Lesson plan

How and Why Stories

In this lesson, students have a great time using their imaginations to collaborate and create their own story following the "how and why" style of common folktales.
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Students will be able to work as a group to express and share their ideas. They will also be able to write and illustrate their own "how and why" story.

(5 minutes)
  • Before reading How the Camel Got His Hump, ask your students to name some animals with interesting characteristics.
  • Tell the students they will listen to a story about why an animal is the way it is. Allow them to make predictions about the story.
  • Tell the students that this style of storytelling is called "how and why" and that the stories are not factual, or filled with facts.
(15 minutes)
  • Play the How the Camel Got His Hump interactive story.
  • Ask your students questions about the order of events. Possible guiding questions could be: "How did the camel look in the beginning of the story? Then what happened? What did he look like after?"
(30 minutes)
  • Tell your students that they are going to use their imaginations to write a class story about why an animal is unusual.
  • Ask your students to give you ideas of animals whose characteristics they could write about.
  • Write their ideas on the white board. Possible ideas and details include: elephant (long trunk), skunk (smelly), and giraffe (long neck).
  • Ask your students to decide which they would like to write about.
  • Once they have decided which animal, elicit ideas from the students for the story and write their ideas on the board. Encourage them to use their imaginations and humor.
  • Ask the students to help you write the story and guide them with sentence starters such as "Long ago, the elephant had... Then one day..."
  • Write the corresponding page number and one or two simple sentences on chart paper for each "page" of the book.
  • The number of pages for the book should be half the number of students in your class.
(30 minutes)
  • Divide the class into pairs. Have them tell the story to each other to make sure they include all the details from the story.
  • Give each pair of students a blank piece of white paper. Assign a page of the story for each pair.
  • Instruct the students to copy the sentences of the page they have been assigned along the top of the page and to work together to illustrate their page.
  • Ask partnerships to think about their drawings and the details they should add. Remind them to think about the two sentences that correspond with their page of the book. Tell students their drawings should clarify the thoughts, ideas, or feelings discussed in their two pages.
  • Early finishers can make additional drawings for the facing pages and a cover page.


  • Have advanced students work on the Animal Word Search With Images worksheet.


  • Give struggling students the Animal Matching List worksheet.
  • Have students work in a teacher-led group to create a drawing that goes with their two sentences of the story. Ask students to share their ideas for their drawings before they complete their drawings.
(25 minutes)
  • Ask the students to show the class the pictures they have drawn and tell how their drawings relate to the sentences of the story. They should speak about how the drawings helped show the thoughts, feelings, and ideas found on their page of the story.
  • Challenge students to tell the story aloud in groups or partnerships. Remind them to include the details from the class story and elaborate on the story as they see fit.
  • Have students work on worksheets if time allows (see Differentiation for details). Collect the worksheets once they're done. Review them to assess their understanding.
(25 minutes)
  • After the students have finished copying their sentences and illustrating the pages, they can help gather the pages together in order.
  • Use a spiral binding machine with a clear plastic cover to make the book.
  • When the book is ready, the students can present the book together.

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