Here's an example of a bare bone Fable: The Crow and the Pitcher
A very thirsty crow came upon a tall pitcher that was half full of water. When the crow tried to take a drink, he found that his beak was too short to reach the water. While trying to decide what to do, the crow saw some pebbles lying nearby. He picked up the pebbles and, one by one, dropped the pebbles into the pitcher. Soon the level of the water rose almost to the top, and the crow was able to drink.
Activity: I read the above fable to the students, reminding them what the "bare bones" of a story is using those index cards that we jot down the 5 most important parts of our stories. I remind students that our brains naturally want to ask questions when there isn't enough information given out and this story begs for us to ask questions. My first question is why is the crow thirsty? Invite your students to ask more questions and write them all down on a chart, or type them up on the projector from a computer. Once all the questions have been asked, divide your students into smaller groups of 2 - 4 and have each group answer the questions to help form the story. (I put in reminders, such as, "don't forget the setting, characters, and by all means exaggerate! Put in items that belong in that setting)
One of our groups placed this crow somewhere in a Texas desert, with only dead trees, bones, and the hot sun shining down on the sand and dirt. The pitcher had turned into a long lost canteen from days gone by with just about 1/4 filled with water. I can't wait to hear how this tale progresses!