The Girl Who Cried Martian

play by Bill Condon , illustrated by Douglas Holgate

Learning intentions:

I am learning to compare texts with similar themes so that I can experiment with adapting texts using the same theme.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify thematic similarities between texts.
  • I can identify morals in fables and fairy tales.
  • I can experiment with codes and conventions to create a text based on the morals of a fable or fairy tale.


Essential knowledge:               

  • More information about representation can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Representation.
  • More information about genre can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Genre.
  • More information about codes and conventions can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Code and Convention.


Focus question: How does representation in different modes operate according to its own codes and conventions?


Prior to reading the text, read aloud the title The Girl Who Cried Martian and ask students if they can link it to a text they already know. If needed, guide students towards the answer The Boy Who Cried Wolf. As a class, recap the story of The Boy Who Cried Wolf and ask what sort of similarities they might find in The Girl Who Cried Martian.


Read The Girl Who Cried Martian as a class or listen to the audio recording. Discuss as a class whether students’ predictions of textual similarities were correct. Use a Venn Diagram or T-Chart to compare the two stories. For example, students might notice the narrative use of threes – that the princess cries Martian three times and the boy cries wolf three times. They might also note the Martian and the wolf appear at the end, and that no one believed the protagonists.


Ask students to consider what the connecting moral of the stories could be. Answers should be along the lines of Telling lies means people won’t believe you when you tell the truth.


Brainstorm other fables and fairy tales as a class until there is a wide list to choose from. Explain that students will be writing a text based off one of the stories on the board using similar themes. The text can be a poem, play or narrative, as long as it is a different genre to the original. Before they begin, ensure students answer the following questions:

  • How will the change in type/genre of text change the way you represent your characters? (For example, if you set Puss in Boots in a science fiction genre, you might change the cat to a robot.)
  • What is the moral of your chosen text?
  • How will you portray the moral in your own text?
  • What codes and conventions can you use for your chosen genre? (These are themes, tropes, characters, topics, plot beats and situations. For example, a fantasy might have a big battle at the end, a Western might have a cowboy walking into a saloon and a mystery might have a detective character.)


Assessment of learning:

Give students time to write their text. The School Magazine’s Imaginative Texts Marking Rubric can be used for planning and assessment either formally or as a peer or self-assessment.