Folktale Unit Ideas

Ideas to go with reading folktales.

A folktale is usually an anonymous, timeless, and placeless tale circulated orally among a people. A fairy tale is a story (as for children) involving fantastic forces and beings (as fairies, wizards, and goblins). Therefore the two terms are used interchangeably here.

The activities include reading, writing, graphing, map skills, measurement, and time. These activities are not intended to be used in any particular order. Pick and choose what interests you. I would love any other ideas anyone has to pass along!

Activities:

  1. Set up a classroom display “Our Favorite Folk Tales” and encourage students to bring in folk tale books from home to share. The students will soon realize there are several versions of certain tales. Make a class graph of folk tales and fill in a box each time a new version of a story is found.
  2. Explain to students how folk tales were stories that were never written down, but that were passed along orally over the years. In the days before radio and TV, people used to sit around and listen to storytellers. It would be great if your school could get a storyteller to come in. Many years ago my daughters were treated to one provided by the PTA and he was excellent!
  3. Every time you read a folk tale, have a group of students work on making a colorful banner of a character from the story. Write the character’s name on the banner, draw a picture, and write descriptive words on sentence strips to be glued onto the banner. Example: Goldilocks (hungry, curious, tired, rude, blond hair)
  4. Read The Pancake Boy by Lorinda Bryan Cauley and compare/contrast it to The Gingerbread Man.
  5. Read The Enormous Turnip by Kathy Parkinson and compare/contrast it to The Mitten.
  6. Rewrite a folk tale into a class big book.
  7. Make folk tale kits. Gather items that relate to stories and place them in bags. After reading a story, use a kit to motivate students to talk about the tale. Let a student choose something from the bag. Then have the student explain how the item relates to the story.
  8. Have students make maps showing folk tale settings. Brainstorm places to be put on the map. Students draw and cut out the places. Manipulate the pieces on a large piece of paper until the group agrees on a layout. Glue the pieces down and add scenery. This can be done in smaller groups with each group doing a different story map. Example: Little Red Riding Hood’s Walk
  9. Make a “Who Said It?” big book of character quotes. Choose familiar quotes from stories you have read. Write a quotes on a sentence strip to be glued onto a page. On the following page, students draw a picture showing who said the quote and label it.
  10. Use the folk tale maps to practice directions (North, South, East, West). Look at the map and ask students questions such as: “To go from (blank) to (blank), you must go ????” The (blank) are ??? of the (blank).
  11. Use the maps to measure distances. Put dots on the map to make measuring easier. Explain how a scale works. Using inches, set up a scale for the map. Then ask students to measure and tell what certain distances are. Example: one inch = 2 miles. “How far is it from the Pig’s house of sticks to the Pig’s house of bricks?”
  12. Use Cinderella to practice time. Make a list of all the things Cinderella did in a day. Then make up approximate times that she did them. Students then set clocks to show the correct times. Can be set up as a center using a clock stamp. Example: Cinderella’s sisters went to the ball at 6:30. Show 6:30 on your clock.
  13. Put up a world map and label the countries where folk tales you have read originated.
  14. Invite guest readers in to read folk tales to the students. (principal, librarian, parents, teachers, other school staff)
  15. At the end, make a graph of which folk tale was the favorite among the students.
  16. Have a folk tale feast. Three Bears Pudding (instead of porridge), Castle Cupcakes, Red Riding Hood’s Basket of Sandwiches….

 

Grade Level(s): K, 1-2
By: Sherry, 1st Grade Teacher


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