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An Unfinished Tale...



  • Arts & Humanities
    --Language Arts
  • Health
    --Mental Health


  • K-2
  • 3-5

Brief Description

Challenge students to write an ending for this tale of a lesson learned.



  • listen carefully as the first part of a story is read aloud or they will read the start of a tale to themselves.
  • write a resolution to the story that explains the lesson learned by the prince and princess.
  • include proper use of punctuation as they write closing dialogue for a story (if this is an appropriate skill for their grade level).


fairytale, fable, ending, resolution, lesson, lesson learned, moral

Materials Needed

Lesson Plan

The Absolutely Whootie: Stories to Grow By Web site is a treasure trove of fairy tales and folktales. In this lesson, students will write an appropriate ending for one of those tales, The Talisman.

Begin the lesson by telling students that you are going to read aloud part of a story about a prince and a princess who are extremely happy except for one thing. Encourage students to listen carefully because when you finish reading you will ask them to write an ending for the story.

Read aloud the first nine paragraphs of the story. The story tells of a prince and princess, newly married, who are extremely happy except the only thing that seemed at all less than perfect was the worry that over time their perfect happiness and contentment could fade. The couple approaches a wise old hermit who sends them on a mission.

Instead of reading aloud the story if you teach third or fourth grade you might provide students with a copy of the first nine paragraphs of the story for them to read to themselves.
Read aloud (or have students read) through the end of the paragraph that says Discouraged, the prince and princess returned to the wise old man's hut. The hermit asked them what they had found.

This is the point where you want to leave students hanging. The ending is probably pretty obvious to most students; they will likely see clearly that the prince and princess learned that perfect happiness is not possible; everyone (every couple) has something in their lives that they would like to change. Encourage students to write an ending, in their own words, to the story. The ending should detail the conversation the prince and princess have with the wise old hermit as they tell him the lesson they have learned from their travels.

Depending on the grade you teach, you might

  • If you teach first grade, you might ask students to write a sentence that explains the lesson learned by the prince and princess.
  • If you teach second grade, you might challenge them to write a paragraph that presents a viable ending to the story.
  • If you teach third grade, you might ask students to write a detailed conversation. All of the characters -- the prince, the princess, and the wise old man -- should have something to say.
  • If you teach fourth grade, you might expect even more detail. In addition, you will expect students to use correct punctuation -- quotation marks, commas, and so on -- in the conversations they write.


Did students follow the instructions? Did they meet the expectations you had for their writing?

Lesson Plan Source

Submitted By

Gary Hopkins

National Standards

NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.3 Evaluation Strategies
NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
NL-ENG.K-12.9 Multicultural Understanding
NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

The health lesson presented in this story is a lesson of mental health. It is the lesson that perfect happiness is not possible; that everyone has issues or circumstances with which they must come to terms.
NPH-H.K-4.1 Health Promotion and Disease Prevention
NPH-H.K-4.4 Health Influences
NPH-H.K-4.5 Using Communication Skills to Promote Health

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