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Traditional Stories- To Teach Or Not To Teach?!?


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Hi all,

 

After half term I am thinking of doing Traditional stories in my reception class. This is mainly because I realised that not many of my children know or have even heard of any of the traditional stories such as 3 little pigs, red riding hood, 3 billy goats gruff, etc (same with Nursery rhymes, but this is another matter!).

My problem is though, that I am very much for planning from the children's interests and involving them in the planning stage and I'm aware that this topic isn't one that the children would naturally be interested in or initiate themselves.

 

So I guess my questions are-

do any of you do traditional tales as a topic/theme?

 

If so, how do you go about planning it from the children's interests?

 

What is your opinion on 'teaching' children about traditional tales if they have not come across them before they start school? (do it even though the children are not interested or not do it and the children will not be exposed or get to know these stories?)

 

I'm just really interested to hear other people's opinions on this and whether you feel that children should still 'learn' about and read traditional stories or if we have generally moved on from these and should now concentrate and focus on modern day stories that are currently being read and enjoyed by children, such as The Gruffalo for example. :o

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Guest tinkerbell

I teach R/yr1 and this term I have been doing traditional tales with the class.

I would read the story and then ask the children what they would like to do ...I would make a mind map /brainstorm on A5 paper

eg after reading the 3 pigs the children came up with;

make houses for pigs( we then went outside to get the sticks! hay from the guinea pigs shed! bricks wooden or lego)

make clay pigs ( we had clay and one day made pink playdough)

dress up as pigs and tell the story ( had pig and wolf costumes already from the Three Bears company)

make pig masks had paper scissors,glue etc

play with the animals ( my class loves a huge box of plastic animals ,they sorted into farm animals,zoo,wild etc...the pigs also had to go to the house building tray to be fitted into a house!)

paint pigs mixed their own pink

make a wolf this was a big collage woolly affair that went on a display board.

 

we do work like this and the children are pretty good at thinking creatively.We would quickly set up the tables /areas and the activities evolved over the week.I would read lots of versions of the story.I also had word mats ready and we wrote sentences.Materials was the science work for yr1 so this was a good link withthe houses.

 

Tinkerbell

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I decided to do a theme called 'Once upon a time' after children were role-playing being princesses. So we initially looked at fairytales like Cinderella and how stories often begin and end etc. Then moved onto traditional tales. I felt that it was important for the children to experience these stories and as long as you incorporate their ideas into your theme I think its perfectly acceptable. In fact what you are doing is planning to their needs and you have noticed this as a need. My children loved the topic, we made porridge and wrote letters to the bears when doing goldilocks, amde goldilocks a necklace to incorpate a jewellery interst! We build dens out of sticks, bricks and straw outside when doing three little pigs to follow a den building interest so there is plenty of scope.

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I would incorporate a range of stories into whatever fits their interests, rather than as a separate topic on stories. I think it is our responsibility to bring new experinces to children, especially if their experinces of the world are limited, how can they show an interest in something they have no experience of?

 

But I would also read and tell a range of stories just to enjoy the stories, you wll soon get to know what the children like and keep asking for. Stories dont have to link to a theme, they have value in their own right.

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Yes, I would teach a topic like this--its really important to open the world to children and you can not always do that without some adult input and initiation and direction. I would also invlove the children with some planning as Tinkerbell suggests.

Fairytales are also a good link to superheroes, being a goodie and badie sa these themes predominate within tradtitional tales.

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We have also been doing traditional tales with our mixed reception year 1 class and they loved it. They noticed that lots of traditional stories have castles or palaces in them and wanted to learn more. We did all sorts about castles and role play with swords and shields defending princesses and fighting dragons was very popular. We wrote our own fairy story about a dragon being blown onto the school roof and illustrated it - any visitor to our class was made to read it whether they wanted to or not! :o We do find that our children often need you to start them off with a topic but then their ideas are amazing and they make it their own. I usually start off with ideas of where I think they will take things and end up completely wrong! Next half term we are doing growth, possibly beginning with jack & the beanstalk as traditional tales are now familiar to them. I want to do lots of planting veg and flowers, making mini gardens designing gardens etc etc - but who knows where the children will take it! I worried that we wouldn't cover the year 1 stuff but that seem to work out quite well.

Julie xD

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Please please please do them with your class.

 

These stories are a vital part of our culture, and if children don't get access to them at home, then school is their only chance.

 

We spend so much time worrying about 'other' cultures (and rightly so) but we must not lose our own heritage in the process.

 

Not everything has to be child initiated - otherwise they would miss out on so much! Part of your skill as a teacher is to decide what life enriching experiences they are entitled to access.

 

My little girl (currently in Reception class) has come home to me and re-told me the whole of the story of the 3 little pigs, with actions and scary wolf voice. Her class use something called the story making project:

 

http://www.familystorymaking.org.uk/practi...ectfindings.php

 

The actions help the children remember the stories, then they perform them to parents, it is absolutely wonderful!

