Teaching Fairy Tales in your Classroom

teaching fairy tales in the classroom

Are you venturing into the magical world of teaching fairy tales in your classroom?

Teaching students the art of crafting magical narratives filled with whimsy and wonder? You’re in for a treat!

Teaching fairy tales is hands down one of my favourite units! I’m thrilled to share the joy and creativity that come with unraveling the secrets of this ]genre. If you’re ready to embark on a storytelling adventure and guide your students through the realm of fairy tales, you’re in the right place! Let the magic of storytelling unfold in your classroom!

There is a wealth of great fairy tales to engage students and immerse them in the genre. Some of my favourites include:

  • Puss in Boots
  • Jack and the Beanstalk
  • The Elves and the Shoemaker
  • Cinderella

You will need a good selection of texts to teach with, and to include in your classroom library for the duration of your unit.

teaching fairy tales

Engage Students in How to Write a Fairy Tale with Rich Texts

It’s important to begin teaching fairy tales with a complete immersion into the genre through reading, deconstructing, and retelling. This will help your students to identify the fairy tale elements:

  • Characters – who is good and who is bad? Who is a helpful friend?
  • Setting – describing the settings with their senses
  • The main events of the story in the correct order
  • The main problem and how it is solved
  • The resolution – in fairy tales, this normally positive! So this means the love story is complete or the prize is won, and everyone lives happily ever after.

Fairy tale displays and posters are necessary! Boost student success with a learning wall, where the deconstruction of a known fairy tale is co-constructed and displayed.

teaching fairy tales
Help students identify fairy tale structure with visual displays.

Display Worked Examples of How to Write a Fairy Tale

Worked examples are proven to increase student achievement (see my post on Bump It Up Wall Research here). For this reason, it’s important to show students what a good fairy tale looks like! You can write ta worked example yourself, with your class or if you’re short on time use some of our samples. Our samples are ready to print and annotate with your class (use highlighters and identify the parts of the text that align with the success criteria).

Teaching Fairy Tales

Here’s our step-by-step guide to teaching fairy tales in your classroom!

Introducing Characters

When introducing characters to students, it’s crucial to make the experience whimsical and engaging.

Start by bringing beloved fairy tale characters to life through vivid storytelling or animated visuals. Begin with iconic characters they might already know, like Cinderella or Little Red Riding Hood.

Use descriptive language to highlight the traits of characters, emphasising their appearances, personalities, and roles in the story. Encourage students to participate actively by asking questions about the characters and prompting them to share their thoughts.

Consider interactive activities such as drawing or crafting character cutouts to enhance the sensory experience. By making the introduction of characters a lively and participatory process, you’ll ignite the young learners’ imagination and enthusiasm for the enchanting world of fairy tales.

Introducing Fairy Tale Settings

Begin by choosing rich and descriptive fairy tale texts that vividly paint the settings.

As you read, encourage the students to close their eyes and imagine the magical places described in the story. Engage their senses by asking questions like, “Can you picture the enchanted forest? How do you think it smells there?”

Encourage them to share their imaginative responses, fostering a sense of creativity.

Extend the experience by incorporating hands-on activities, such as creating sensory boards with materials like textured fabrics, scented markers, or nature items that represent different settings.

By appealing to their senses, you not only make the introduction of fairy tale settings memorable but also ignite their curiosity to explore the magical realms within the stories.

Fairy Tale Plots

Start by introducing the concept of a story arc, explaining the key components such as the introduction of characters and settings, the development of the main events, the climax or turning point, and the resolution.

Use engaging and age-appropriate fairy tales as examples to illustrate these elements.

To enhance understanding, guide students in sequencing the events in the correct order, fostering their comprehension of narrative structure. Encourage them to identify the beginning, middle, and end of the stories, ensuring they grasp the magical journey each fairy tale undertakes. Sequencing activities can help students to solidify this concept.

Through this exploration of story arcs and sequencing, young learners can unravel the enchanting mysteries that make fairy tales timeless treasures.

Adding excitement with complications

Teaching students to explore complications adds a layer of excitement to their storytelling journey. This involves introducing them to the challenges or obstacles that characters encounter on their magical adventures.

Encourage students to think about what could go wrong in the story, prompting them to brainstorm various complications that the characters might face.

