Hameray Classroom Literacy Blog!

Essential Questions in Fairy Tales

Posted by Sally Hosokawa on Mar 9, 2017 3:40:00 PM

 

How do you hook your students into each literature unit? More importantly, how do you measure a studen'ts qualitative growth at the end of the unit? Using essential questions to create an inquiry-based classroom will help engage students and lead to meaningful, relevant understanding. 

An essential question frames a unit as an investigatory journey rather than a one-way acculumation of factual knowledge. The question allow students to consider real-world issues as they read the book. A good essential question is timeless, has no right or wrong answer, and are worth exploring and discussing over time.

Essential questions are especially effective because they link real-world knowledge and experience with the literary text. By framing the book of study with a question that is relatable to the real world, your students will recognize the relevancy and power of literature.

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Good essential questions aren't plot- or book-specific, something that you could ask on a multiple choice test. Students should be able to write an answer to the question on the first day of the unit, even before they've read the text. Here are a few poor examples of essential questions for The Princess and the Frog from Story World Real World:

  • What were the three favors that the frog requested?
    • This question has only one correct answer and is content-specific to the story—students will not be able to relate to this question. 
  • What lesson did the princess learn at the end of the story?
    • While this question is important to test plot comprehension and might lead to a real-world moral, the question is still specific to the story and unanswerable on the first day of the unit. 

Essential questions provide students with a relevant learning goal without reducing the lesson into plot memorization or mere literacy practice. Use question words like "how" or "why" in essential questions to encourage open-ended discussions:

  • How important is it to keep promises?
    • This question is relatable to any child and also subjective.
  • How and why can looks be deceiving?
    • This question necessitates an answer other than yes or no, and is also relevant for combatting racism in the real world.

After reading and discussing the book, a student should be able to elaborate, nuance, or even change their initial answer from the first day of the unit. Now, students can compare and contrast their own views with the character sin the book. 

You can read more about essential questions in this article. Essential questions are a fantastic tool for any grade and any book!

 

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Click the image below to learn more about Story World Real World, which contains The Princess and the Frog.

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Topics: Literature, Story World, Fairy Tales, Essential Questions

Comparing Literature to Informational Text—with FREE Download!

Posted by Amanda Ross on May 19, 2015 3:30:00 PM

Ross-biopicThis is a guest post by blogger Amanda Ross. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grade Garden, for more of her writing.  

It's me again—Amanda from First Grade Garden. I am back today to share with you an idea for comparing literature to informational text.

I love to compare fiction and non-fiction texts with my students. It really gets them looking closer at the texts. We dig deeper into the books to look at specific text features and elements. When I discovered the Story World Real World series, I was so excited! They match up ten common fairy tales with companion non-fiction books. There are three different non-fiction titles to match each fairy tale. I used the books Three Little Pigs and All About Pigs for this activity with my students.

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The first day, we read Three Little Pigs, one of my favorite fairy tales! After reading, we discuss the story elements—characters, setting, problem, and solution. We also practice retelling it, sometimes by acting it out or by using finger puppets. 

The next day we read the companion non-fiction book All About Pigs. Before reading, I have the students look closely at the covers of the two books and tell me what they notice. What is similar or different about the two books? While we read the All About Pigs book, we look at all the features as we come across them: table of contents, bold words, labels, index, etc. We discuss the reason for each feature and then discuss whether we noticed it in the Three Little Pigs book or not. Sometimes we go back and check, because that is what good readers do! 

Once we have read and discussed both books, we complete a Venn diagram to compare and contrast them. The students come up with some great ideas! Sometimes I have to prompt them with questions such as “What did you notice about the pictures in both books?” or “Who wrote these books?” Usually, after I ask one question, it sparks a lot of other discussions and observations about the books.

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You could do this activity with any fairy tale and non-fiction book. In the download below, I have included the headings for the “Three Little Pigs” Venn diagram or just generic “Fiction” and “Non-fiction” headings that can be used with any book! There is also a student recording sheet.

Try this activity out with your favorite fairy tale from the Story World Real World series!

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Amanda Ross is a first grade teacher in Canada. She has been teaching for seven years. The last three years have been in first grade, and that’s where she plans to stay! She is currently on maternity leave with her daughter Zoe, but she will be heading back to first grade in September. You can find her over at her teaching blog, First Grade Garden.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image to the left below to download information sheets with key featuresTo download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Comparing Literature Freebie Packet CTA

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Literature, Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Informational Text, Fairy Tales, Amanda Ross

Bringing A Fairy Tale to Life—with FREE Download!

Posted by Sarah Cooley on Feb 12, 2015 8:00:00 AM

This is a guest post by blogger Sarah Cooley. If you like what you see here, you can check out her blog, First Grader... At Last!, for more of her writing.

One of the most popular reading stations in my classroom is my Poetry & Plays basket. This station is an interactive experience for my students, where they can explore poetry or reenact their favorite stories in play form. Y'all... my students just love doing this, especially when props are involved!