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Guest jenpercy

I was concerned about the assumption in your post that all topics must be INITIATED by children's existing interests. IMO this is a way of perpetuating deprivation. To me working from children's intersts means looking at what you want to bring in from a children's point of view, beig prepared to change the direction you had planned to go, or even to leave aside anything that you have not presented in a way that has interested the children BUt maybe representing from a different angle later.

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I'd agree with Jen, there is a danger that we misunderstand the whole 'child initiated' approach and assume it means we only offer what the children ask for. Jen's term 'perpetuating deprivation' is a very good way to put it!

 

As adults we have a key part in working out the experiences that would be valuable for them to access, and offering them things they would not come across outside of school.

 

I think you'll find once you get started, they will love every moment.

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Thanks for all of your responses! Very interesting to hear your views and that you all feel that traditional tales should be part of what we teach children, as like mentioned some children do not have experiences of these stories at home and they are part of our culture and all have a moral to the story!

 

It is reassuring to hear that all of you support the introduction of a topic/theme and enabling the children to come up with their own ideas, as I was starting to question myself if I was doing the 'right' thing after I have heard and read so many comments about not having topic/themes.

 

Do we think that traditional tales will still be taught in say 10 or more years time?!

 

I hope so as I feel that there is so much chilldren can learn from them. I guess it's up to us to make sure that the traditional tales we were told as children still get told for generations to come!

:o

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I also think you have to go beyond the "doing the story" and into the actual learning you are focused on.

 

  • Genre - particular language associated with this type of tale, e.g. Once upon a time, happily ever after.....
  • Same story, different retellings. A traditional tale has a structure but the telling can change. Traditional tales may have parallel versions in different cultures
  • Sequencing
  • Characterisation
    Traditional tales are stories that are passed on through cultures and this is also a key feature of them.

 

I think this is something we forget!

 

Cx

Edited by catma
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Yes I agree. My class loved looking at different versions of the same story, noticing similarities and differences in them. In fact I think I read 8 different books of Goldilocks and The Three Bears as children kept bringing in their books from home as there they noticed slight differences!

 

Focusing on the use of story language and key elements of all these stories is really paying off now as 3 weeks later I have a few children (all girls I must admit) writing their own stories drawing on these elements! Its brilliant! They are inspired to write as they are the author - after discussing authors! They all write 'The author is... (their name)! x

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Hi all:

 

Ihad planned to traditional tales this term, then hopefully develop into fairy tales, princesses etc due to Royal wedding....

 

But, I'm finding planning for trad. tales harder than I thought it would be,... Yes I do try to be led by the chn and we will have a carpet session to discuss how they want to approach the theme but I like to have some ideas of potential areas of learning.

 

Starting with 3 little pigs, I have loads of CLL ideas to role play, describing goodies/baddies and creating our own baddie, painting them, describing them. Reading alternative stories, making up our own story. I know what provision I can make in small world and role play,and construction/creative but in the maths area, physical etc I'm struggling to think of ideas.

 

Anyone got any good ideas for outside/inside to enhance learnign opps.

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Building with large bricks outside. They would be able to do some measuring and problem solving here. Using bamboo canes to make a wigwam type house of sticks? Ordinal numers - 1st house of straw, 2nd house of sticks, 3rd house of bricks. Ideas around the concept of 3? If you were doing the extended version where the wolf offers to take them to the farmers field to collect apples, then you could do things like counting out the apples, sharing them equally between the three pigs?

 

Nothing inspiring, but didn't want you to think we weren't answering.

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Building with large bricks outside. They would be able to do some measuring and problem solving here. Using bamboo canes to make a wigwam type house of sticks? Ordinal numers - 1st house of straw, 2nd house of sticks, 3rd house of bricks. Ideas around the concept of 3? If you were doing the extended version where the wolf offers to take them to the farmers field to collect apples, then you could do things like counting out the apples, sharing them equally between the three pigs?

 

Nothing inspiring, but didn't want you to think we weren't answering.

 

 

Just wanted to share some websites I found that are useful - thanks for the ideas.

 

www.thekcrew.net - Good ideas for gingerbread man and 3 pigs..

www.kididdles..... I think it was .co.uk - Had a 3 pigs song

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Oh yes do!

 

We were shocked last year (in year 1) as to how many children did not know some of the familiar traditional tales and even some Nursery rhymes. We did it again this year and found the same again. We have as a school policy allocated 20 mins a day every day agreed to read a high quality story. The other thing I have noticed is that children are entering Year 1 lacking the ablility to identify rhyming words - I've had a career break from teaching since 2003 and was shocked esp as this was something we did a lot of many years ago!

 

It's something which sadly gets missed at home these days. Even some parents can't remember them!

