Friday, May 25, 2012

Fun in the Classroom with Folktales & Fairytales

School Days
by Jessie Wilcox Smith, 1922
I know we haven’t even finished with spring yet but storytellers and teachers stay busy during the summer, preparing for the upcoming school year.

Storytellers know that oral tradition and literacy go hand in hand but sometimes it isn’t as obvious to others. I have put together a list of resources to hopefully make your job just a little bit easier.

During the school year many teaching artists work with schools in a residency capacity; here are a few sites to give you a step up.

A Few Steps to a Successful Artist Residency - An easy to follow guide to help you create and complete a successful residency. Although the information is from Minnesota, the information is applicable to other states as well.

Glossary of School Artist Residency Terms - While specific to the New Jersey Teaching Artist Roster the terminology applies to other states as well.

Grantmakers in the Arts – Glossary of Arts and Education Terms.

Storytelling: The Heart and Soul of Education - “This briefing paper presents research on the importance of storytelling in human experience, and explores the relevance of storytelling as an instructional tool...”

Lesson plans and resources to help you bring “happily ever after” into the classroom.


A-Z Teacher Stuff – Folktales and Fairytales – Seven lesson plans to learn about folktales
Aesop and Ananse Animal Fables and Trickster Tales - “Students will become familiar with fables and trickster tales from different cultural traditions and will see how stories change when transferred orally between generations and cultures.”

American Folklore – A Jigsaw Character Study for grade 3 – 6.

ArtsEdge – Exploring American Tall Tales - Students identify the elements of a tall tale, write a composition/monologue and perform it for the class. For grades 5 – 8.

Bright Hub Education – Fairytales and Folktales Lesson Plan: Exploring Imagination - A six part lesson plan in which students explore fairytales, folktales and legends. “Students will learn the basic elements found in these classic tales. Students will use their imagination to create their own version of a classic tale and a corresponding skit.”

Digital Story Writing: Cultural Myths
Dramatizing Folktales, Legends and Myths – Grades 3 – 8.
Little Red Riding Hood
by Katherine Cameron, 1910

Elements of a Folktale“Students will use their understanding of fable elements to create an original fable and present it in dramatic form.”

Fairy Tales From Life - Two fairy tales are used in this lesson plan, which also provides a number of resources to guide your students through the process. The lesson plan is aligned with the NCTE and IRA standards for grades 3 – 5.

Folklore and Oral Traditions - This lesson plan “introduces students to the tradition of oral stories…and how culture is transferred from one generation to the next.”

Folktales Writer’s Workshop - Find your way in the world of folktales with this wonderful writer’s workshop, with Alma Flor Ada and Rafe Martin. They offer tips, challenges and guidelines to help you write an original folktale. When your students are done, they can even publish their stories online.

Edsitement – Helpful Animals and Compassionate Humans in Folklore – “Through examining several examples of helpful animal tales from around the world, students will learn about humans living in cooperation with the land and sea and with the beasts that inhabit them.” For grades 3-5.

Learning to Give – A wonderful site with lesson plans to complement the accompanying folktales, which are plentiful.
Lesson Planet: Six Chinese Folk Tales Lesson Plans – This is a subscription site but they do offer a free trial.
The Little Red Hen – Lesson plan, craft and extension activities based on this well-known folktale.

The Goose Girl
by Jessie Wilcox Smith
Myth Writing Workshop -An online workshop with author Jane Yolen. Step-by-step instructions on how to write your own myth, coupled with writing strategies and warm-up activities.

PIZZAZ!  People Interested in Zippy and ZAny Zcribbling - A site dedicated to “providing simple creative writing and oral storytelling activities with copyable (yes, copyable!) handouts for use with students of all ages. Permission is given to use these resources for in-class, non-profit use only.”

Tall Tales
– Lesson plan for 3 – 5 grade including activities and rubrics.
Ten Characters from American FolkloreStudents learn about Pecos Bill, Daniel Boone, Johnny Appleseed, Paul Bunyan, John Henry, and five other characters from America's folk history. Student work sheet included. For grades 3 – 12.

Lesson plan on the folktale Tops and Bottoms

Middle Eastern Folk Tales Lesson Plan -  In this lesson plan, elementary students will take a magic carpet journey into a different time and place through folk tales, legends, and fables from the Middle East… East and its connection to their own worldview.”
Myths, Folktales and Fairy Tales Lesson Plans for Pre-K – 12.

Additional resources from my website, blog and newsletter.

School Daze, School Daze
School Daze, School Daze II

Teacher’s Porch – Resources that combine storytelling and educational resources on my website.
Teaching Tools – Additional websites I have collected through the years and listed on my website.

Lois Sprengnether Keel, fellow storyteller, former librarian, fabulous researcher and friend recently blogged about fairytale activities for the classroom. When you are finished here please pop over to her blog post; you will be happy you did!

Karen Chace 2012 ©

This blog post was researched and compiled by Karen Chace. Permission for private use is granted. Distribution, either electronically or on paper is prohibited without my expressed written permission. For permission please contact me at Of course, if you wish to link to my blog via your website, blog, newsletter, Facebook page or Twitter please feel free to do so; I greatly appreciate your support and personal integrity.