Authentic Lessons for 21st Century Learning

Online Draft - Setting: Where It's At

Setting and Conflict

Bj Sneed, Shelby Blackwood, Brittany Bowens, Dewey Hulsey, James Morris

Based on Setting: Where It's At by Bj Sneed.

  • Grade Level Grade Level
  • Subject Subject
  • Course Course


In this lesson, students will experiment with changing the setting in well-known fairy tales and will examine how the conflict would shift in the new setting. Students will explore the Prologue in Romeo and Juliet and analyze how the setting affects the conflict. Finally, students will rewrite their version of the Prologue with a twist. This lesson is multi-modal, which means it's intended to show the face to face, online, and blended versions of the lesson. The online modality lesson provides teachers with online learning resources that may be distributed to students using a Learning Management System (LMS), such as Canvas or eKadence. The lesson below is available for download as a Canvas Cartridge which may be imported into Canvas. The Canvas cartridge includes interactive student activities and teachers notes.

Essential Question(s)

What is the nature of conflict? How can the setting of a story affect conflict?


Engage Students will analyze how changing the setting in a fairy tale might affect the conflict and characters.

Explore Students will watch a video of a reading of the Prologue from Romeo and Juliet and will complete a close reading activity of the prologue using text annotation.

Explain  Students will watch a video about the importance of setting in a story. They will then analyze how the conflict and characters in Romeo and Juliet might have changed if the setting changed. 

Extend Students will revise the prologue from Romeo and Juliet by using another rivalry. They will change the characters, setting, and conflict.

Evaluate  Students will reflect on what they have learned about how setting affects different elements of a story.

Instructional Formats

The term "Multimodality" refers to the ability of a lesson to be offered in more than one modality (i.e. face-to-face, online, blended). This lesson has been designed to be offered in multiple formats, while still meeting the same standards and learning objectives. Though fundamentally the same lesson, you will notice that the different modalities may require the lesson to be approached differently. Select the modality that you are interested in to be taken to the section of the course designed for that form of instruction.



  • I Used to Think, But Now I Know Template

  • Copy of Prologue

  • Paper

  • Pencil

  • Highlighter

  • Flipgrid Presentation Rubric



30 Minute(s)

Tell students: 

“We all grew up hearing different fairy tales. Every good story has some kind of conflict. Little Red Riding Hood, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, Hansel and Gretal, and so on.

In this activity, you are going to think about some familiar fairy tales, but the setting will be different from the original story. Your job is to consider how the conflict and/or characters of the story may change. For example, if the three bears lived in a big city, they would probably  lock their doors. How does this affect the conflict in the story? How does that affect Goldilocks? You might say Goldilocks couldn’t just walk in their house. She would have to break in, which would make her a criminal, escalating the conflict.”

Display slide 5. Tell students:

“Choose one of the given scenarios. Think about how the conflict and/or characters of the story change based on the new setting.”

Display slide 6. Have students write their thoughts in a writer’s notebook or a blank sheet of paper. Students should share with each other using the Elbow Partner strategy. Ask for any volunteers to share with the class. 



45 Minute(s)

Display slide 7. Tell students:

 “In a prologue, we are usually given background information about the text we are about to read, but in Romeo and Juliet, we are also given the ultimate outcome of the play.

After viewing the video presentation, you will complete a close reading of the Prologue.”

View Prologue: Romeo and Juliet

After viewing video, tell students: “Using the Annotating Text strategy, you will look for unfamiliar words, clues to the setting, and emotionally charged words.”

Pass out copies of the Prologue. Display slide 8. Review the instructions on how to annotate. Give students time to annotate the text. This should take 15-20 minutes.

How to annotate:

  • Circle: Unknown words

  • Put a box around: Words that give you a clue to the setting of the story

  • Highlight: Emotionally charged words

  • Underline: Repeated words or phrases

  • In the margins write: Connections you make with the text or any questions you have about the text

Teacher’s note: If teaching virtually, students could use Google Docs to annotate with these options:

Use Google Docs to annotate:

  • Highlight in green: Unknown words

  • Highlight in pink: Words that give you a clue to the setting of the story

  • Highlight in yellow: Emotionally charged words

  • Underline: Repeated words or phrases

  • In the margins or as comments: Connections you make with the text or any questions you have about the text

Display slide 9. Tell the students:

“When you have finished annotating the prologue, use the 3-2-1 Strategy to share your thoughts on it. You will answer the three prompts in the strategy.”

3-2-1 Prompts: 3 words that gave you insight into the setting, 2 inferences you could make about the plot, and 1 prediction. Students should write down their answers to the three prompts in the 3-2-1 strategy.

Technology option: Post your answers to the prompts on the shared Padlet board.

Students should write down their answers to the three prompts in the 3-2-1 strategy. 

Display slide 10. Once again, have students use the Elbow Partner strategy to share their thoughts. Ask for volunteers to share to the whole class.



30 Minute(s)

Display slide 11. View

Then, tell students they are going to view a video giving a some clarification to what they have annotated.

Display slide 12. View

Tell students: “On a sheet of paper, write your thoughts of how the characters, conflict, and outcome might be different in the play if Romeo and Juliet took place today in another city. Maybe it takes place in your town and either Romeo or Juliet is your friend. How would a change in setting affect the characters or conflict?”



60 Minute(s)

Display slide 13. Tell students:

“In this activity, you will rewrite the Prologue from Romeo and Juliet using a different setting, conflict, and characters. When planning your revision, consider carefully how the setting has impacted/will impact the conflict in your story. 

Shakespeare wrote in a very specific way and there is a rhythm to the lines that you could try to mimic. Try to use the same poetic form as the original Prologue in Romeo and Juliet, i.e., 14 lines, every other line rhymes except for the last two, last two lines rhyme.”

Some ideas for rivalries/enemies are listed on the slide, but students should be allowed to come up with their own pair if they so choose. You could copy these and hand out to students, or you could brainstorm a list with students.

Teacher’s note: If students do not have a good understanding of the Prologue, here is a modern translation. You could copy the translation or review using Slide 14.

Give students time to write their revision of the Prologue. This might take an entire class period.

Teacher’s Note: You could add a presentation piece to this activity by having students share their writing on a video on Flipgrid or they could perform in front of the class.



30 Minute(s)

Teacher’s note: You may print a copy of the I Used to Think, But Now I Know template, or students could create a T-chart on a blank sheet of paper.

Display slide 15. Tell students:

“You will now create a Flipgrid video sharing what you have learned about setting and how it affects the conflict in a story. 

Before you record your reflection, complete this I Used to Think, But Now I Know template. Consider what you knew about setting and its role in a story before you started this lesson. Record that on the left side of the T-Chart. Then, think about what you have learned as you completed the activities in this lesson. Write that on the right side of the T-Chart. Use this information to create your reflection for the video. Be sure to include examples from the lesson in your discussion and how setting affects the conflict in a story.

Be sure to speak clearly and practice before you record your presentation.”

Teacher’s note: If you prefer, students could write their reflection instead of making a video. This could be done in Google Docs or handwritten.