SEL Skill Development through a Story

Fairytale: A Parable

Read this story and alter your class dynamics.

Social and Emotional Learning through Story

This story and the strategies is adaptable for grade 1 to adult.


Students walk about in the space when the leader calls a number. The students form groups and create a statue/tableau with that group. They must remember where they are in the space and what shape they made so when that number is called again, they quickly recreate that tableau.

(This is a great “minds on” activity for an upcoming story or topic.)The concepts below can be simplified for younger students i.e. 1 witch, 2 friends, 3 shunning, 4 getting along, 1 jealous, 2 kindness, 3 witch, 4 giving/happy/content

Read to the end of the second paragraph.


Use the unit as it is here. Call or email if you need support with these strategies. OR, for a broader cross-curricular experience with this story, invite Margaret to co-create and co-teach with you.


  • Specific teaching of social and emotional skills

  • Math

  • The Arts

  • Language Arts

  • A sharing assembly

  1. Once upon a time, a long time ago, there lived two very happy people called Tim and Maggie with two children called John and Lucy. To understand how happy they were, you have to understand how things were in those days. You see, in those days everyone was given at birth a small, soft, Fuzzy Bag. Anytime a person reached into this bag he was able to pull out a Warm Fuzzy. Warm Fuzzies were very much in demand because whenever somebody was given a Warm Fuzzy, it made him feel warm and fuzzy all over. People who didn’t get Warm Fuzzies regularly were in danger of developing a sickness in their back which caused them to shrivel up and die.

  1. In those days, it was very easy to get Warm Fuzzies. Anytime that somebody felt like it, he might walk up to you and say, “I’d like to have a Warm Fuzzy.” You would then reach into your bag and pull out a Fuzzy the size of a little girl’s hand. As soon as the Fuzzy saw the light of day it would smile and blossom into a large, shaggy Warm Fuzzy. You would then lay it on the person’s shoulder or head or lap and it would snuggle up and melt right against their skin and make them feel good all over. People were always asking each other for Warm Fuzzies, and since they were always given freely, getting enough of them was never a problem. There were always plenty to go around and as a consequence, everyone was happy and felt warm and fuzzy most of the time.

Ask students the definition of warm fuzzies. Think, pair, share. (smile at someone, a hug, a compliment, a favour, etc.)

Walk About: Have students walk about giving each other warm fuzzies. (Encourage them to do this at home and watch for the reactions in others. Then report back to you the next day. Watching for the reactions in others takes some training and builds empathy skills.)

Read to the end of the 7th paragraph.

  1. One day a bad witch became angry because everyone was so happy and no one was buying her potions and salves. This witch was very clever and she devised a wicked plan. One beautiful morning she crept up to Tim while Maggie was playing with their daughter and whispered in his ear, “See here, Tim, look at all the Fuzzies that Maggie is giving to Lucy. You know, if she keeps it up, eventually she is going to run out and then there won’t be any left for you.”

  1. Tim was astonished. He turned to the witch and said, “Do you mean to tell me that there isn’t a warm fuzzy in our bag every time we reach into it?”

  1. And the witch said, “No absolutely not, and once you run out, that’s it. You don’t have anymore.” With this she flew away on her broom, laughing and cackling hysterically.

  1. Tim took this to heart and began to notice every time Maggie gave a Warm Fuzzy to somebody else. Eventually, he got very worried and upset because he liked Maggie’s Warm Fuzzies very much and did not think it was right for Maggie to be spending all her Warm Fuzzies on the children and on other people. He began to complain every time he saw Maggie giving a Warm Fuzzy to somebody else, and because Maggie liked him very much, she stopped giving Warm Fuzzies to other people as often, and reserved them for him.

  1. The children watched this and soon began to get the idea that it was wrong to give up Warm Fuzzies anytime you were asked or felt like it. They became very careful. They would watch their parents closely and whenever they felt that one of their parents was giving too many Fuzzies to others, they also began to object. They began to feel worried whenever they gave away too many Warm Fuzzies. Even though they found a Warm Fuzzy every time they reached into their bag, they reached in less and became more and more stingy. Soon people began to notice the lack of Warm Fuzzies, and they began to feel less and less fuzzy. More and more people went to the witch to buy her potions and salves even though they didn’t seem to work.

