K-12 Teaching and Learning From the UNC School of Education
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  • Connecting folktales and culture in North Carolina and beyond: Students will explore connections to North Carolina culture as they engage in reading and analyzing three folktales of North Carolina Literary Festival author, William Hooks. After comparing these stories to other versions of the traditional tales, students will become authors and storytellers themselves as they rewrite a tale from a new cultural point of view. Opportunities are also included to extend this study to world cultures and folktales.
  • Similes: "The Talking Eggs" by Robert San Souci is used to introduce and illustrate an author's use of language to paint a picture in the reader's mind. Students will draw a picture to show what this author meant, create similes to describe themselves, and finally use a simile in their next story in Writer's Workshop.
  • North Carolina American Indian stories: In this lesson students will select and read stories from some of the North Carolina American Indian tribes. They will compare and contrast two stories of their choice and complete a Venn diagram. Students will use the information on the Venn diagram to write three paragraphs. After reading several American Indian tales or legends, students will then create their own legend using the narrative writing process.

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Folktales and fairy tales began as oral stories that were told to help people explain the world around them. Some are fantastic with ogres and sprites, while others are more realistic. They can be written in rhyme or with repetitions and as narratives. This collection guide gives a sampling of the wonderful resources that can be found on LEARN NC for teaching students about this form of storytelling.

Lesson Plans

From the youngest to the oldest students, folktales and fairy tales can be taught in the classroom. Here is a selection of lesson plans for teaching all grade levels.

Yarns, Whoppers, and Tall Tales
These lessons will introduce students to characteristics of tall tales and help them develop an appreciation of this genre of American fiction. They will practice writing summaries from information they have gathered and organized. They will plan and write their own tall tales. (Grade 3 English Language Arts)
Connecting Folktales and Culture in North Carolina and Beyond
Students will explore connections to North Carolina culture as they engage in reading and analyzing three folktales of North Carolina Literary Festival author, William Hooks. After comparing these stories to other versions of the traditional tales, students will become authors and storytellers themselves as they rewrite a tale from a new cultural point of view. Opportunities are also included to extend this study to world cultures and folktales. (This lesson can be used in both 4th and 8th grades English Language Arts and Social Studies.)
Story Tellers and Poets
Students will examine the style, purpose, and organization of folktales and poetry in order to gain a deeper understanding and appreciation of both genres. With this knowledge, students will use the word choice and repetition of traditional folktales to transform them into modern poetry. (Grades 9-10 English Language Arts)
More folktale lesson plans

Best Practices

These best practice articles provide new ideas that can be used in teaching students about folktales and fairy tales. Students will learn that there is more to them than just the stories.

The Role of Mexican Folklore in Teaching and Learning
One way teachers can connect with students of Mexican origin is by understanding the cultural knowledge they bring with them into the classroom, including the stories, proverbs, and legends they’ve learned. Learn more about Mexican folklore from this booklist and collection of online resources, and share this rich oral tradition with all your students.

Websites

This is just a sampling of the wonderful folktale and fairy tale websites that can be found in the LEARN NC Best of the Web section. There are folktales about famous people, classic fairy tales and more.

American Folklore
Find folktales by state, read tall tales, or find a story about famous people. These and more traditional tales have been rewritten by S. E. Schlosser
Grimms Fairy Tales
What sort of story do you want to read today? Click on “Tell Me a Story” and you get to decide. This site includes 17 Grimms Fairy Tales that were translated in 1914 from the original. Some of the tales are narrated. RealAudio or Windows Media is required.
SurLaLune Fairy Tales
A site devoted to fairy tales, including annotated original texts, history, illustrations, multicultural tales, and modern interpretations of the classics. For use in the classroom and in planning lessons, units, or projects involving fairy tales.
Europe of Tales
Traditional folktales from Scotland, Finland, Iceland, Italy and Brittany. Stories include readings in the native language, sound effects and music.
Aaron Shepard’s Folktales
Aaron Shepard has retold many old folktales that have been handed down from generation to generation. This collection also includes fairy tales, tall tales, myths, and legends from all over the world.