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Alternative Endings Teacher Resources
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Creating an alternative ending to a narrative is the focus of a five-part series of videos that use W. W. Jacobs’ short story “The Monkey’s Paw” to model the process. This video, the third in the series, shows viewers how to use an outline and meaningful language to draft the previously planned conclusion. The video would work best shown with the others after a close reading of the tale.
Third graders write a formal letter to an author. In this expansive writing lesson, 3rd graders write a formal letter to an author suggesting an alternate ending for a story the author has written. This lesson requires students to know how to write a formal letter, as well as requiring them to be able to analyze a story.
Second graders re-write a story. In this alternate endings lesson, 2nd graders read Alexander and the Wind-Up Mouse, by Leo Lionni, stopping to discuss the events and predict what will happen next. Students work in groups to come up with a different ending to the story and then share their endings with the class.
Upper elementary learners use their imagination and the writing process to compose short stories with correct grammar, punctuation, spelling, etc. To incorporate technology, they use PowerPoint to create a presentation of their stories. In addition, they have the opportunity to create an alternate ending to their classmates' stories.
The students recall events from Dr. Seuss' story The Lorax and make connections to environmental issues affecting their lives. They are expected to reflect on the facts of the story and respond verbally stating the inferences they made in order to devise alternative endings or possible solutions. Students make judgments and begin to observe positive actions that will preserve the condition of the earth.
What if . . .? Is the view of the empty street in front of the White’s house the only possible ending to “The Monkey’s Paw”? The narrator of this short video models for viewers how to use brainstorming to generate possible alternative conclusions to W. W. Jacobs’ short story that remain true to his warning that we should not tempt fate, or we will suffer the consequences. Part one of a five-part series focusing on narrative writing and using “The Monkey’s Paw” as an anchor text, this video could be used alone, but should follow a close reading of the story.
Investigate the life of Mahatma Gandhi by researching non-violent lifestyles. Learners define the word ahimsa and discuss the personal characteristics that made Gandhi a peaceful warrior. They also create a poster about the story "The Little Red Hen" as an example of a story with a moral. This is a multi-grade lesson because it can be adapted to so many different stories and examples. Character analysis and comparisons between texts are made.
Altering the ending of a famous fairy tale is a really fun way for kids to experience creative writing. The lesson here has them do just that! Learners listen to the famous fairy tale, "The Twelve Brothers," and change the ending of the tale any way they want. Pupils share their endings with each other, then illustrate the ending. Even with a class of 25 pupils, you'll be amazed at how each child will come up with a different way for the fairy tale to end.
If your class just finished Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde, have them reflect on the ending. With this post-reading activity, readers consider an alternate ending and must decide whether or not the formula and the antidote should be destroyed or preserved and which character should be responsible for either of these decisions. Answering these questions requires readers to revisit the text in search of textual evidence to support their response.
Analyze and interpret a literary work your class has read during the course. After reading a variety of literary works, middle schoolers alter the ending of a selection by creating an alternate ending. They generate five comprehension questions related to their alternate ending and interpretation of the story. The lesson focuses on literary elements such as plot and theme. A student example is included.
Students complete a variety of activities related to story of "Goldilocks and the Three Bears" as written by James Marshall. They retell the story using flannel board pieces, discuss alternative endings for the story, and create illustrations for their new ending. Students also sort items by size and cook and eat porridge.
Fourth graders identify social, moral, or cultural issues in stories such as problems faced by characters. They discuss how characters deal with the problems and locate evidence as it appears in the text. They write 3 paragraphs or chapters to collect, order, and build ideas.
Readers write a formal letter to an author offering an alternative ending to a story the author has written. First, the class reads a story or novel. Upon finishing the reading, they are introduced to the format of a formal letter. They then write a letter to the author suggesting an alternative ending. Final letters are either mailed or stored in student portfolios.
Middle schoolers participate in the production of a play that highlights the direct linkage between storm drains and natural river, stream, or creek ecosystems. They explore their thoughts, feelings, and actions through dramatic interaction and reflection. They improvise and discuss alternative endings to the skit.
Students research the time frame of Anne Frank's death and the end of the concentration camps and develop a story of her life as if she had survived. They read and analyze "The Diary of Anne Frank," and write a journal entry from the point of Anne Frank as if she had survived.