Think back to all of the classic fairy tales you have read or have been read to you over the years. Cinderella, Jack and the Beanstalk, Little Red Riding Hood, and the list goes on. Classic fairy tales usually include a number of common elements.

The Common Elements of Fairy Tales

  1. Fairy tales do not need to include fairies.
  2. They are set in the distant past.
  3. They include supernatural, make-believe or fantasy elements like magic.
  4. There are clearly defined good characters and bad characters.
  5. Things usually happen in threes.
  6. The plot involves a problem or conflict that needs to be solved.
  7. The ending solves the conflict and is usually happy.
  8. The tale teaches some sort of lesson or demonstrates something important.

Okay, so you’ve probably been told a million times you should never start a story with “Once upon a time…” That’s true most of the time. Not for this writing challenge. What better way to start a classic fairy tale than with, “Once upon a time…”?

Remember, this is a classic fairy tale. Later on, we’ll give you another writing challenge where you can create something a little more wacky. (In other words, save the ninjas and aliens for a later writing challenge.)

For Teachers:

  1. In your Bonus Word List Manager, go to the Shared tab and copy over the “Classic Fairy Tale” Bonus Word List. You may want to add some of your own words to the list. Be sure to assign the list to your class. 
  2. As mentioned above, the prompt for this writing challenge is, “Once upon a time…”

Have fun, and we hope this writing challenge lives happily ever after.