StoryTales Set

Different Ending

Understand story elements like plot and events and how a story can be changed.

0-30 min
Reception-Year 1


  • Review this lesson plan and choose what you need from the Teacher Support box.

  • If necessary, pre-teach these related vocabulary words: plot, main events, beginning, middle, end.

  • Consider the abilities and backgrounds of all your students and decide when and how to introduce and differentiate lesson content, activities, or concepts.

  • If the background cards are missing or broken, you can download them from the Additional Resources section of the Teacher Support box.


  • Read the story The Three Billy Goats Gruff (or substitute a different story that is more relevant to your class).

  • Prompt a discussion about story plots by explaining that main events (i.e., the events that take place in a story) make up the story’s plot. For instance, in The Three Billy Goats Gruff, each time a Billy Goat sets foot onto the bridge, that is a main event and part of the plot.

  • Ask the students to recall the main events of the story.

  • Consider asking questions like:

    • What happened at the beginning of the story?
    • What were the main events in the middle of the story?
    • What happened at the end of the story?


  • Tell the students that stories are sometimes rewritten with completely different endings.

  • Ask the students to build a scene depicting an alternate ending to The Three Billy Goats Gruff. Older students may work in pairs.

  • Encourage the students to build their scene and then take turns role-playing the alternate ending using the billy goat figures. If they have difficulty thinking of a new ending, brainstorm a list as a class or show an example of an alternate ending like a scene of the troll and Billy Goats Gruff becoming friends and having a tea party (see below).



  • When the students have finished building, encourage each student to show and describe his or her alternate ending.

  • Consider asking questions like:

    • How did you come up with your alternate ending?
    • How is your ending different from the original?
    • What is the main event in your alternate ending?
  • After each student has shared, discuss how everyone came up with different endings even though they used the same characters. Explain that everyone has a unique perspective and it is interesting to hear the thoughts of others.


  • Tell the students that changing the plot of stories can be interesting, but that authors sometimes change the settings too.

  • Ask the students to build and retell The Three Billy Goats Gruff using a different setting (see the activity card below for an inspirational image of a space setting). Older students may work in pairs.

  • Remind the students to think about how a story’s setting affects the characters.

  • Consider asking questions like:

    • What would the characters do differently in this setting?
    • How would the troll act in this setting?
  • Encourage the students to build their scenes and then take turns adding the billy goat figures and role-playing the beginning, middle, and end of the story.

Did you notice?

  • Ask guiding questions to elicit students’ thinking and their decisions while ideating.

Observation Checklist

  • Review the learning objectives and educational standards addressed in this lesson (Teacher Support box). 

  • Share specific student responses and behaviors at different levels of mastery.

  • Use the following checklist to observe students’ progress:

    • Students are able to express their thoughts, ideas, and opinions to others.
    • Students are able to understand the fundamental narrative structure and elements.

Teacher Support

Students will:

  • Understand story elements like plot and main events
  • Practice recalling and retelling a story
  • Alter an existing story
  • Compare and contrast versions of stories

For up to 6 students.

CCSS.ELA-LITERACY.SL.K.6 Speak audibly and express thoughts, feelings, and ideas clearly.