of each character, determined some character traits for each character, and decided on which character trait we thought best described each character.  At the end of the week, we decided if the wolf was guilty or innocent, and wrote our opinion and reasons why before voting as a class.

The kids LOVED IT.

I put up some signs around the room to build up some anticipation.  They were very intrigued to find out why all these things were hanging around the room.  But I wouldn't tell them until it was time for reading!

They were so excited when I explained that we were going to help solve a horrible crime.  I handed each of them their packets and we began by reading The Wolf's Story.  Then we read original Three Little Pigs story and collected evidence about the pigs.  The kids were surprised to read about some of the "bad" things the pigs did.  Then, each day, we read a different book about each character in the book, and collected our "evidence".  We also chose character traits for the character and listed them on a chart.  The kids also added some new words to our chart, but they had to be able to tell why the character demonstrated that character trait.  We started out with a few words I wrote down to get started, and doubled the words on the chart by the end of the unit!  So cool!

 Here they are, collecting their evidence.   (I had a few Kinder friends in here this day, so they didn't have a packet.  They just followed along.)  I love how each of my first graders was engaged in their work!  

Here is an example of a few of the sheets from the book.  There were 2 pages for each character.  They could write down 3 things about each character on the first page, and then list some descriptions for that character and choose 1 major character trait for that character on the second page.  I wanted them to really think about the characters before deciding on their verdict.

On the last day, we took one last look at our "evidence", which I hung on my word wall board.  

And then the students decided if the wolf was guilty or innocent. 

After we wrote our verdict, we voted.

So... was the wolf guilty?


This was SUCH a fun activity.  The kids had a great time, and so did I.  I can't wait to do it again next year.  I have some great ideas to make it even more fun. :-)

Does anybody else teach Rigby or Literacy by Design and absolutely love this book?  I think it is such a fun way to get kids to think about characters, and I really love fractured fairy tales anyway, so it's perfect for me!  

What is your favorite thing to teach during shared reading?  This is probably up there as one of my favorite shared reading books, and I had so much fun.  Anything that gets my kids engaged is fun to me! :-)

Hope you all are having a great summer!


  1. That looks like such a fun project!
    I'm so glad to have met you at the free craft, and at the Louisville bloggers meet up.
    Happy Summer!

    1. It was a ton of fun, and the kids were so excited about it. Can't beat that!

      I am so excited to have met you at the craft and blogger meet up, and I can't wait for the next one!


  2. Hey Erica! I found you on the Louisville Bloggers Facebook page. I like your website! Mine is an education blog as well, but for a much younger group- my toddler. I'll check back on your website for ideas!


    1. Thanks! I'll definitely check out your blog too! I know of a few other moms who work with their kids and blog about it. :-)


  3. Congrats on finishing your masters!

    This project looks amazing!

    1. Thanks! I'm excited about finishing, and I'm excited that this went over so well with my students!


  4. I love your excitement for teaching and that you were able to change your curriculum so that you made sure that you were teaching at the kids' level so they would get the most out of the book. We actually did a musical in elementary school called, "The Trial of the Big Bad Wolf". It was one of my favorites. Wow, that was such a long time ago!

    1. That musical sounds intriguing- I wonder if it is still around? We did a play in 4th grade about Snow White where she was super fit and healthy and the evil queen (who I played!) poisoned her smoothie or something. It was funny. Isn't it interesting the things we remember? I hope this is something my students will remember when they are my age! :-)

      Thanks for visiting my blog!