Thursday, December 11, 2014

Fairy Tale Favorites!

Fairy tales invite students to think about short stories in new, exciting, and creative ways. Here are some of our favorite activities that focus on character in grades 4 and up.

Poetry & Art: Character
I invite students to create diamante poems that either show the changes in a single character or contrast two characters. After writing a poem, students create background displays. Here's how...

First, think of a prominent feature from the book that is fairly easy to define in an chunky outline, like a beanstalk (right) or stars (left.) Then, make shape templates out of cardboard scraps and use teeny pieces of tape to mount them on background paper.

Spray them with tempera paint that has been watered down just slightly...enough so it will go through a spray bottle. (Test this ahead of time and remind students that less is more. Too much spray will give you "lake effect poetry.")

When dry, remove templates and write the poem. A couple colored construction paper cut-outs help the artwork to "pop" and give it more depth. I use this tempera spray art for a variety of poetry-art projects. Students always love it!

Character Study Sheets (available here)

"Character analysis"'s not a phrase that brings students running. But what if you change it up a bit? How about scoring characters on report cards? It's so much fun to consider...

What grade might you give Red Riding Hood for "follows instructions?"
How about Cinderella's stepsisters? What grades might they receive for "gets along well with others?"

Character Report Card

Character: Adjective Scale
Throw in a few adjectives--and their opposites--and you've got the makings of more creative character analysis.

On a scale of 1-10, how might you rate each of the three pigs for lazy versus industrious behavior? How would Hansel and Gretel score on impulse control? The possibilities are endless...

Casting Characters
Finally, what if you got to cast characters in a movie production? Can you describe each character and cast a famous actor or actress in the roles?

I love teaching short story through folk and fairy tales! Read more about our unit adventures here and here.

You can also preview the character analysis sheets here.

1 comment:

  1. This looks like a lot of fun, I'm sure kids would love doing this, although I can imagine the weird and wonderful people they'd want to cast in those roles!


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