Kindergarten Fairy Tale Unit: Part 1

These are my first thoughts on how I would structure a fairy tale unit for kindergarteners if I were a teacher.

We would start out our fairy tale unit by watching at least one film adaptation of a fairy tale each day.  We would watch the movie during the period which is normally devoted to listening to audio books, and at the end of the day, which would be our  usual story time period, I would read the children a non-Disney version of the fairy tale we just watched.  An alternative would be watching these movies during lunch so as not to take up independent reading time.    Once all the fairy tales with Disney adaptations are watched and read, we would move on to non-Disney feature length film adaptations.  The only two such adaptations I know are Warner Brothers’ “Thumbelina” and multiple film versions of “The Snow Queen.”  I think all the other non-Disney fairy tales only have short film adaptations.   When this is the case, I would show my kids a short film adaptation of a fairy tale during either lunch or our usual audio book time and then read them a book version of the story.  Then, if there is still time, we would watch another short film adaptation afterwards, and I would read a book version of the second fairy tale at the end of the day.  This we would continue until all fairy tales have been read and watched.  There are seventeen in all, and here is the list:

  1. Snow White
  2. Sleeping Beauty
  3. Cinderella
  4. The Little Mermaid
  5. Beauty and the Beast
  6. Rapunzel
  7. The Frog Prince
  8. Jack and the Beanstalk
  9. The Three Little Pigs
  10. The Three Billy Goats Gruff
  11. Thumbelina
  12. The Snow Queen
  13. The Ugly Duckling
  14. Hansel and Gretel
  15. Rumpelstiltsken
  16. Little Red Riding Hood
  17. Goldilocks and the Three Bears

Once all these fairy tales have been read and watched, I would let each child pick out his or her favorite.  Then everyone would have the opportunity to select a book version of the story and use it for book sharing (see previous post).  If the movie versions are watched during lunch, then children can start looking at fairy tale retellings and picking their favorites during reading time right at the beginning of the unit.  Since there would most likely be more kids in my class than there are well-known fairy tales, I would make sure the school libraries are well stocked with many different non-Disney book versions of these stories.  That way, no matter how many children pick the same story, each child could present a different version.

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9 Comments

Filed under Fairy Tales in the Classroom: Ideas For Teachers

9 responses to “Kindergarten Fairy Tale Unit: Part 1

  1. Would you be avoiding the gruesome original versions?

    • Oh, no! I am fine with the original versions of most fairy tales, and I think most parents and teachers should be, too!
      Which “gruesome original versions” are you thinking of?

      • Sleeping Beauty, for example. I think it’s important that children should learn the original stories, but I’d bet if that was taught in a kindergarten classroom, parents would be furious. Which is unfortunate.

      • Are you thinking about Perrault’s version, where the Prince’s ogress mother tries to eat her grandchildren? If so I would not be including that version. As with other fairy tales, we would only include the Disney version and non-Disney storybook versions of “Sleeping Beauty.” While many of the non-Disney storybooks are relatively true to Perrault’s and/or the Grimms’ version(s) of the story, they do not usually include the continuation about the ogress grandmother. Most of them end with the prince and princess getting married, just like the Disney version and original Grimms’ version.

      • I actually forgot about that version. I’m thinking of the version where she was raped. That’s the darker story that always comes to my mind. The original Little Mermaid is tamer. Cinderella, I recall, had some questionable moments, too, with the sisters cutting off parts of their feet. I can just see parents objecting to that in a strong way. These days, teachers can get fired over very minor things if a parent protests. At the least, I would require a parent permission slip.

      • Hi Lynxchild. I wanted to tell you I’ll be merging my two blogs soon. I will transfer everything on my fairy tale blog onto my writing blog, delete my fairy tale blog, categorize everything on my writing blog accordingly, and rename my writing blog as a general literary blog (probably “Lily On the Rampage,” after one of my personal essays). Lily On the Rampage will contain my writing, everything I’ve been doing with fairy tales, and discussions of everything else I read. I am hoping this will increase both my blog traffic and the variation in what I read.
        Do you think what I’m doing is a good idea? Please let me know if you have any suggestions. Thanks! 🙂

      • I think consolidating the two blogs is a very good idea. It’ll be easier to manage both for you and your readers.

      • I agree. I think I’ll go through with it.
        I have already created a new blog called “Story Fairy’s Library.” That will be where I put all the posts from both my old blogs as well as new stuff that has to do with fairy tales, my writing, and everything else I read.
        I am going to start consolidating my blogs by putting all the old posts from my fairy tale blog on Story Fairy’s Library. As I do that, I would like for you and all my other followers to read the old posts, tell me which ones you like best, and give me suggestions on what types of similar posts you would like to see in the future. The posts on my fairy tale blog will be the first to be put on my new blog, but once I start doing the same with my writing blog posts, I would like for you guys to do the same with those.
        So here is the web address for my new blog: http://thestoryfairyslibrary.wordpress.com/. There’s nothing on it yet, but please follow it, keep track of the posts, and comment on which of the old posts from my writing and fairy tale blogs you like the best and want to see more of. I’m looking forward to seeing what you have to say. Take care! 🙂

  2. Oh, you mean the version by Basile?! No, I would never expose children to that story! Yes, the original “Little Mermaid” is much tamer, although I’m not even sure if I’d include that in a fairy tale unit. (I’ll discuss that further later). I’m not sure what to say about the stepsisters cutting off parts of their feet in “Cinderella.” It’s not a very important part of the story, and I don’t like what it symbolizes, so I don’t think it’s worth requiring a permission slip for. Thus, I might not include versions of “Cinderella” that include that part. I might require something similar to a permission slip for “The Little Mermaid,” though, since it deals with difficult topics like religion and death. Again, more on that later. For now, please know that teachers who read these ideas can take or leave as many of them as they like; it’s not all or nothing.

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