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I have just had a very successful half term doing traditional stories. Our topic was once upon a time and I chose the little red hen and gingerbread man and spent 3 weeks on each story. I used the pie corbet approach of talk for writing (otherwise known as the storymaking project already mentioned) ie. the children learned the stories by heart with actions and then once learned they made up their own stories in pairs and in groups which were scribed and my more able wrote the stories themselves. (ben 10 makes cupcakes and the princess the frog and action man wouldn't help!) The children loved it and yes I planned the starting point-it wasn't really from their interests originally, but how do you expand their knowledge and interests unless you introduce them to something new? Once the term was underway the activities that we linked to the topic were from their ideas and interests. I think traditional stories are absolutely essential and I was amazed at how few children in my class knew the two stories that we used.

 

 

For the little red hen we made bread, ground wheat into flour, planted wheat, soaked it in water to see what happened, tasted different bread from around the world, role played the story, sorted different grains in the tuff spot, investigated water turning wheels in the water tray, designed and built junk model windmills to name but a few

 

For the gingerbread man we investigated the smells of different spices including ginger, made gingerbread men (one ran away from the oven which prompted a gingerbread man treasure hunt (he was found in the head teacher's chair!) this prompted the children in ci time to make their own treasure hunts for each other. In forest school they made story maps and had the challenge of getting a gingerbread man accross the river without needing the fox, so they had to build a boat or bridge.

 

By the end of the term every single child in my class could tell both these stories by heart with actions and expression including my 2 children with very poor speech. I sent home storymaps with the children asking them to tell the stories to their parents and the next day I was inundated with thrilled parents who couldn't believe what their child could do.

 

Don't miss these stories out- they are essential if we are ever to expect children to write a story themselves. If I had used the children's ideas as a starting point for my topic I would have been stuck with Ben 10 or Star Wars or Hello Kitty-hardly rich learning experiences. As it is I'm going with superheros this term but am using the talk for writing approach with a superhero story as a starting point.

 

There are several different versions of 3 little pigs true story of the 3 little pigs, the 3 little wolves and the big bad pig, the 3 horrid pigs and the big friendly wolf etc am sure these stories would prompt lots of different activities.

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Hi all:

 

Ihad planned to traditional tales this term, then hopefully develop into fairy tales, princesses etc due to Royal wedding....

 

But, I'm finding planning for trad. tales harder than I thought it would be,... Yes I do try to be led by the chn and we will have a carpet session to discuss how they want to approach the theme but I like to have some ideas of potential areas of learning.

 

Starting with 3 little pigs, I have loads of CLL ideas to role play, describing goodies/baddies and creating our own baddie, painting them, describing them. Reading alternative stories, making up our own story. I know what provision I can make in small world and role play,and construction/creative but in the maths area, physical etc I'm struggling to think of ideas.

 

Anyone got any good ideas for outside/inside to enhance learnign opps.

 

Hi Quinny,

 

Our new unit is called Let's Pretend and incorporates traditional tales but with some different opportunities. Our focus will be to look at puppets from around the world and making finger puppets (sewing our own with safety needles and felt), sock puppets, pole puppets (puppets with a stick at the back and front to allow them to move eg. dragon), shadow puppets (link to science) and papier mache puppets. We have a wooden 'puppet theatre' for children to perform plays and will be making a box office for children to buy tickets for performances and decorate with posters.

 

Enjoy the term ahead,

 

Saffa

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  • 1 month later...
how about a discovery of a red hooded cape - could be delivered to the class when you are all on the carpet - sometimes all you need to do is add a resource and the topic becomes child led. brainstorm their ideas from there....

 

 

Hi all!

Just wanted to say thanks for all of the replies to this thread. I took on board all of your ideas and I can say that I have had some really exciting weeks whilst doing traditional tales in my class. The children have really taken to them, so much role play, language and writing opportunities have come out of doing this topic. I started off by using a different story each week and planned some adult led activities based on these. At the beginning of the week, as a class we brainstormed some ideas of what activities or things we could do based on the story that week and the children came up with some things that I had already thought of and planned for but also gave some really good and exciting ideas that I hadn't thought of!!

 

So just to say thank you to all of you for sharing your thoughts and ideas on this and I'm so glad that I did a topic on traditional tales now and will definately be doing it again!!!!! :o

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Guest TinklePrincess
Please please please do them with your class.

 

These stories are a vital part of our culture, and if children don't get access to them at home, then school is their only chance.

 

We spend so much time worrying about 'other' cultures (and rightly so) but we must not lose our own heritage in the process.

 

 

I couldn't have said it better myself!

 

I am a firm believer in traditional tales (Aesop's Fables are great!) and nursery rhymes.

 

I haven't even got children of my own yet but am creating a book for them of all the traditional nursery rhymes I loved as a child as I think it's such a shame they're not taught as often.

I'm not sure if it's down to my extreme sentimentality (I save reciepts and tiny scraps of paper that my partner has drawn a heart on for me :o ) but I can't bear to lose these important aspects of my own life and I think it would be a great shame if the children of today aren't given the opportunity to hear these wonderful stories - some of which are some of my all-time favourites!!

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