Hot Seat (interview) the witch or wizard (could be played by you, the teacher, or by a few students.) Remind the students playing the witch to listen carefully so there are no contradictions in their answers as they are playing one character.

The backstory of the witch should be revealed through the questioning e.g. just wanted to earn a living…

Read to the end of the cold prickly paragraph (8th paragraph).

  1. Well, the situation was getting very serious indeed. The bad witch who had been watching all of this didn’t really want the people to die so she devised a new plan. She gave everyone a bag that was very similar to the Fuzzy Bag except that this one was cold while the Fuzzy Bag was warm. Inside the witch’s bag was Cold Pricklies. These Cold Pricklies did not make people feel warm and fuzzy but made them feel cold and prickly instead. But, they did prevent peoples’ back from shriveling up. So from then on, every time somebody said, “I want a Warm Fuzzy,” people who were worried about depleting their supply would say, “I can’t give you a Warm Fuzzy, but would you like a Cold Prickly?” Sometimes, two people would walk up to each other thinking they could get a Warm Fuzzy, but one or the other of them would change his mind and they would end up giving each other Cold Pricklies. So the end result was that while very few people were dying, most people were still very unhappy and feeling very cold and prickly.

Writing in Role: Write a letter to the witch explaining the truth (students write in role as one of the characters in the story.) Students can be taught to confront.

Share writing with a buddy. Circle most important phrase or thought. (teacher checks these)

The Wave: (definition page 174 of Ontario Arts Document) Half the class does the wave freezing in the way the witch feels while the other half stands on the side and reads circled thoughts when prompted.

Corridor of Voices: Teacher in role (TIR) as the witch considers whether to change her thoughts about warm fuzzies and stop her lies about them running out. Allow the class to respond.

Read the rest of the story.

  1. Now the situation was so grave that the benevolent King, who usually allowed his subjects complete freedom, decided the witch had done enough harm with her false tale of shortage and her attitude of self. So the King dispatched his son, the Prince, to ride through the Kingdom giving the ultimate in Warm Fuzzies and assuring people of their never-ending supply.

  1. The Prince was truly a prince of a fellow, tall and straight, with bright eyes and warm smile and a gentle manner which seemed to assure the people of the faithfulness and love of their King. And the Prince loved to give Warm Fuzzies – lots of Warm Fuzzies. He gave them to anyone who would take them – people along the road, people in the crowd, good people and bad people. Everyone he met was offered a Warm Fuzzy.

  1. The Prince came to Tim and Maggie and gave to them and their children the warmest and fuzziest Warm Fuzzy they had ever known. And as they accepted the Prince’s Warm Fuzzy a funny thing happened to them. Their lives seem to change and all the selfishness and greed, jealousy and self-concern which they had known, as a result of the witch’s terrible rumour, dissolved under the warmth of the Prince’s generous gift.

  1. While giving Tim and Maggie and their children the Warm Fuzzies, the Prince shared with them the secret of Warm Fuzzies. The secret was that in the King’s Kingdom there was an endless supply of Warm Fuzzies. The reason it was endless was that Warm Fuzzies multiplied at a tremendous rate. The truth was that if you gave one Warm Fuzzy, two more would find their way into your Warm Fuzzy Bag; and if you gave two Warm Fuzzies, you would receive four; and if you gave four, you would receive eight…

(Thanks to Claude M. Steiner and James L. Christensen)


Students organize a symbolic ritual to remind the community of their values e.g. dances/gestures/giving and receiving warm fuzzies…students write, draw, create meaningful warm fuzzies for each other and present them at the ceremony.

The ceremony can include a chant written by the villagers to remind them of their history with warm fuzzies and the importance to their health.

Always reflect with students and make connections to real life throughout the work.