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Monday Morning Ready05.20.2016
Jumpstart Your Week!

A few hundred years ago, fairy tale writers like the Brothers Grimm, Hans Christian Andersen and Charles Perrault helped bring magical tales of princesses, evil ogres, dark forests, weird spells and thwarted love into the storybooks and to the bedsides of children. But how old are the tales they transcribed? A study suggests that their origins go all the way back to prehistory.... < read more >
DISCUSSION QUESTIONS
Grade 3-4

What is your favorite fairy tale? Why?

Grade 5-6

Imagine that Jack and the Beanstalk was first told 5,000 years ago. How do you think the story might have been told differently back then? Why?

Grade 7-8

Why do you think historians want to know how old fairy tales are? What do you think they can learn from this knowledge?

Grade 9-10

What do you think it reveals about society that the same tales can be told and retold for thousands of years?

LESSON PLAN
Rewrite a Fairy Tale

PROCESS:

  1. As a class, identify the three basic types of writing: opinion pieces, informative/explanatory texts and narratives. Ask students which type of writing is used to create a fairy tale. (narrative) 
  2. Review the basic elements of a narrative story: narrator, characters, plot and details that unfold in a clear sequence of events. 
  3. Instruct students to select a fairy tale of their own. Then have them create a T-chart. Tell students to describe the basic elements of the fairy tale on one side of the chart. On the other side, challenge them to list ways they could revise each element to give the story a modern twist. 
  4. Point out that this process can be as simple as updating the characters' names and occupations or as complex as introducing social media, automobiles or modern fashion.
  5. Give students time to rewrite their fairy tales, incorporating as many new details as they can. 

ASSESSMENT: 

Invite students to share their updated fairy tales with the class. After each story is read, encourage classmates to identify their favorite updated details. Challenge them to spot any details that should have been updated but were missed.

CUSTOMIZE THE LESSON:    

Grades 3-4:
Select a popular fairy tale prior to conducting this activity. Find a short version of the tale in the library. Read the book aloud to the class. Complete the T-chart exercise together. Instruct students to update at least three major details and to include at least one major revision in the plot. Then divide the class into small groups. Challenge groups to incorporate this new information as they rewrite the fairy tale with a modern twist.

Grades 5-6:
Divide the class into small groups. Instruct each group to select a fairy tale that all group members are familiar with. Have groups complete the T-chart exercise. Tell them to update at least five major details and to include at least one major revision in the plot. Challenge groups to incorporate this new information as they rewrite their fairy tales with a modern twist.

Grades 7-8:
Divide the class into pairs. Instruct each pair to select a fairy tale. Encourage them to find a copy of their story online and to read it together. Then have them complete the T-chart exercise. Have students update each character's name and at least five important details. Tell them to also incorporate at least one major revision in the plot. Challenge partners to rewrite their fairy tales using all of this new information. Then have them draw a book cover for their fairy tale with a modern twist.

Grades 9-10:
Divide the class into pairs. Assign each pair a different fairy tale. Encourage them to find a copy of their story online and to read it together. Then have them complete the T-chart exercise. Instruct students to update each character's name and at least five important details. Tell them to also incorporate at least one major revision in the plot and to add a major twist based on a change in location. Challenge partners to rewrite their fairy tales using all of this new information. Then have them draw a book cover for their fairy tale with a modern twist.

SMITHSONIAN RESOURCES
Our Story
Encourage students to explore children’s literature in new ways. Use these lesson plans from the National Museum of American History to help students experience history first-hand through a variety of activities and books.

Ganggangsullae: Korean Dance Music of the Full Moon
In this lesson, students will develop an understanding of the mode of Namdo Korean folksongs, as well as the call-and-response musical form.

After Giving Us a New Spin on Oz, Gregory Maguire Takes on Wonderland
Read this Smithsonian article to learn how author Gregory Maguire writes grown-up stories inspired by children’s tales.

The French Castle that May Have Inspired “Sleeping Beauty" is Filled with Creepy Mannequins
Read this Smithsonian article to learn about Charles Perrault, the man who is credited with helping invent the modern fairy tale.

Why the Story of Cinderella Endures and Resonates
There are than 700 versions of the Cinderella fairy tale. Read this Smithsonian article to learn more about this ancient tale and how it’s taken on a particularly American twist.

Little Golden Books
Explore this exhibit to learn how Little Golden Books made children’s literature more widely available and transformed children’s reading habits.
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