EL Support Lesson

Realism and Fantasy

Use this lesson to help your ELs learn about the differences between realism and fantasy. This lesson can stand alone or be used as a pre-lesson for the *Making Sense of Realism and Fantasy* lesson.
This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMaking Sense of Realism and FantasyLesson plan.
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This lesson can be used as a pre-lesson for theMaking Sense of Realism and FantasyLesson plan.

Students will be able to use details in a text to distinguish between elements of realism and fantasy.


Students will be able to describe realism and fantasy with noun phrases using a graphic organizer.

(2 minutes)
Write Student-Facing Language Objectives ReferenceTeach Background Knowledge TemplateVocabulary Cards: Realism and FantasyGlossary: Realism and FantasyRealism and Fantasy: Noun PhrasesRealism and Fantasy in Context
  • Facilitate a Think-Pair-Share by asking students to silently think about the difference between RealAnd Fake. Have them turn and talk to a partner to share their answers. Then, call on students to share out their ideas with the class. Confirm and rephrase student answers as needed.
  • Explain that there are certain things to look at when we decide if something is real or fake.
  • Share a student-friendly language objective by reading it aloud (I can give examples of things that are real and fake). Have learners choral read the language objective. Explain that in today's lesson, they will categorize noun phrases as examples of either realism or fantasy.
(10 minutes)
  • Explain that RealismIs something that can happen in real life. Provide an example of realism, such as "A kid who slips in the mud is an example of realism because this could really happen". Explain that FantasyIs something that can not happen in real life. Provide an example of fantasy, such as "A kid's arms turned into wings and she flew through the clouds."
  • Give each student Vocabulary Cards and instruct them to draw an image to help them remember the definition of each key term.
  • Assign each student a number (1 or 2). Explain that all students labeled as 1 will become word experts on Realism, while all students labeled as 2 will become word experts on Fantasy. Distribute a blank Graphic Organizer Template: Frayer Model worksheet to each student, and review the components of the graphic organizer.
  • Have students complete their graphic organizers independently, and then check their information with other word experts who explored the same word.
  • Pair a RealismWord expert with a FantasyWord expert, and have them share their Frayer Models.
  • Call on nonvolunteers to share information from their Frayer Models with the class. Ask them to share one new thing they learned.
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Realism and Fantasy: Noun Phrases worksheets. Go over the information box at the top, and have students read aloud the example sentence as a class. Point out that the sentence has two noun phrases, but some sentences have only one.
  • Model identifying the noun phrase in the first sentence. Underline it on the teacher copy while students underline it on their copies.
  • Put learners into partnerships and have them complete the remainder of Part 1 on the worksheet. Call on nonvolunteers to share out answers. Call on other nonvolunteers to confirm or deny the answers, and explain.
  • Share that noun phrases are often key details in sentences and stories that give us information about the characters, setting, and plot. When we pay attention to the noun phrases, we can learn whether the story is real or fantasy.
  • Model identifying the noun phrase in the first example in Part 2, and identify it as fantasy because it is not something that could happen in real life.
  • Instruct partners to complete the remainder of the worksheet. When all partnerships have completed the worksheet, put two sets of partnerships together to create a group of four students. Have the class discuss answers and explain their reasoning with the following sentence frame: "This noun phrase is an example of ____Because ____."
(10 minutes)
  • Distribute the Realism and Fantasy in Context worksheet to each student and display a copy on the document camera.
  • Ask a student to explain the difference between realism and fantasy in their own words. Provide a sentence frame, if necessary: "Realism is ____, while fantasy is ____."
  • Have students read the passage to themselves, circling any unfamiliar words they wish to discuss. Define and provide images, as needed. Then, choral read the first sentence with the class.
  • Point out the underlined noun phrases in the first sentence and explain that these are realistic things. They could exist in real life, so they should be categorized into the RealismSide of the graphic organizer.
  • Pair students and have them continue reading the first paragraph and classifying the noun phrase. Call on nonvolunteers to share answers, and record them on the teacher copy.
  • Scramble the partners and have them follow the same process for the second paragraph. Check the answers in the graphic organizer as a class, and encourage learners to explain their reasoning. Call on other students to rephrase and clarify what their peers said.


  • Allow access to reference materials in home language (L1).
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary to the teacher.
  • Provide sentence stems and frames for class discussion in the Word Level section. For example:
    • The word ___Means ____.
    • This is a picture of a ____And I think that connects to the word ____Because _____.


  • Allow learners to utilize glossaries and dictionaries for unfamiliar words.
  • Choose advanced ELs to share their ideas first in group and class discussions. Have them add on, rephrase, and ask clarifying questions in group discussions.
  • Have learners repeat instructions and key vocabulary, summarizing important information for the class.
(5 minutes)
  • Distribute an index card to each student and instruct students to write down the noun phrase in each sentence. Have them label it with an R for realism or F for fantasy.
  • The blue striped horse galloped through the city. (blue striped horse label F)
  • My pink polka dot umbrella was useful in the rain. (pink polka dot umbrella label R)
(3 minutes)
  • Have students share noun phrases and their categorizations with a partner. Call on nonvolunteers to share with the whole group.
  • Review the definitions of RealismAnd Fantasy, and point out that they both create enjoyable forms of fictional texts to read. Explain that good readers pay attention to the details in a text, and identify them as realism or fantasy to better understand the story.

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