"Steal" a Story

Illustration Elements

Illustration Éléments

Illustration Sub-competencies


Students were provided the following assignment:

James Shapiro wrote about William Shakespeare, “There are many ways of being original. Inventing a plot from scratch is only one of them and never held much appeal for Shakespeare.” Shakespeare, the English language’s most celebrated playwright, was famous for taking plots from other stories of his age and recasting them as plays. He’d change things in important ways, but even then, the plots of plays like Julius Caesar, Hamlet, and As You Like It were recognizably lifted from other sources. Nowadays that trick could get him sued for plagiarism or at least force him to pay royalties to the writers whose stories he used. In his day, though, no one minded, and now the only reason we remember most of the stories he stole is because he turned them into something better. For this assignment, I’d like you to “steal” a story. Please begin with a story that you’ve already heard--anything from a fairy tale to a myth to a movie to a book--and change it for your purposes. Be sure to credit the original source!


Student Work Sample

This student retells the story of Humpty Dumpty and changes the format from a story to a news item.  


I can get new ideas or build on or combine other people’s ideas to create new things within the constraints of a form, a problem, or materials.

I can get new ideas to create new things or solve straightforward problems. My ideas are fun, entertaining, or useful to me and my peers, and I have a sense of accomplishment. I can use my imagination to get new ideas of my own, or build on other’s ideas, or combine other people’s ideas in new ways. I can usually make my ideas work within the constraints of a given form, problem, or materials if I keep playing with them.


I communicate clearly and purposefully, using a variety of forms and strategies appropriately.

I share my ideas and try to connect them with others’ ideas. I am an active listener—I make connections and ask clarifying and extending questions when appropriate. I can plan ways to make my message clear and engaging for my audience and create communications that focus on a variety of purposes and audiences. I acquire the information I need for specific tasks and for my interests and present it clearly.