Teachers, we are so close to the finish line! Spring is right around the corner, and we need all the motivation we can get. Something that keeps me going is all the fun units we get to do with our students near the end of the year. One of my all-time favorites is fairy tales. The students love all the different fairy tale activities and fun read alouds that go with them. So teachers, let me ask you: are you looking to sprinkle some magic into your classroom? Let’s discuss some simple ways to sprinkle some magic as we close out the end of the school year with our kiddos.
1. Start with the Classics
With the number of fairy tales out there, I often feel like it’s a unit that could be taught for months and months. There are so many different things to teach within fairy tales. That’s what I love about the timing of this unit being near the end of the year. Students can take everything they’ve learned throughout the year and apply it while listening to these magical stories. Whether it be making predictions, visualizing, or comparing and contrasting, students are able to incorporate a variety of skills, which makes this unit even more meaningful…and magical!
We love a good interdisciplinary unit, am I right?! Being able to take what we’re doing in literacy and apply it to other content areas always feels like a win as a teacher. And for students, it only extends their learning and allows them to fully emerge themselves into what we’re learning.
Education to the Core’s Once Upon a Stem bundle gives students an opportunity to have a hands-on learning experience. Offering ten different and unique challenges, the bundle comes with differentiated stem stories, a teacher’s guide, vocabulary cards, and student journals to make this resource a truly exceptional addition to your fairy tale unit.
And if you try all ten and your students beg for more…Education to the Core has a Volume 2 that will knock your socks off!
3. Fractured Fairy Tales
My favorite thing about fractured fairy tales is teaching student’s point of view. Being able to read a well-known fairytale, and then to contrast it with the same plot but from a different point of view, allows students to learn about perspective. I think one of my favorites is reading the story of The Three Little Pigs (aff), and then reading The True Story of the 3 Little Pigs (aff). Fractured fairy tales are generally sillier and goofier than the original versions, which seems to win over our little learners. And to be honest, I kind of like them better too. If you’re not sure where to start with fractured fairy tales, start with the author Nancy Loewen. Her spin on all the classics is truly hysterical! Some of her classics include:
- Trust Me Hansel and Gretel are Sweet!: The Story of Hansel and Gretel as Told by the Witch
- Trust Me, Jack’s Beanstalk Stinks!: The Story of Jack and the Beanstalk as Told by the Giant
- Honestly, Red Riding Hood Was Rotten!: The Story of Little Red Riding Hood as Told by the Wolf
- Listen, My Bridge Is SO Cool!: The Story of the Three Billy Goats Gruff as Told by the Troll
- Seriously, Cinderella Is SO Annoying!: The Story of Cinderella as Told by the Wicked Stepmother
- and many more!
Be sure to complete a Venn Diagram graphic organizer to compare and contrast these fractured fairy tales with the well-known fairy tales! Pulled directly from Education to the Core’s Editable Sub Plans!
Let’s take the magic further! If you’re looking to spice up your reading groups, try introducing readers theater! There are a lot of benefits to incorporating this into your small group time. Not only does it offer students an opportunity to practice reading with expression, but it is something new and exciting, which can impact their motivation to read. Allowing students to practice the same lines over and over again, also helps with their fluency.
In my experience, students really enjoy picking out the character(s) they want to play, highlighting their lines, and sometimes we even perform for the class! Break out the craft supplies and let them make a costume or mask to go with the character they’re playing. Have fun with it!
5. Fairy Tale Activities – Directed Drawings
I love using Education to the Core’s Directed Drawings, all year round. However, I especially love breaking out their fantasy-directed drawings while teaching fairy tales. Knights, ogres, dragons, fairies–literally all things fantasy! It’s a great way to engage students in independent work…without them realizing it’s work! You’ll leave your students on the edge of their seats, curious about what the next day’s directed drawing will be!
6. Fairy Tales Around the World
I’m going to let you in on a little secret. Education to the Core has yet ANOTHER fairy tale resource hidden within one of its monthly packets. Have fun trying to find it! Haha, kidding. I’m obviously telling you where to find it. Pop on over to Education to the Core’s First Grade December Packet and you will find some amazing fairy tale activities hidden within this gem of a resource. That’s right, Education to the Core has provided us with a few fairy tales around the world! Take a look at a few classics (gingerbread man, the three little pigs, little red riding hood, goldilocks) through a different lens and see how other cultures around the world tell a different version of these stories. Then of course use ETTC’s printables to compare and contrast these different texts with your students.
P.S. If you’re this far and you’re realizing there are a ton of goodies you don’t own, but desperately want, let me suggest you save yourself the trouble and sign up for our Premium Membership. All of these resources and MORE can be accessed instantly when you sign up for our premium membership. Pay once, and don’t think twice about it.
7. Make your own Fairy Tales Activities
A great way to end your fairy tale unit with your students is by challenging them to come up with their own fairy tale. Typically we create a JamBoard as a class and brainstorm different types of characters and settings that a fairy tale might have. I love to see their creativity emerge through this type of activity. Some like to keep the same characters, but switch up the plot. Others may like the plot of a common fairy tale, but enjoy switching out the characters. Regardless of the end product, students truly enjoy the process of brainstorming, and then furthermore, sharing their stories with their peers.
Teachers, I hope your school year ends happily ever after. And may these last few months with your students be nothing short of magical! How do you bring fairy tales into your classroom and reading block? Be sure to reach out, comment, and share the magic below! Make sure to tag us on Instagram and Tiktok if you use any of our resources to add a little extra magic into your own classroom.
WRITTEN BY – SARAH POQUETTE
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