 

My props for this workstation basket vary. Some are as simple as drawings of characters that I have hand-drawn, laminated, and cut out. Other times, I’ll find an adorable clip art set that can be made into stick puppets.

This week, we read the popular fairy tale Little Red Riding Hood of the Story World Real World series. After reading the book, I typed up the story as a reader’s theatre.

Then I added a variety of props to the Poetry & Plays basket. As soon as I introduced the props, my students could NOT wait to get to the station to begin acting out the story!

I found many of the items around my classroom and house – the basket, little toy cookies, scarf and glasses. I purchased a red apron from Hobby Lobby for around $2. A helpful hint—if you ever find yourself without props, many parents are willing to help out by donating items!

Sarahcooley1

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Sarah is a first-grade teacher in Alabama. Sarah loves to make learning fun and you can find here at her blog, First Grader...At Last! You can also visit her TPT page here.

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To learn more about Story World Real World, click here to visit our website, or click the series highlights image below to download information sheets with key features. To get today's free activity download, the prop basket list and script, click the image to the right below!

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Topics: K-2 Literacy, Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Sarah Cooley

Fairy Tale Activities Make Learning Fun! (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Sep 23, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

My last two blog posts were about fairy tales. The posts discussed the importance of reading fairy tales for teaching the basics of story elements, teaching the difference between fiction and non-fiction and making predictions. Enriching a child’s imagination and creativity by using fairy tales was also discussed as was the connection to problem solving.



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Today I would like to talk about another reason we should read fairy tales to our children. How about because children love them?!
How many times do children beg to hear Goldilocks and the Three Bears or Three Little Pigs over and over again? They don’t ask to reread the stories because they are learning skills. Children ask for rereads because they love the stories!

One story the kids ask to read over and over again is The Princess and the Frog. The Story World-Real World theme set is great to use when the kids ask to re-read the story again and again because their love of the story
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makes it easy to bridge to the nonfiction books Fantastic Frogs and Castles. These
books provide fun and interesting facts that tie into the elements of The Princess and the Frog. Fantastic Frogs helps teach interesting, fun facts about frogs. Castles describes what life was like inside real castles. What I found was that the students not only asked to reread The Princess and the Frog, they also asked to reread Fantastic Frogs and Castles over and over again!!

In conclusion, remember that we must read fairy tales to children for many reasons. But the most important reason to a child is because they love them!

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Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

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For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Princess and the Frog Activity Packet Download

 
 
 
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Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Why Are Fairy Tales Important? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Sep 16, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun FactoryClick here to see her other posts on our blog!

If you want your children to be intelligent, read them fairy tales. If you want them to be more intelligent, read them more fairy tales.” 
― Albert Einstein

This is one of my all-time favorite quotes! I use it often. My last blog post was about the importance of reading fairy tales to our children. We talked about how fairy tales help us teach the basics of story elements—setting, characters, and plot (rising action, climax, and resolution)—as well as the difference between fiction and non-fiction. Once a child understands story elements, his ability to make predictions and comprehend other stories is enhanced. Today I am going to continue our discussion about fairy tales.


Paul-4-180Have you ever wondered why reading a fairy tale is important?
 Fairy tales enrich a child’s imagination and creativity. Children learn many things when we read them books. From stories, a child can learn how a good person behaves and also can begin to realize how some people can behave badly or “evilly.” Fairy tales show children how to handle problems. They learn from the characters in the stories as they make connections to their own lives, and consider what they would do if in the characters’ shoes. Even though fairy tales can be unrealistic, they still teach a universal lesson.

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A great example of this is The Little Red Hen from the Story World Real World series. The book is adorable and the children LOVE, LOVE, LOVE the illustrations! What a great lesson this traditional story teaches about learning to be helpful and not to be lazy! Bridge this story with Great Grains, the informational text to connect the tale to real-life circumstances.

With the book Great Grains, we learn about the different types of grains. After that, we read Different Kinds of Bread to see how the grains then become bread to eat. Guess what kind of “bread” the children wanted to make? Pizza dough! So we made dough and each child made their own little pizza. They loved it. When we finished, we reread The Little Red Hen, and every single child said they would not be lazy and would help the Little Red Hen.

The “moral” to this lesson is this: use fairy tales to teach morals and lessons. What can you learn from Goldilocks? How about Cinderella or Jack and the Beanstalk?

Enjoy the freebie. I would like to leave you with one final quote from Albert Einstein:

“When I examine myself and my methods of thought, I come to the conclusion that the gift of fantasy has meant more to me than any talent for abstract, positive thinking.”

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Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

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For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Little Red Hen Word Family Packet Download

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

Using Paired Texts to Meet Common Core ELA Standards—with FREE download!

Posted by Lesley Boatright on Sep 11, 2014 8:21:22 AM

Lesley_Boatright-150This is a guest post by Lesley Boatright, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts, click here to see her other posts, and click here to read her blog, Practice Makes Perfect.

