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King School

An independent day school educating students PreK-Grade 12

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The Geography of Fairy Tales

King School’s Grade 3 writing classes have infused fairy tales into writing lessons for several years. This spring, teachers Ellen Eagleton and Samantha Clark deepened the learning by incorporating traditional tales from around the globe. 

“This interdisciplinary unit enhances students' geography, writing, and reading skills while building a greater cultural awareness of various countries across the globe,” wrote Eagleton.

After returning from spring break, students read fairy tales from Africa, China, Ireland, Mexico, and Persia. Classes researched the geography and discussed the stories’ themes, cultural similarities, and differences. Students wrote their own fairy tales modeled after one of the selected works read in class.

“My fairy tale is called ‘Fluff’s Huge Adventure,’” said Noah Saragoussi ’32. “I used magic in my story to connect to ‘The Persian Cinderella.”

Students furthered their research through a project with the Eli Whitney Museum and Workshop, an experimental learning workshop for students, teachers, and families that collects, interprets, and teaches experiments that are the roots of design and invention.

Clark and Eagleton worked with the organization to adapt a micro-architecture castle project, helping the students visualize the settings of their stories by creating scale models of a location in the stories they wrote. 

Using a program called Book Creator, they created presentations of their work that featured their stories along with a dedication page, facts about a country they researched, and images. 

Friends and family members were invited to a publication party where students presented their work, discussed their process, and shared what they learned in the course.

“You can’t just rush it,” said Isabella Ulloa '32, noting the importance of patience when working on a big project. “You have to write the story, add the pictures, ask your teacher to read it, ask a friend, go outside, make the setting, and paint it.”

Students will build on what they learned in an upcoming social studies unit, applying their research skills to preparing for and conducting interviews with someone from their life for a tell-your-story project. The assignment will further develop an understanding of their own cultural traditions.