You don't have to be a literature major to recognise a fairy tale when you hear one. From the first few opening words of "Once upon a time" or "Long, long ago," readers know they are in for a story that will whisk them away to far-off places in times long since past. By bringing the magic of fairy tales into the classroom, kindergartners will remember their fairy tale studies long after the pages of the book close shut.
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Our Fairy Tale Kingdom
Create a large interactive notice board titled "Our Fairy Tale Kingdom." As you read fairy tales in class, have kindergartners create paper cutouts of castles, cottages, winding paths, forests and miniature characters from the stories to attach onto the notice board. For example, after reading "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs," the children might cut out a castle with a wicked queen to place on one side of the notice board. Deep in the forest we would find Snow White standing outside the seven dwarfs' cottage. Later, students may decide to place Hansel and Gretel's cottage right next door to the seven dwarfs' house. Soon, you will have an entire fairy tale kingdom alive on your classroom walls.
Character and Setting Matching Game
Create a fairy tale matching game to help kindergartners learn about two fairy tale story elements, characters and setting. On six index cards, glue pictures of characters from various fairy tales you have read aloud in class. Your character cards might include: Cinderella and her wicked stepsisters, Snow White and the seven dwarfs, Hansel and Gretel, Little Red Riding Hood and the wolf, Jack from Jack and the Beanstalk and Rapunzel. On six different index cards, glue pictures of settings from your stories. For example, Cinderella's wicked stepmother's castle, the seven dwarfs' cottage, Hansel and Gretel's gingerbread house, Little Red Riding Hood's grandma's house, Rapunzel's tall tower and Jack's beanstalk leading up to the giant's house. Place the index cards face down on a table and mix them up. Invite students to take turns turning over two cards at a time, trying to find the character and setting that match. The child with the most matches in the end, wins.
Fairy Tale Post Office
Read "The Jolly Postman or Other People's Letters" by Janet and Allan Ahlberg to kindergartners. Set up a writing centre in your classroom filled with paper, pencils, markers, crayons, envelopes and fun stickers to use as stamps. Invite students to send drawings, postcards and letters to fairy tale characters similar to those the Jolly Postman delivered. Decorate a shoebox mailbox so the kids can send their fairy tale mail. Alternatively, have parent volunteers or older students in your school respond to kindergartners' fairy tale letters. Have the volunteers pretend to be different fairy tale characters when writing responses.
Good vs. Evil
One element of all fairy tales is that they have at least one good character. Often times, fairy tales have evil characters. On a piece of chart paper, draw a Venn diagram. Label the left circle "Good Characters" and the right circle "Evil Characters." Have kindergartners name fairy tale characters they have read about and tell which circle best describes each character. If students name a character that is neutral, place that character's name in the middle section of the Venn diagram where the circles intersect.
Fairy Tale Tea Party
Celebrate your study of fairy tales by hosting a Fairy Tale Tea Party. Invite kindergartners to colour invitations to take home to parents and other family members. Have the children help you plan treats for the party. Serve Snow White's poison apples (regular apple slices that are safe to eat), Wicked Witch's brew (fruit juice), Cinderella's pumpkin spice muffins, Hansel's breadcrumbs and Little Red Riding Hood's cookies. Encourage kindergartners to show parents all the fairy tale projects around the room during the tea party.
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