Spotlight: Orchard Kindergarten Teachers Use Fairy Tales To Enhance Academics | Photo Album
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The kindergarten fairy-tale study lends itself nicely to an integrated approach to learning and the creation of projects. Children are asked to share what they already know about fairy tales and what they would like to know. Each class reads many classic and nontraditional fairy tales and tests comprehension skills as they compare the story elements of similar tales.
The classroom teachers and Specialists integrate a variety of activities related to fairy tales across the curriculum. For example, music and songs related to stories or nursery rhymes, and science activities about wolves and “magic” beans. During kindergarten project time, students take on a variety of STEM challenges related to particular tales. Some of the classes have figured out alternative ways to get Jack up and down the beanstalk using parachutes or pulleys.
Students also planted some beans of their own and made predictions about how they would grow. Many students engineer baskets from paper and scrounge materials that will carry Red Riding Hood’s goodies to Grandma or build towers for Rapunzel. Students are also asked to construct bridges for the Three Billy Goats Gruff and chairs for The Three Little Bears.
Classes study maps and create an original map of their vision of fairy tale land, measuring the distance from place to place such as from the Giant’s castle to The Seven Dwarf’s cottage. Artistic crests are designed by the children to represent their families, and these are used to help decorate classrooms and bulletin boards as classrooms were transformed into castles. The children identify the main idea, sequence the events, and discover the characters in each story. Each child writes a letter to a favorite fairy tale character and eagerly awaits a letter in return.
This is part one of their fairy-tale project. Stay tuned for part two, which has a fairy-tale feast and a child-driven play. Each classroom produces their own play complete with costumes, scenery and sometimes original music!