Emphasise the importance of these challenges in driving the plot forward and creating suspense. Problems also make characters smarter and stronger. Explore this theme with students by looking at characters at the beginning of the story and at the end of the story. You can use interactive activities, such as group discussions or drawing sessions, to spark their creativity and help them envision different complications.

By fostering their imaginative thinking, young storytellers will learn to infuse their fairy tales with captivating twists and turns, making the narrative all the more enchanting for both the storyteller and the audience.

Happy Endings in Fairy Tales

As budding storytellers immerse themselves in the enchanting world of fairy tales, guiding them through crafting a satisfying resolution becomes a pivotal aspect of the journey. For students, emphasising the concept of a “happy ending” is key.

Encourage students to envision the resolution where the characters overcome challenges, and the story concludes on a positive note. Discuss the idea that in fairy tales, resolutions often involve the characters achieving their goals, winning a prize, or, in the classic tradition, living “happily ever after.”

Foster students creativity by prompting them to think about the ultimate joyous outcome for the characters they’ve introduced in their tales. This exploration not only instills a sense of fulfillment in storytelling but also sparks the imaginative sparks that make fairy tales timeless and cherished narratives for young minds.

How to fold a one-page mini book

Slide11

Here are my instructions for folding a one-page mini book. Follow along – pause if you need to – and in one minute, you’ll have a perfectly folded mini book! You’ll need your mini book template and scissors.

How to Convert PowerPoint to Google Slides

HowtoconvertPowerPointtoGoogleSlides

It’s easy to convert any PowerPoint presentation into Google Slides. To do this, you’ll need to make sure you have a free Google account.

As a teacher, this means you can create or purchase any PowerPoint slides and save them to your Google account easily – no need to purchase the ‘Google version’! Using Google slides is also a powerful way to share slides for home learning! Google Slides works great for most households because you can download Google Slides on a smartphone (no home computer required), and everyone can have a Google account for free! 

How to convert PowerPoint to Google Slides

  1. Open Google Drive.
  1. Select “New” in the upper left-hand corner of the screen.
  1. Select “Upload File.”
  1. Open the PowerPoint file.
  1. After uploading, right-click and select “Open with,” then select “Google Slides.”. 
  1. Select “File.”
  1. Select “Save as Google Slides.”

That’s it! You’re done. You can use this to upload Powerpoint presentations to Google Slides for easy storage or sharing. It’s also effective if you don’t have a home copy of PowerPoint to play with.

A handy student reflection activity

student reflection activity

‘We don’t learn by experience, we learn by reflecting on our experiences’ -John Dewey

One of the best learning experiences we can give our students is the experience of self-reflecting on their learning.

I like to keep this very simple for my students – it’s not a detailed self-evaluation, or time to set new goals, however, it is specific.

Self-reflection in my classroom is simply, ‘How have I grown?’ It’s a celebration of everything they have learned and is intended to boost their confidence.

Here is a freebie that I have created for student reflection. You can use it as a general exercise and let students choose their own statements,  or you can use it to complete the teaching and assessment cycle.

You will need:

  • This freebie
  • Student assessment pieces (let’s reflect on math and English)
  • Student access to pre-tests and check-ins with completed student checklists*

How to use it:

  1. Complete this activity after students have received your feedback from the assessment. 
  2. Students should view their pre-tests and check-in pieces to find success criteria (I can statements) that they missed at the time. 
  3. Students then check if they achieved that success criteria later (either in check-in or final assessment)
  4. If they have shown growth in that SC, they write that success criteria on their sheet.

To ensure that this activity is successful:

If students are not familiar with self-reflection, you could complete this activity as a class. Print on poster-size paper and review success criteria that were explicitly taught during the teaching and assessment cycle. Add the poster to your learning wall as a celebration.

When completing individually, support students who may struggle. Help them to identify success criteria and individual growth areas if needed. The goal here is for students to reflect and feel successful.

* When completing pre-tests and check-ins always attach a student checklist that details the success criteria to be achieved. Highlight achieved SC green, and yet-to-be achieved SC orange. This helps students identify learning goals and will aid them in completing this reflection activity. You can read more about using student checklists with Bump It Up Wall and Learning Walls here.