Implementation of “Fairy Tales and Imagination: Making Magic Happen” (SOI-HR-304)

Author: Mirta Kos Kolobarić, EFL teacher

School/Organization: Ekonomsko-birotehnička škola, Slavonski Brod, Croatia

Slavonski Brod, our hometown in Croatia, is a place where Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, a world-famous writer of children’s stories, spent most of her life. It is the city in which she wrote her most popular stories for children and developed an extremely successful writing career. Her stories have been read by generations of readers, and she has often been referred to as Croatian Andersen

Every year, in April, Slavonski Brod is a home to ‘The World of Fairy Tales of Ivana Brlić-Mažuranić’, a well-known festival. On this occasion, primary school students from all over Croatia come to the city to watch theatre plays based on Ivana Brlić Mažuranić’s stories and to find out more about her life and her characters. 

Unfortunately, due to the pandemic, the festival was not organized in that form in the previous few years, so students who were involved in the implementation of this learning scenario did not have an opportunity to participate in the festival while attending primary school. That was the first reason why I, as a teacher, felt it was necessary to bring them closer to the work of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić and heritage she left to our city. 

Another reason why this was a great opportunity to connect them with our cultural heritage was their obligatory reading list for Croatian Language classes in the first grade of secondary school, which includes some stories written by Ivana Brlić Mažuranić. 

In addition, The House of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić in Slavonski Brod opened its doors to the public in 2022. Visitors can feel the atmosphere of the time in which I. B. Mažuranić lived, see the rooms in which she wrote her stories and everyday objects she actually used. As the students involved in the implementation of the learning scenario attend Hotel and Tourism education program in a vocational school, being familiar with the tourist offer in their city is extremely important for their future profession, so this was the third reason for involving them in the activities. 

In an attempt to combine all of the above mentioned elements during several EFL lessons, the implemented learning scenario, ‘Fairy Tales and Imagination: Making Magic Happen’, proved to be a wonderful starting point which I could adapt and build upon. It involves some activities which can be done in the museum, a short web search on the authors of fairy tales conducted on Europeana, creation of students’ own stories, and the use of ICT (gifs, collaborative platform and digital books).

Background information – field work and classroom activities

A group of 18 students, aged 15, participated in the activities. They are students in their first grade of secondary school. They already read some of the stories written by I. B. Mažuranić in their primary school, as well in Croatian lessons in their secondary school. They are familiar with the plots, settings, characters and their characteristics.

As mentioned in the introductory section, The House of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić in Slavonski Brod opened its doors to visitors in 2022. Therefore, its educational content has not been used much yet, so we were among the first visitors who had its educational component in mind. The visit was one of the two preparatory steps in the implementation process.

Taking all this into consideration, I was able to connect several different subjects/areas: Croatian Language, English as a Foreign Language, ICT, Tourism, and History, and to add a new component – Europeana resources. Before the implementation of this learning scenario, neither students nor I had used Europeana before, so this was a great opportunity for us to learn together.


Students brainstormed their associations with the name of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić. AnswerGarden was used for this activity:

Students’ answers in AnswerGarden

Visiting the House of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić

Students visited the House of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić in Slavonski Brod, had a guided tour and explored its rooms, digital components, etc. They took photos they would use in the story-writing activity. Unlike what was suggested in the LS, research on Europeana was done in the classroom.

     The interior of the House of Ivana Brlić Mažuranić, Mirta Kos Kolobarić (private photos),   

             Public domain

Discussion and searching for information on Europeana

Students worked in groups and found information on Europeana. The task was shared with them in Teams, with detailed instructions (as this was their first contact with Europeana).

Tasks and instructions for students 
They combined speaking and writing activities, and shared the information they had found on Digipad (

Students’ presentation of information found on Europeana

Students searching for information on Europeana

Analysis of characters from fairy tales 

Students continued working in groups, following the instructions below, to find the characters which fit the categories:

Tasks and instructions for students

Students’ choice of characters

Making gifs

The learning scenario was adapted – the gifs students created included 4 images, each from a different category. They used them later as “teasers” in their digital books.

I decided to skip the activity of making small foldable books, as it was too easy for students’ age and level of English. In addition, students’ stories were too long to fit the booklets.

Tasks and instructions for students 

Writing stories and creating digital books

In the final stage, instead of writing individual stories, students worked in groups and wrote collaborative stories, following the instructions: 

Tasks and instructions for students

They created digital stories, using Book Creator. Also, instead of only writing them, as was suggested in the learning scenario, they recorded themselves reading the stories as well, making them available to various types of audience. As fairy tales spread by word of mouth in the past, audio versions are in line with this tradition. The cover of each book contains a link to the gif each group of students had created. The gif is a sort of teaser, introducing the characters (and plot) of the story. The links to digital books are provided below, but they can also be found on the Digipad (

I have already mentioned some of the adaptations to the LS, and would like to add that instead of the suggested 150 minutes, we needed 180-200 minutes.

Learning outcomes

A lot of learning outcomes set out in the English language curriculum were achieved, apart from the two presented in the original LS (fairy tale presentation made through collaborative work and a brand-new fairy tale made as their individual creation). Students chose, organized and presented information they had found while navigating through a new platform, Europeana; discussed famous fairy tales and critically evaluated stereotypes, prejudice and characters presented in them; created new stories/fairy tales in collaboration with other students; read the texts of medium length, and developed their digital skills (web search – Europeana, Digipad, Answer Garden, Book Creator, Giphy). 

Students’ feedback

Having completed their digital books, students were asked to fill out a Google survey on their satisfaction with the implemented learning scenario. They seem to have liked the collaborative creation of digital books best. They enjoyed collaboration, discussion, exchange of ideas, and reading the stories aloud. They also enjoyed the visit to the House of I. B. Mažuranić, as they learned a lot and could use the new knowledge in the activities that followed. However, they did say that finding information and some images on Europeana was a bit challenging. Also, collaboration was a bit difficult at points, as some students felt that work within their groups was not shared equally. They rated their knowledge of digital tools as very good and found the used digital tools interesting and motivating. 

Tips for teachers

The teachers who would like to implement this LS should make sure they give students more time than has been planned in the LS. The originally planned activities can be easily adapted in terms of the learning environment, the selected writers of fairy tales and final outcomes.

Benefits for educators

Using Europeana can seem overwhelming at first, due to the abundance of materials and information. That was my first impression a few years ago. However, having been introduced to what it has to offer to teachers, I had a change of heart. Learning scenarios provide interesting ways of combining modern topics and digital tools with various types of cultural heritage, making it appealing to students. 

One of the things my students pointed out was that it was sometimes difficult for them to find the images they needed. Not all of them could be found on Europeana, and search by keywords did not always lead to the desired results. One of the reasons for that can be the fact that students expected images more similar to those from Disney cartoons than the ones they actually found. In order to assist students in this process, teachers should check all the links provided in the LS beforehand. There are many related resources that can be used in addition to the topic of this LS, or can be combined with it. 

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 (LS-ME-582), created by Tihana Turković

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Public Domain Mark 1.0: the featured image used to illustrate this article has been found on Europeana and has been provided by the Nationalmuseet Sweden.

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