Modern Languages - Turn the key on fairy tales

30th November 2012 at 00:00

What it's all about

Fairy tales can be fun to make up. Their magic ingredients are simple and they use a lot of pattern and variation, writes Catherine Paver.

Start by giving pupils familiar tales such as Cinderella in the language they are studying. Cartoon versions in French, German and Spanish are plentiful on YouTube. Try Jean Cocteau's La Belle et La Bete.

Barbe-Bleue (Bluebeard) is Charles Perrault's powerful tale of a beautiful girl who marries Bluebeard and lives in his castle. One day, unable to resist temptation, she opens the door of a forbidden room and screams...

Perrault created the genre as we know it today, drawing - like the Brothers Grimm after him - on traditional oral folk tales.

Der Wald (the forest) is very important in German culture. You could show your class haunting landscape paintings by Caspar David Friedrich and give pupils some of the words they evoke.

Now give the class their own "fairy-tale kit", a list of choices to build their own fairy tales, step by step:

"Once upon a time, there was a witchprincedragon.

"This witchprincedragon was very beautifulrichwise.

"Heshe lived in a hutcastleboot,

"beside a lakeon a mountainin a forest."

This character could go on a journey to find something and meet other characters along the way. Pupils can use any vocabulary they have learned.

Now create a Forest of Stories wall display with a simple tree as a background. Each leaf is a fairy tale created by a child.

What else?

CatherinePaver's fairy-tale kit works in any language and comes with a range of French and German cartoons. bit.lyFrench FairyTales, bit.lyGermanFairyTales.

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