Hi! It's Lesley again, with another blog post about using paired texts. I've loved doing this series of blog posts, because it has introduced me to this great series of books, Story World Real World, which pairs fiction and nonfiction books on related topics. The fairy tale fiction books are great to use as a familiar taking-off point for the content of the nonfiction topic.

Through the units I've designed to accompany these books, I've been able to integrate ELA common core standards RL.1, RL.1.3 RL.1.5, and RL.1.7, as well as RI.1.4, RI.1.5, and RI.1.6. You can find the standards written out at many sites online. I use CoreStandards.org.

Today, my fiction focus is on the story of Goldilocks and the Three Bears.

This is a fantastic story to use to review the comprehension skill of sequencing. The events of the story happen in a clear-cut sequence that make it easy for the children to summarize the story. Summarizing a story helps the child understand the story because he or she has to wade through the fluff and just get down to the bare bones. If you've ever listened to a six-year-old tell a story, you know how hard that is for him or her to do!

To help out with the sequencing and summarizing, I developed these cards:

Boatright-6-1Boatright-6-2

And this sequence chain:

Boatright-6-3Boatright-6-4Boatright-6-5

After reading the story, the pictures are placed in the sequence chain in the order they happen in the story. Once the pictures are in order, the child can then summarize the story with the help of the pictures.

As an added practice, or as an assessment of sequencing and summarizing, I have two items I can use. I have a printable and a tabbed booklet condensing the story even more into a beginning, middle, and an end. 

You can see how all these activities are a great way to reach the reading literature standards in the common core.

In my next blog post, I will share how I tied Goldilocks and the Three Bears to the nonfiction story Too Hot! Too Cold! Just Right!

Thanks for joining me today! I hope to talk to you again soon.

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Lesley Boatright is an Early Childhood/Elementary Education teacher from Southwestern Pennsylvania. After graduating college, she moved to South Florida, where she taught kindergarten in the Palm Beach County School District for 8 years. After having children, she decided (with her husband) that Florida was too far away from the rest of the family, and she moved back to her hometown, where she took a few years off to spend time with her son. She has been teaching in the parochial school system for 18 years now, first at kindergarten, and currently in a first grade classroom. Lesley has also taught 2nd and 3rd grade Spanish and 4th grade social studies. Visit Lesley at her Facebook page, blog, Pinterest, and on Teachers Pay Teachers to get great teaching ideas.

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For more information about the Story World Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the lesson packet, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Goldilocks Retelling and Sequencing Packet Download

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Narrative Text, Lesley Boatright, Fairy Tales

What Can Fairy Tales Teach Students? (Includes FREE download!)

Posted by Susan Paul on Jun 27, 2014 8:00:00 AM

susan_paulThis is a guest post by Susan Paul, who will be contributing a series of posts over the next few months. If you like what you see here, check back frequently for more posts from here and click here to read her blog, The Fun Factory.Click here to see her other posts on our blog!

We love fairy tales! I mean, we LOVE fairy tales!!

In the last few years, the teaching of fairy tales and nursery rhymes in the public school systems has gone by the wayside. However, current research is urging teachers to bring them back into the curriculum.

Experts agree that nursery rhymes are great for teaching rhyme, rhythm, and repetition. Fairy tales teach story elements such as setting, characters, problem-solution and beginning, middle and end (to name a few).

We use fairy tales with pre-kindergarten all the way through third grades. We use fairy tales to teach reading comprehension, math, and almost every skill you can think of! This becomes super easy when using books from the Story World series!

Cinderella_Cover_500

Since my “freebie” is about Cinderella, I will use Cinderella as an example. First, read Cinderella. (By the way, the illustrations are adorable!) Then link the story to the real world by using the accompanying Real World series books, which include Let’s Dance, What’s the Time? and Why Do We Wear Shoes?

Lets_Dance_180Whats_the_Time_180Why_Do_We_Wear_Shoes_180

At the bottom of the page, you can download a freebie that I have used for first-, second-, and third-grade students. Below is a sample page from the packet:

Cinderella_Scrambled_Sentences-5

Enjoy and have a great summer break!

Susan

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Susan Paul is an Early Childhood Specialist from Houston, Texas. Susan has taught more years than she is willing to admit, all in prekindergarten through second grade. Her passion is in pre-K but she has the most years in second grade. Susan loves dressing up as different book characters and has written a book. The book is a collection of songs she has written over the last twenty-five years to help teach skills and transitions. Visit Susan at her Facebook page, blog, and on Teachers Pay Teachers for more great teaching ideas.

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For more information about the Real World series shown in this post, click here to visit our website, or click the image on the left below to download a series information sheet with key features. To download the freebie, click the image to the right.

New Call-to-Action  Cinderella Scrambled Sentences Download

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Topics: Story World, Real World, Fairy Tales, Susan Paul

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