Implementation of “Fairy Tales : A world of Magic and Fantasy”(SOI-GR-382)

Author: Katerina Dimou, English Teacher

School/Organization: 6th Primary School of Agia Paraskevi

 Fantasy and magic have always appealed to children’s interest. The best context for magic and fantasy is the context of fairy tales.  Written fairy tales appeared in the 17th century and they have retained their popularity since then. They can be read easily by all ages, because they are short stories belonging to the folklore genre and present magic or fantastic heroes/heroines who must face some challenges to be happy. All the tales have a moral which has always been applicable in people’s daily life.  

Having this in mind,  a journey to the world of imagination and inspiration has started, having as luggage students’ enthusiasm and zeal to discover the content and the ideas reflected  in some popular classic fairy tales.

Fairy Tales and Imagination

This scenario has been taught to 22 students of 6th grade, about 12 years of age, supplementarily to Unit 3 ‘’Imaginary Creatures” of their school book ‘’English 6th Grade’’. The imaginary creatures and the magic elements presented in Unit 3, together with the students’ enthusiasm for the topic  stimulated us to expand the framework and to travel to the wonderful world of Fairy Tales. Digital platforms and tools were used to accomplish this goal. It must be mentioned that the students were not familiarized with Web 2.0 tools, so a lot of time should be spent on making them understand the basic function of these tools. The scenario was an excellent opportunity for students to work in English, using all the four skills of  language learning, i.e reading, listening, speaking and writing, to develop digital skills, literacy competence and team collaboration.

Taking into account the pupil’s enthusiasm for magic elements, fantasy and the battle of good and evil, fairy tales constitute a great opportunity to escape from the real world and make an imaginary journey.

Introductory stages: Getting prepared for the journey

The topic of Fairy Tales was introduced and a discussion about Fairy tales was encouraged. Five famous classic writers of Fairy Tales were to be under research by students  in teams. To this aim, a digital cultural platform was introduced and pupils navigated it ( picture 1). Finally, the students accompanied by the teacher visited the school library, found the assigned books written in Greek and studied them at home  to remember the plot. (picture 2)

Having collected all the necessary data, the students are ready to start their journey to the world fantasy and imagination

Main activities

Collecting the relevant resources,  presenting the plot of the tales,  the heroes/heroines, their feelings, the magic/fantasy elements, the students conducted some conclusions/morals reflected in the tales followed by discussion in teams in class. A necessary step which completed the whole context of the tales was the presentation of the author’s biography.

Follow -up Activities.

The students voted on their favorite tales (picture 3), and a fruitful discussion on why the tales attract the children as well as on why they are quite out of date completed our research.

The students were called to evaluate the whole procedure.

It must be noted that the basic scenario was in a way directing our research in the sense that common items were investigated but it was totally differently implemented. Regarding the activities were divided between class and home, spending an average class time of 20-30 minutes on each.

Reviewing Fairy Tales

This project stimulated students to read some very popular fairy tales written by classic authors in a more critical way.  It was a great opportunity to consider the timeless value of the tales, to know better their authors, but also to discuss their thematology, as well as the heroes/heroines’ reactions not matching with the current trends and reality. Apart from these cultural and literal skills, students were able to practice English, to develop digital skills, and to work in teams. It is worth mentioning the creation of posters, (picture 4) as tangible outcomes, which were made by each team concentrating in a way their collaborative work , but also showing the results of the class conversation( picture 5)

Although the challenges, like the time pressure and the insufficient digital ability of students, the enthusiasm and the passion they worked in a supplementary project encouraged me to go on. I would certainly advise other educators to get involved in the implementation of scenarios, because apart from all the skills that are developed, it is an excellent way to strengthen students-teacher relations. 

Europeana: an amazing cultural platform

It must be mentioned the fact that it was the first time I was involved in Europeana’s  learning scenarios. The unlimited resources regarding culture, literature, history, and art inspire the educators to do wonderful projects with their students. Of course, reasonable time is needed for the teacher to be acquainted with the platform, but the results will reward all the efforts.  Among the vast wealth of resources, the teacher should use the ones necessary for the project and avoid overusing. Undoubtedly, Europeana is the best platform to be investigated and used for any teacher who likes projects on culture and art, because it is a stimulus for finding ideas, scenarios, videos, written scripts, paintings, documents. The only limitation is to mention the credentials of any resource included in a project and to respect the Creative Commons Licenses.

It should equally be suggested another cultural platform, Historiana, which I used very timidly since again it was my first contact with it, experimenting with its potentials .

It was a scenario that attracted me by its topic, its description and its implementation. I was also sure it would activate my students to get involved not seeing it as an obligatory activity but as constructive research. The creator of the original scenario is a Museum Educator, not an English Teacher like me, with more specialized and expertise  knowledge. Additionally, the age of the participants was from 12-16 years and the context of implementation  was the Museum with all the facilities that it may have and not a classroom having only one computer and a projector.   Nevertheless, under the circumstances it was a successful first attempt taking into account my students’ positive and creative participation.

Did you find this story of implementation interesting? Why don’t you read about the related learning scenario? “Fairy Tales and Imagination:Making magic happen’  created by Tihana Turković.

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CC0 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Statens Museum for Kunst.

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