The princesses, valiant knights and talking animals that fill fairy tales have made the genre a favourite among children for centuries. These tales provide students with an escape from the real world and allow them to activate their imaginations by considering a land where even the impossible is possible. Teachers can use students' interest in these short pieces of prose to their advantage both by reading the tales with their students and by decorating classroom notice boards with a fairy tale theme.
Fairy Tale Comic Strips
Allow students to reflect their understanding of the plot of a fairy tale through the creation of fairy tale comic strips. Read several fairy tales with students, exposing them to the simple plots of these classic tales. To start the activity, look over some newspaper comic strips to familiarise your students with the genre. Provide students with sheets containing a series of cartoon blocks, and allow them to create their own comics to illustrate the plot of one of the fairy tales you read in class. Post the student created strips on the classroom notice board.
Extend the activity by allowing students to vote for their favourite strip, and present the artist who created the work with a special art award.
Fairy Tale Character Comparison
While fairy tale characters are fictional, your students likely share at least some characteristic with these fabled individuals. Provide your students with the opportunity to consider how they are similar to and different from fairy tale characters by creating a character comparison Venn diagram on a classroom notice board.
Create two large overlapping circles on your classroom notice board. Label one circle as "Fairy Tale Character" and the other as "Me." Provide each student with three slips of paper. Instruct the students to think of a character of their choice and consider how they compare to that figure. Ask the student to write a detail about a character that they do not share on one slip, a trait that the two share in common on another and a characteristic that is specific to them on the third. Allow the students to staple their paper slips in the appropriate location, placing the one about the character in the "Fairy Tale Character" circle, the one that they share in the overlapping section, and the trait specific to them in the "Me" section.
Update the board as you move throughout the unit, encouraging students to continue to consider their similarities to the characters that they discover through the exploration of fairy tales.
Fairy Tale Math
Numbers play an important part in many fairy tales. The digits three and seven in particular commonly appear in this literary form. Explore the concept of numbers in fairy tales by creating a "Fairy Tale Math" notice board. Place the numbers one through 10 on a classroom notice board. After reading an array of fairy tales, ask the students to brainstorm a list of characters or objects that occur in each provided number. They could, for example, say that Cinderella lost one slipper, or that there were seven dwarfs to help Snow White. Write each item that students mention on an index card, and staple it under the appropriate number on the board.
To extend the activity, present students with math problems that make reference to the board, such as "If the blind mice and Snow White's dwarfs were all attending a dinner party, how many places would the host need to set?" Allow students to reference the board as they complete these math puzzles.