The Hare and the Tortoise

play by James Bean and Gillian Flaherty , illustrated by Cheryl Orsini

Learning intention:

I am learning to identify the different ways characters, events and settings can be portrayed so that I can create a text based on a fairy tale.


Success criteria:

  • I can identify ways the same story can be portrayed in differently.
  • I can discuss ways a text could be changed to portray events or characters differently.
  • I can rewrite a fairy tale, changing at least one aspect.


Essential knowledge:

  • More information about types of texts can be found in the English Textual Concepts video Genre.


Pre-lesson preparation:

See if the school library has a copy of the original story The Tortoise and the Hare. Also find a few fractured fairy tales, such as The True Story of the Three Little Pigs by Jon Scieszka or Falling for Rapunzel by Lea Wilcox.


Before reading the play, brainstorm all the fairy tales students have heard of and write their answers on the board (such as Cinderella, Snow White, Rapunzel, Three Billy Goats Gruff, Little Red Riding Hood, Sleeping Beauty etc). Draw students’ attention to The Tortoise and the Hare. Review the original story, either with a library book or online.


Read the play The Tortoise and the Hare from Countdown as a class. Ask students how the text in the magazine is different from the original story. Answers include that it’s a play, it’s in rhyme, there are extra characters (the spectators), who discuss the race.


Ask students if they’ve come across the story or characters from The Hare and the Tortoise before, and whether it followed close to the original or was changed somehow (such as in a fractured fairy tale).


Brainstorm other stories that are based on fairy tales but have been changed slightly. Use fractured fairy tales from the library to discuss how stories can be changed (ensure students are aware of the original story before reading the twisted versions).


Students spent a few minutes brainstorming with a partner about how they might change a fairy tale. Sample answers include:

  • changing the genre e.g., turning it into play or poem
  • changing the literary genre e.g., making it a Wild West story or a sci fi story
  • making the villain the hero/the hero the villain
  • giving it a twist ending (e.g., the rats come back to town and rescue the children from the Pied Piper – this activity will be for more capable students)


Students are to choose one or two aspects from their brainstorm and write a new version of a popular fairy tale. Remind students that they should only change a few parts of the story so it is still recognisable as the original fairy tale (for example, if they change the events of the story, they should keep the characters the same; if they change the setting, they should keep the plot the same; if they change the genre, they should keep the rest of the story the same). Use the rubric on assessing and evaluating imaginative texts to evaluate their writing.