In the upstairs classroom we are reading lots of old favorite fairy tale-
The Three Little Pigs, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, Goldilocks and the Three Bears, The Little Red Hen, Jack and the Beanstalk, The Gingerbread Man, Little Red Riding Hood, and many others. We have been very fortunate that Liza Walsh from the Rockport Public Library has brought dozens of books from the Library for us to add to our already fantastic collection of fairy tales.
After we read the initial story, we typically read other interesting versions of the same story- sometimes the versions are very much the same and other times they are downright silly (“The Three Little Wolves and the Big Bad Pig”, “The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza”). We are very much enjoying comparing and contrasting the different books, figuring out if the books are true stories or fantasy stories, uncovering t
he problem and solution in the story, and seeing how clever characters save the day. Children have also begun to notice that some of the books share the same illustrator and look for details in common with the different books/stories.
Around the classroom we have small areas set up with doll houses or blocks, animals, and dolls for children to act out The Gingerbread Man, The Three Billy Goats Gruff, and Goldilocks and the Three Bears, as well as lots of furry outfits and other dress-ups for the children to use when they want to act out one of the stories.
We often take time to act out these stories during small group time. Acting requires a whole new series of vocabulary words in addition to the words we are learning in the stories – we regularly use “audience,” “props,” and “characters” as well as “narrator” as we prepare to present the stories to other groups.
The use of favorite and familiar stories helps us look mor
e critically at book covers and titles to figure out which story we are reading. How can you tell if the book is “Little Red Riding Hood” or just “Red Riding Hood”? Some children sugg
est counting the words (you run out if you say “Little” at the beginning of “Red Riding Hood”) and some notice that “Little” and “Red” don’t start with the same letters or sounds so you can figure it out if you look at the letters at the beginning of the words. Children are noticing that words are made up of letters, that letters are different and indicate different sounds (usually), and that some of the letters in the words are letters we have in our own names! This is very exciting work!!
We have also incorporated cooking into our fairy tale exploration. Not too long ago, we had porridge for snack and we look forward to making gingerbread men as well as pizza (“
The Little Red Hen Makes a Pizza”)!
While we study the different fairy tales, the children also have the opportunity to tell/dictate and act out their own stories. Since we began reading fairy tales, some children are telling their own versions of favorite stories, some retell the story as they remember it, and some tell a story based on their own life or of an imagined story of their very own. At the end of the morning on days when children are able to dictate their stories, we come together as a class for story acting. A teacher reads the story a child has told while that child, and some friends act it out for the class audience. This has become a favorite end-of-the-morning activity!